California Trout Lakes Part 3

Middle Sierra Reservoirs


If snow melts early you should be able to reach Fuller Lake off Highway 20 near its junction with Interstate 80 and Spaulding Reservoir. Fuller nestles above Spaulding on the road back into Bowman Lake. Good brown trout fishing at the inlet and along the road side of this most scenic lake repay the short hike over the snow to the lake. Worms and small plugs or spoons offer top action here from boat or bank.

Spaulding Reservoir's road from the PG&E housing area opens when snow melts. Locals often drag canoes or inflatables into the Reservoir over the snow, then troll or cast lures off the mouth of the South Yuba River, Fordyce Creek or the flume across the lake. TIP: You can scramble and climb down the river from the Interstate 80 Bridge all the way to the reservoir. There's also a lousy road that runs under the power lines and dives down to cross the rivers. Some large trout seem to stage here before or after spawning. It's a great spot for brown trout in the fall if you wear bells or carry a boom box so the city hunters don't pot you.

Big brown trout repair your trolling or point casting efforts early in the season, once the snow melt peaks the lake fills with floating wood and browns go back deep. If you can't slog into these lakes head downhill to Scotts Flat Reservoir near Grass Valley or to Bullards Bar.

As the snow melts there are at least 20 additional lakes and reservoirs past Fuller Lake -- source of the flume that enters the reservoir across from the boat ramp -- that run all the way to the highway north of Truckee. Jackson Meadows Reservoir is easily reached from the Truckee side, but most of the lakes in the area. Best bets for those who can handle reasonable and worse gravel to cobbles roads include the big brown trout at Bowman if you can figure out how to get your boat into the water. A whole batch of others -- Sawmill with small fish and no camping is very scenic, Faucherie offers foot-long planters and some larger wild trout and French and Jackson Lakes can be good at times. Meadow Lake probably has the best fishing, at least early in the year. Webber Lakes mix of brook trout, rainbow trout and brown trout deserve a try soon after the snow melts off the access road. Wherever you fish, don't forget early season trout bite bait best when the water remains in the 40's and wise fishermen switch to a new body of water rather than tough it out where conditions aren't right!