Lake Tahoe is widely known for its stunning beauty and is also the home of many types of fish such as:
1) Lake Trout (Mackinaw Trout):
The most common and most prominent fish species available in this lake is the Mackinaw Trout (aka Lake Trout fish).
Mackinaw Trout typically likes oligotrophic, deep, cold, and well-oxygenated water. The best part is that Lake Tahoe perfectly fulfills all these conditions. That’s why Lake Trout has turned into a dominant fish variant in the lake. They can easily be found in almost any depth of Lake Tahoe. These fishes rely on other native fish (Tahoe Sucker, Mountain Whitefish, and Tui Chub) for food.
Their body color is either dark gray or gray-green, whereas the belly color is either light gray or white.
The interesting and surprising fact about Mackinaw Trout is that this is a non-native fish type for Lake Tahoe, and it was brought to the lake during the late 1880s.
2) Rainbow Trout:
After Mackinaw Trout, the second most common as well as dominating fish species will be Rainbow Trout. They prefer cool, fresh, clean, and oxygenated water sources as their habitat.
These fishes have olive/silvery bodies, greenish-blue back, white/silver belly, and irregular spots all over the body. The interesting fact about Rainbow Trout is that their diet preference is pretty versatile. They rely on insects, crustaceans, fish eggs, plankton, and small fishes as their food options to grow and thrive in Lake Tahoe.
3) Brown Trout:
Just like Mackinaw Trout and Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout is also not a native fish species of Lake Tahoe. This trout fish variant was introduced to the Lake Tahoe basin. They have olive-brownish bodies with numerous black spots or red-orange spots. They are very difficult to catch.
There are some unique facts about Brown Trout. First of all, they can live up to eighteen years. Secondly, they can grow up to one meter. Speaking of their food sources, they mostly rely on larvae and smaller fish in the lake.
4) Brook Trout:
Brook Trout may not be easily found in Lake Tahoe. That being said, fishing enthusiasts have sometimes spotted them in early summer. They prefer small, cold, shallow, headwaters, and high-elevation streams.
The interesting fact about Brook Trout is that they are a voracious predator and typically eat any living organism.
5) Kokanee Salmon:
This is also a non-native fish variant. This particular fish type was introduced to the Lake Tahoe Basin in the mid-1900s. Since then, Kokanee Salmon has become one of the common fish species of the lake. They have perfectly adapted the lake’s atmosphere, and ecosystem to survive, grow, and thrive. In the months of July, August, September, and October, Kokanee Salmon can be easily available.
For your quick note, they prefer warmer temperatures and that’s why early spring is a perfect time to catch them. Their average size is around 1-2 lbs.
Speaking of the body color, Kokanee Salmon has a bluish-green back and silvery sides mostly. They are mainly zooplankton feeders.
6) Largemouth Bass:
Largemouth Bass prefers the shallow and warm waters of Lake Tahoe. That’s why you can easily spot them either in early summer or in late spring.
Their diet options include worms, frogs, snakes, grubs, insects, crayfish, and other fishes. The interesting fact about Largemouth Bass is that they can grow up to 23lbs.
7) Smallmouth Bass:
Smallmouth Bass fish species are also widespread through Lake Tahoe. They prefer cooler and clearer water. They are carnivorous in nature and they rely on insects, crayfish, zooplankton, and other smaller fishes for food sources.
Bluegills are also another easy-to-find fish species available in the Lake Tahoe basin. They are also known as the most abundant sunfish. The most interesting fact about bluegill is that they are prolific and can easily expand to larger populations.
Just like bluegill, white crappie, and black crappie fish variants are sometimes found in Lake Tahoe. They prefer diverse diet options including insects, crustaceans, and zooplankton.
The difference between black crappie and white crappie is that black crappie prefers clearer water streams, whereas white crappie favors slower-moving water streams.
10) Mountain Whitefish:
Mountain Whitefish prefer colder water and that’s why they live in the deep layers of Lake Tahoe. They have very beautiful silvery-white body water. Note, it’s one of the native fish variants of the Lake Tahoe basin. They mostly eat up fish eggs and zooplankton that are available in the bottom layers of the lake.
11) Lahontan Redside:
Lahontan Redside belongs to the Minnow family. They are delicate, small, and beautiful. They mostly remain in large schools throughout most parts of the year. In Lake Tahoe, they are quite abundant near shore. Their diet consists of fish eggs, plankton, and aquatic insects.
Brown Bullhead Catfish is another well-known fish type of Lake Tahoe. They are a bottom-feeder. They eat insects, leeches, fish, clams, snails, and other small plants. They are a bit scarce during the day and often come out at night in search of food.
The unique fact about these catfishes is that they can survive a wide range of water temperatures, heavy pollution, and low oxygen levels.
13) Tahoe Sucker:
This fish type is found in streams throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin. The unique fact about Tahole Sucker is that they have a high reproductive capacity and they are relatively long-lived. They are mostly active at night when they dwell around the lake for food like invertebrates, detritus, and aquatic plants.
Sculpin is another abundant bottom-dwelling fish of Lake Tahoe. They are small and have unique body colors which help them to easily hide between rocks and sticks. Their diet options include snails, aquatic insects, and smaller fish. These fishes can grow up to four inches.
15) Golden Shiner:
Golden Shiner is a small fish. The most interesting part about this fish type is they prefer quiet and clear water. They need good water quality, sufficient aquatic vegetation, and enough oxygen supply to thrive.
16) Tui Chub:
Tui Chub was once a dominant fish variant in Lake Tahoe. Now, it has become an endangered fish species. Tui Chub can be found in the depth of 100 feet. They move in schools and feeds plankton mainly.
17) Speckled Dace:
Speckled Dace can be found in a wide range of habitats including thermal springs, warm, and cool water rivers, lakes, and streams. In Lake Tahoe, they can be found in the depth of 50 ft. They are semi-nocturnal and have a bottom-feeding habit.
With this, you have revealed the top seventeen commonly available fish types in Lake Tahoe.
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Ice Fish Alone
Cold Weather Front Affect Ice Fishing
Time of Day to Go Ice Fishing
Depth for Ice Fishing
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Baits vs Lures
Worms Used as Bait
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Types of Catfish
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