Nevada County, Northern California

Donner Lake Fishing

Fishing at Donner Lake

Donner Lake has plenty of Mackinaw, rainbow and brown trout along with kokanee salmon, making it a popular location for serious anglers. The lake has a reputation for producing bigger Mackinaw than at nearby Lake Tahoe. Most people fish from boats, but they have to be wary of afternoon winds. The lake is stocked with kokanee salmon and rainbow trout.

Where to Fish on Donner Lake

Working from the shore near the launch ramp has produced some good fish. Others reports success fishing from the docks at the west end. If fishing from shore, your best chance of hooking a Mackinaw is in the spring and fall. Anglers are urged to catch and release any Mackinaw over 10 pounds to help sustain the lake's population of trophy fish.

If you are fishing from a boat, the advice is to fish Deep in China Cove for Mackinaws. Trolling for rainbows is good at the west end of the lake near the mouth of the river and along the north shore.

Much More Below

Donner Lake Record Mackinaw
Which Baits and Lures Work the Best?
Donner Lake Fishing Guide Services
Donner Lake Area Fishing Supplies

Fishing Map of Donner Lake, CA

Donner Lake Watersports Boat Rentals

Donner Lake Watersports rents fishing and pontoon boats.
Donner Lake Boating

Trophy Fish from Donner Lake

  • Mackinaw Trout - Lake record is 34 pounds, caught by Al Bonturi in June 2000; In 2009 third-grader Katie Stout from Sparks, Nevada, landed a 31 pound Mackinaw

Which Baits and Lures Are Catching Fish at Donner Lake?

Rainbow and Mackinaw Trout: Fish with downriggers using plugs that imitate rainbow trout or kokanee salmon, Rapala Floaters, AC Plugs, Hum Dingers, PowerBait, Nightcrawlers, spoons and spinners, Cripplures, T-55 Flatfish

Kokanee: Shasta Tackle koke-a-nuts, pee wee hoochies and scorpion spinners mostly in pink, all behind a Shasta tackle sling blades; Father Murphy's Kokanee Bugs, Kastmasters

Donner Lake Fishing Guide Services

Christophel's Guide Service
Truckee, CA
(530) 680-1492
Website: Christophel's Guide Service
Marc will take you out in his fully equipped 21-foot North River Seahawk with 4 Scotty electric downriggers, Lowrance Elite 7, and Air Ride captains chairs. The boat has a full canopy and heater. Marc guides on both Donner Lake and Stampede Reservoir. Their moto: “NO FISH, NO PAY”

Four Seasons Fly Fishing
Truckee, CA
(530) 386-0525
Website: Four Seasons Fly Fishing
Fly fishing guide Brian Slusser.

Shaun's Guide Service
Truckee, CA
(530) 802-4484
Shaun's Guide Service
Specializing in Donner Lake's trophy Mackinaw, Kokanee, and trout. With over 30 years of experience, Shaun will "make sure your day is filled with catching experiences."

Tight Lines Fishing Guide Service
Tight Lines Guide Service offers professionally guided fishing trips on the Sacramento River, Lake Tahoe, Stampede Reservoir, Donner Lake, Oroville, and Folsom Lake. "We specialize in King Salmon fishing, Striper fishing, Kokanee, Trout, Land Locked King Salmon, and Mackinaw Trout fishing. James has decades of experience and has two boats for different trips, check out our website or give us a call to book a trip!"
Website: Tight Lines Fishing Guide Service

Bill Dunn's Fishing Charters
Bill knows his way around northern California lakes, including Donner. He'll take you out in his fully outfitted, 20-foot, custom-made Boulton.
Website: Bill Dunn's Fishing Charters

Donner Lake Area
Fishing Tackle and Bait

Mountain Hardware and Sports
11320 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee, CA
(530) 587-4844

Mountain Hardware and Sports
Fishing tackle

Truckee River Outfitters and
Fly Shop

10200 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee, CA
(530) 582-0909

8650 Boomtown Rd., Verdi, NV
(775) 829-4100

Website: Cabela's
Huge store opened in 2007

SPD Market
735 Zion St., Nevada City, CA
(530) 265-4596

A Large Selection of Fishing Gear

Reel Anglers Fly Shop
760 South Auburn St.
Grass Valley, CA
(530) 477-5397

Fly Fishing

Swigard's True Value Hardware
200 N. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, CA
(530) 583-3738

Public Fishing Dock

The public fishing dock is located adjacent to Shoreline Park midway along the north shore. Restrooms are available there. Other fishing docks can be found at the public launch ramp farther to the west.

Photo of Public Fishing Dock at Donner Lake, CA