Owing to the wonderful adaptability of Lake Tahoe, and the lakes and brooks of the surrounding region, to fish life, several other well-known varieties have been introduced, all of which have thrived abundantly and now afford opportunity for the skill of the fisherman and delight the palate of the connoisseur. These are the Mackinac, rainbow, eastern brook, and Loch Levin. There is also found a beautiful and dainty silver trout, along the shore where the cold waters of the various brooks or creeks flow into Lake Tahoe (and also in some of the smaller lakes), that is much prized. Some fishermen claim that it is the “prettiest, gamiest, sweetest and choicest” fish of the Lake, and it has been caught weighing as high as twelve pounds.
Another fish, native to Lake Tahoe, is found in vast numbers by the Indians in the fall. The ordinary summer visitor to Tahoe seldom sees or hears of these, as they rarely bite until the summer season is over, say in October. This is a white fish, varying in size from half a pound to four pounds in weight, with finely flavored flesh. It is found in shallow water and near the mouths of the creeks, and the Indians have a way of “snagging” them in. Building a kind of half platform and half stone screen over the pools where they abound, the Indians take a long wire, the end of which they have sharpened and bent to form a rude hook. Then, without bait, or any attempt at sport, they lower the hook and as rapidly as the fish appear, “snag” them out, literally by the hundreds. Most of these are salted down for winter use. This is supposed to be a native, and the traditions of the Indians confirm the supposition.
The largest native Tahoe trout caught, of which there is any authentic record, was captured not far from Glenbrook and weighed 35 pounds, and, strange to say, its capturer was an amateur. This, the boatmen tell me, is generally the case—the amateurs almost invariably bringing in the largest fish. Although there are rumors of fish having been caught weighing as high as 45 pounds it is impossible to trace these down to any accurate and reliable source, hence, until there is positive assurance to the contrary it may be regarded that this catch is the largest on record.
The common Tahoe method of “trolling” for trout is different from the eastern method. It is the result of years of experience and is practically as follows: A copper line, 100 to 200 feet long, which sinks of its own weight, on which a large copper spoon is placed above the hook, which is baited with a minnow and angle-worm, is used. Thrown into the water the line is gently pulled forward by the angler, then allowed to sink back. He takes care, however, always to keep it taut. This makes the spoon revolve and attracts the fish. The moment the angler feels a strike he gives his line a quick jerk and proceeds to pull in, landing the fish with the net. The local term for this method of fishing is “jerk-line.”