Brian Slusser

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide in Truckee, California

Brian Slusser


As an outdoor enthusiast, I was drawn to the Truckee/Tahoe area for the outstanding skiing. However, I found a bonus in the excellent fly fishing for wild rainbow and brown trout in the Truckee River. During the winter months, I am a full-time professional ski patroller. During the summer, I am a fully addicted fly-fishing nut.

For the last 15 seasons, it has been my goal to provide a safe, fun, and informative outing for my clients. Along with my avalanche rescue dog Shooter, I welcome the opportunity to share my passion for fly fishing with anyone from the beginner to the seasoned veteran. Women and children are encouraged. The group size is limited to four persons per guide.

Date Range

Prime season is mid-April through September. In October, I offer steelhead fishing on the Upper Klamath in California and the Rogue River in Oregon. November through March is ski season for me and I will take trips if conditions are right: sunny in the 50s, water temps in the mid 40s, and it fits my skiing schedule.

What is Provided to Customer

I include all of the necessary gear: rod, reels, waders, and flies. Lunch is provided on full-day trips. Anglers will need a fishing license for the day or days they plan to fish and licenses can be purchased here:

Region/Terrain Where You Fish

The town of Truckee is at 5,700 feet. The fishing venues are within 500+/- feet elevation of Truckee. The rivers are small to medium in size and they are all walk and wade. There are no float trips here. The stillwaters range in size from 12 to 1,200 acres and are best fished from a boat, but not necessary. Travel time to the different venues can be 10 minutes to 90 minutes and most are accessible by passenger car.

Typical Weather by Season

It can snow any month of the year here. Spring has been fussy the last couple of years from full winter conditions to sun and 70s. The water is starting to warm 40-55 degrees and the flows are peaking. Summer here is great! Summer typically is sunny with temps in the 70-85 range and an afternoon wind 5-10mph. We have light rains occasionally. Water temps are rising all the time from June (50-65 degrees) through August (60-70 degrees) and the flows are dropping. Fall can be great with cool mornings and 70 degrees in the afternoons. The water is cooling back down and usually continuing to drop unless there is a big storm. Winter, well it snows here, but between storms it is generally sunny and nice with lows in the 20s and highs in the 50s. The water temps fluctuate between 36 degrees and 45 degrees.


Sample of Typical Itinerary

Spring/summer: typically longer days so full-day (8am to 5pm) trips can run longer. Half-day morning (8am to 1pm) or evening (3:30 to dark) trips are also a good bet. During the summer, 1pm to 4pm is usually pretty slow fishing.

Winter: usually from November through March are half-day (5-hour) trips during the heat of the day. Depending on conditions, 10am to 3pm seems to be the best. Late winter into spring, March and April, ski in the morning and fish in the afternoon.


Species You Fish for by Season

In the rivers, there are mainly rainbow and brown Trout. Indicator nymphing is the most productive method year round. Prime time for dries is mid-June through August. Streamers on a two-handed switch rod are also effective.

In the stillwaters, there are rainbow, brown, mackinaw, kokanee, and smallmouth bass. Sinking-line techniques and indicator nymphing are the most productive, with dry-fly techniques when appropriate.


What Should Customers Bring?

We are at 5,700 feet so hat, sunglasses, and good sunscreen are a must. For summer months, a long-sleeved shirt, shorts, and warm socks are good to have as well. However, it is the mountains and weather changes. A light jacket and pants are also nice for the cooler days and evenings. For spring, fall, and winter fishing, bring the whole array of clothing layers, long underwear, fleece, and a raincoat, warm socks, fleece hat, and gloves. I have some extra stuff as well. I carry a waterproof camera and take photos during your trip to send to you.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Will weather affect my trip?
A. Every year is different and the weather seems to be the big factor. Plan for the worst, but hope for the best. Some of the best fishing for me has been during snowstorms and rain events.

Q. Where is the closest airport?
A. Reno is the closest major airport and has shuttles available (35 miles away). Truckee has a small airport that takes private jets and has rental cars available (one mile from downtown Truckee).

Q. What types of fish should I expect to catch?
A. The Truckee River is a tough river. It does not give up fish easily. There are some very large rainbows and browns in the system and good skills are required to consistently dupe the hogs.

Q. How far so I have to be able to cast?
A. Most venues are best fished with short casts less than 20 feet.


Brian Slusser
Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide

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