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The Best Fishing Holes on the Truckee River
Nevada State Journal, April 11, 1926, pages 1 & 3

Jack Bell Gives The Lowdown on Where to Go on the Opening Day


The trout season opens in Washoe county, Friday morning, April 16, on the Truckee river between Derby dam on the east and Valvada on the west. Chief Alps of the U. S. Weather bureau gives the official sunrise at 5:19 a. m. and sunset at 6:38 p. m. This permits the sport to start at 4:19 a. m. and close at 8:19 p. m. The law says that fishing is permitted one hour before sunrise and two hours after sunset.

The limit of fish is 25.

Worms for Bait

The bait to be used will be garden worms, manure worms, willow worms, grubs of all kinds, fresh spawn tied in "balls," Tyee salmon eggs, Ketch-em, helgamites, and strips of fresh sucker.

The river will be in floor - nothing but bait fishing. Rainbow, Loch Leven, Dolly Varden, silver, brook, perhaps an occasional Pyramid laker, white fish and suckers will be the fish taken.

Keep the white fish and suckers. During this bank full period time of the stream there is no better pan fish. Both should be skinned.

Over a thousand licenses have already been issued by country clerk, Beemer. The sporting goods houses report their sales far exceed any previous year, and that the enthusiasm is more marked than ever before.

In the Pools

Along the shores, heads of pools, in the known "fishing holes" will be a good bet for a basket, for if the fish are moving they generally follow the oldest shore line. Fish deep in the eddies, drag the lure close to the bottom anywhere that looks good. Try mid-river riffle heads, foot of rapids, alongside and behind rocks, anywhere that looks like a place where feed drifts and eddies a bit, until you locate their feeding grounds for the day.


Take a bit of time and look around and see how beautiful nature is beginning to brighten. Watch and listen to the birds a bit, they are singing their mating songs, and they are legion, in the brush, the trees and sage brush. Note the many varieties of flowering shrubs, and the gaudy spring coloring of the many low growing flowers that rise through the opaque grasses on the southern exposures. It will be a revelation and will bring pleasure, hand in hand with the national sport-fishing. Watch for the little lead colored water ousel and when he takes to a tree you may be able to hear his melodies, unbroken, human, and flutelike sweetness that issues from the throat of no other feathered songster. Marvelous, inspiring, satisfying a lullaby to excited nerves, or troubled minds.

Watch the Magpie

Keep your eye on the magpie, too. He is the clown, the villian, and the regular outlaw of the whole tribe. Take note of his shrewdness, and cunning, and his imitation of other birds. The above are merely suggestions taken from hundreds of interesting things that may be seen if one but observes just a little bit. Try it.


There are new bait rods galore to be had in the sporting goods stores. The two piece, of the old timer market fisherman, the three piece, in spllit bamboo, and the twelve foot old cane one still called for. The prices range from 50 cents to $5. There are new and attractive lines of every kind and description. The silk, linen, cotton, braided, hand laid twist, oil silk, raw silk enameled. They cost from two bits to $4 for 5 yards. Reels, well everything that can be obtained in any great city store, from prices that start at 25c to $20. Creels with leather go from $4 to $9, plain are a bit cheaper, the straps or rigging is extra. Hunting-fishing coats from the sleeveless, full of pockets to the full skirted regular hunting coat, popular with the old timers. The latest thing is a short coat used with waders, that is a mighty fine thing, chuck full of pockets. Then there are sandals to wear over rubber boot soles, an English invention, that puts a stop to any slipping with the ordinary waders.

Even Boats

For the first time in the history of sport in Nevada, the boats have appeared. John C. Durham of the Chevrolet outfit has on display a Mullins steel 14 foot boat. He furnishes the motors for their propulsion. He already has sold eight of them and has orders on his books for more that go up to Eagle lake. Sure a novelty to see a boat displayed in a Reno window and attracts a heap of attention.


Again the sporting goods stores are offering substantial prizes for the best fish. Their windows are really wonderful in their tasty attractive appeal to the general public, and all day crowds linger about the decorations. The dealers all say that there are more girls and women making inquiries for tackle this season, so far, than in all the years they have been in business. The presumption that they have caught the fever like the eastern females, who are really vieing with the male in this healthful outdoor sport, may be the reason. Matter of fact many women can outdo the majority of the men when it comes to getting the fish and making the hikes, and even to the wading game.

The "Rigs"

Now as to "rigs" used. It's a good thing to have a couple of floats in your outfit. "Rigs" are made up at home, and take a dozen along. A piece of heavy gut two feet long, snell a number 3, 4, or 5. Banner mill sproat, the one with the small eye; use from five to eight regular shot singers about two inches above the hook. Tie a loop to attach the line, make up plenty for the days sport, you may need 'em.

Fishing the Truckee river cannot be learned in a day, month or year. Here are a couple of suggestions that may help. There are two old timer methods to bait fish on this river. One is with the float, judging the bottom of the stream, and placing the cork so that the lure will float, without hanging up when the cast (40 to 70 feet) is made, the tip of the rod is elevated so that the line is a straight pull, with no slack. The other practice they call the "straight line." Both of these casts are made at an angle of several degrees up stream, with the straight line there is no float, and the chances are quite a percentage against one in getting "hung up". The fish lie close to the bottom, as all feed during flush water rolls along the bottom. It is a pleasure to watch the veterans at this game, they are certainly skilled.

Well Stocked

With the wonderfully successful work of James Vogt, in charge of the state fish culture, FIsh and Game COmmission, at Verdi hatchery, and the finished careful breeding done by James Morrell at the Washoe county hatchery at Idlewild park, Reno, the streams are being kept well stocked with trout.

A general feeling against the use of fresh spawn has developed among the fisherman. An organization will be created soon for conservation of game and fish. This outfit will ask the county commissioners to stop the use of fresh spawn for all time.

A very important matter to be considered by those not entirely familiar with the Nevada state laws is to be careful not to fish within one hundred feet of any dam or fish ladder, either below or above. Regular peace officers will be well scattered along the river from now until the fishing season closes, so exercise care in not coming in confllict with the statutes.


The Truckee river fishing really begins at the Virginia street bridge, the principal street in Reno, and from there 20 miles west, figuring the meanderings of the river.

At Virginia Street Bridge

The first really attractive water for the bait game, and that will be the sport for some time to come, is at the ditch spill in the dam at the Virginia street bridge, then up all along the ditch to the lower point of George Wingfield park where the riffle breaks from the long sweep of rather ordinary water at the park bridge that runs into this dam. Then follow on up to the Newlands "hole," the head of the riffle that leads into the dam that breaks against the island in the park. This is immediately below the narrow red foot bridge that carries the water main across the river. Fishing above this to the big bridge at the electric plant, and where the tail race runs out is generally fine. Just above where the main channel joins this turbulant water for a hundred yards is fishing water. Then comes Idlewild park and the tail race that comes from out the lakes there, fair, that's all. Now comes the water for a mile up to the gravel plant and washer. The pool where the spillway gushes out from the power ditch is generally good for fine fish at this stage of water. Now the islands formed by the river splitting three ways from the power dam, there will be fish in those runs, and perhaps some good ones. At the head of this power dam one generally has mighty fine sport in this very deep riffle where there are many great rocks. Pretty hard to get into the river on either side from here to the "hog pen" grounds. At this latter the railroad side is the better shore, and a bit up a flume empties into the stream where one may get nice ones. Then a mean ornery swift riffle takes you to the irrigation dam at "chalk bluff" a pool that has been religiously fished with geat success for years and years. Either side is fine for any kind of bait fishing. A short riffle then to the low dam at the foot of the "Italian riffle" where Herb Hill took the largest rainbow on bait that has been caught for many years. Either side of the water is good leeway for the game. Now comes some blank water in the long curved rapids that begins at the foot of the well known Mayberry pool, probably the longest and best pool in this section of the stream.

Good Trout Here

Last year there were a heap of good trout caught along here up to the bridge, and to the pool at the wing dam that makes a big deep round resting place for running feeding fish. The waters from here to the rapids just below Lawtons is rather hard to get to, and hardly ever gave good returns. The Layton pools and eddies is real fishing on both sides of the river, and runs up to, and behind the water tank on the highway or north side. At this "hole" immediately back of the water tank seems always to be the home of big Loch Leven, and some mighty fine rainbow too. Then a riffle and rapids on up to the "stone house" back of Mogul station. That pool is a deep one and may be fished from grassy banks. At the big rock at the head of the riffle that flows into it is good fishing. Now comes a lot of rough shores and great rocks fill the river, there are always some good ones in this stretch too. Then the pool below the Mogul electric plant bridge, that is a dandy. This pool extends up to the tail race that comes from the power house. The south side is generally best, although many fish are taken on the north shore. Then a mean ornery riffle up to where the overflow spillway falls from the high power ditch, this pool is fine, and among the rocks above this on the south side is real fishing.

Then the curve riffle that leads into Rainbow canyon. Just here at the lower end there is always sport, and perhaps up through the canyon during the high water. This is a mile and half stretch of the roughest ground on the river anywhere, mean to fish. Then where the spillway comes out in the angle from the riffles coming down from under the railroad bridges there is a big rock mid-stream and another on the north shore, that perhaps can be reached, pretty fair. Then on up to the Verdi old wagon bridge and the dam, at the 100 foot limit here there may be some sport, hasn't been much water down along here for a couple of years, perhaps a run has brought some good fish in, and just below a small spill comes from the power ditch, many fish have been taken here at times.

The "Spring" Pool

Then comes the two dams, one on either side of the big island at the Durham ranch houses. The big flat water is hard to reach at any time. By wading out over a gravel bar at the head of the dam (southside), probably the best fishing can be reached. Now another riffle and deep water along the north shore, and then a smaller swift running bit of water that surges against the south bank, another turbulant riffle into the eddy that breaks against the south bank of the stream opposite the signal towers along the railroad and then mill tail dangerously swift water for 300 yards and then into the wonder pool known to every fisherman that ever took fish from the river, the great pool that can be seen from the old road, with the great rocks at its head, this is the "spring hole" noted for big catches.

A long rapid riffle, then into the great long [xx] which the new Lincoln highway number one bridge crosses midway, look it over and you will surely want to get busy with your bait outfit. Another deep, swift riffle, with big rocks along the northern bank, and then the discharge of the spillway of the power company that runs through the meadow on the southside, here is sure a place to still fish, and get 'em. Now one goes into that long stretch of water immediately below the Verdi power house. Either side here, where the water rushes around the great rocks has always been a favorite place for all kinds of fishing, as are the waters in and about this plan. A riffle at the head, then two streams that break at the foot of the famous "chicken hole." This "chicken hole" can be fished from either side, and it is generally good for a full count of good fish. The waters are easily reached too. Then on up along a riffle for 400 yards of water that never was any good, one comes to another fine piece of flat water, another riffle into a small pool where there is an immense rock mid-stream, around these rocks many large fish have been taken.

More Holes

Now and then there will be fish from this point on up to the Merrill bridge, not often however. Under, above and below this bridge, is mighty fine fishing, and Dog creek empties in, between this road bridge and the railroad bridge of the Verdi Lumber company. Now there are small eddies from here up to the ground in front of the hotel and pavillion of the Verdi Glen resort, and back of the state hatchery. The ground from here on up and beyond the beautiful new number two bridge of the Lincoln higway, between the saw mill and box factory of the Verdi Lumber company is bully water, and the big ditch that runs along the river contains some prime fish. Now we come to another famous piece of water, that has been covered for many years by the old timers, "the country club" ground. This may best be fished from the south or railroad side, and generally gives fine sport, a place of satisfying comfortable surroundings. Then into the "marble works" territory, a perfect camping place and surroundings all that a fisherman could wish, with bully places of vantage on either side of the river to work, a small ditch wing dam immediately above that has been favorite ground for many of the known anglers. Now the rough rock strewn swift rapids for a quarter of a mile and the wonderfully perfect eddies and pools below the double railroad bridges at Fleisch. This perfect looking water was not worth the proverbial expression of the old timers, last year. The only reason assigned has been that it is peopled by unusually large Loch Leven who keep all sizes of fish life down.

At Fleisch

We are at the Fleisch power house now. Where the rail race gushes from the power house, fish may be taken. In the pools above and where the overflow from the flume rushes down is fine on the southside, and across on the railroad side at the head of the eddies at the foot of the long riffles, is avery deep water and generally a full basket to the initiated. Then the series of little eddies about big rocks and riffles to the "saw dust hole," a deep pool, hard to reach on account of the precipitious bluffs that rise above the water, there follows long, rushing series of riffles until the great pool is reached below the dam that supplies water to a big irrigation ditch, this is a whale of a good place, and marks the line at California, and the end of the Truckee river open fishing at this time.

All the fishing grounds detailed can be reached by automobile. The old road to Fleisch leads to the south side of the "country club" and "marble works" pools, the new Lincoln highway, the road levelled and in fine shape touches all of the north side of the river up to Calvada or the California state line. There can be found parking places at or near every "fishin' hole" enumerated. Take your folks and put in a wonderful day along this incomparable stream, and get the fish.

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