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

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: Spoons and Spinners, Father Murphy's Kokanee Bugs, Kastmasters


Donner Lake Fishing Guide Services

Sierra Anglers Guide Service
Truckee, CA
(530) 414-1374
Specializing in Donner Lake and other nearby lakes, Sierra Anglers will take you out in their 21-foot Eagle powerboat with the motto, "No fish, No pay."

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

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

Photo of Public Fishing Dock at Donner Lake, CA

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.

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


Cabela's
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






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