Northern CA Freshwater

Crystal Bay: Tahoe rainbows, Mackinaw wide open!

BY BILL KARR/WON Staff WriterPublished: Nov 27, 2019

CRYSTAL BAY — Both Mackinaw lake trout and rainbows are on a solid bite at Lake Tahoe right now, and guide Chuck Self of Chuck’s Charter fishing is focusing on Mackinaw first, and if he pulls limits early, they go trout trolling for lunker ‘bows along the shoreline.

“I’ve been busy this week and the bite has been good for Mackinaw and rainbows, too, so it’s been up to the clients if they want to go for rainbows of macs,” Self said. “If they’re first timers, I’ll take them after Mackinaw, and then once we have limits we’ll run for rainbows. It looks like we might be shutting down here soon, though, with that storm coming this week.”

tahoetroutTAHOE TROUT ARE biting, and Derek Wilson of Phoenix, Ariz., caught this nice rainbow and brown while fishing with Capt. Mike Nielsen of Tahoe Topliners while using minnow hardbaits. The fish came from Sand Harbor and Cave Rock.

The lake trout are mostly out in deeper water right now, he said, but when they get done spawning they’ll move in shallower and feed up. He’s concentrating from Crystal Bay Point to Flick Point for the Mackinaw, jigging, and begins shallower and moves deeper as the sun comes up. If he goes for rainbows, he works Crystal Bay Point to Lake Forest and past Dollar Point, trolling shallow from 10 to 40 feet and working the structure using minnow-imitating lures.

“The key is to find structure,” Self said, “the rainbows use the structure to ambush baitfish and the Mackinaw use structure to ambush the rainbows.” The Mackinaw have been bigger this year, he said, from a solid 4 to 7 pounds and good looking. The rainbows have been big and healthy, too, running 3 to 4 pounds apiece.

Self said the whole scenario could change quickly with the stormfront coming in this week.

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