Mixed success in the first few days of the season

Heenan Lake - Markleeville, CA (Alpine County)

Mixed success in the first few days of the season

by Reno Fly Shop

As Heenan Lake opened September 1st, many local anglers headed south to catch Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (LCT). There was mixed success in the first few days given the large storm that hovered over the region on opening weekend. The first portion of the season is best fished with slip indicator setups. By using a slip indicator, you can present chironomids at depths of 15-25’. LCT gorge on chironomids, callibaetis, daphnia, and small leeches in September. Determining depth can be done in a few different ways- most often with either a fish finder unit or aweight connected to the fly. The Micro Holographic Midge has been a great pattern at Heenan Lake, while the standard size Holo Midge has worked well in Albino WIno or 49er to represent the blood midges in Heenan. Cycle through colors and sizes on a consistent basis if your depth is set correctly. LCT tend to bite a certain presentation and then cycle to other colors/ sizes throughout the day. Callibaetis are forgotten about frequently but can fish incredibly well during an emergence. The Assassin is an easy choice when presenting a callibaetis nymph.

 In determining the depth below you, set the indicator to present the fly only a half foot to a foot off the bottom. These fish are notorious for selectively feeding only within the first foot of bottom. Setting up a slip indicator is actually quite simple when using a Jaydactor. We don’t sell a slip indicator leader, but would be happy to show you how it works. 

Sink line techniques also work at Heenan, but tend to be more productive in low light periods. A Type III Sink Line gets the fly into the zone and keeps it there. An intermediate doesn’t tend to work well at Heenan since the fish are most often on the bottom. 

As the season progresses, LCT will be seen just under the surface and frequently cruise right by you! When water temperatures drop and fish come up shallow, a dry-dropper rig can be extremely productive. Terrestrials such as ants work well, along with callibaetis mayfly dries when fishing the surface. Droppers can consist of a few different bugs; with chrionomid pupae and callibaetis working best.

Flies we Suggest: Micro Holo Midge, Holo Midge, AssassinHale Bopp Leech, Thin Mint Bugger, Balanced Leech

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