Donner Lake, CA

Donner Lake Fishing

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.

Fishing Map of Donner Lake

Donner Lake Watersports Boat Rentals

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

Donner Trophy Fish

Best Baits and Lures

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 Guides

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

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."

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.

Bait and Tackle Shops

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


California's Greatest Lakes

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