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Independence Lake

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Independence Lake is one of the most pristine lakes west of the Rocky Mountains. At approximately 2.5 miles long, you can find it located just north of Lake Tahoe. This lake is the headwater for the Truckee River. The Nature Conservancy was recently able to purchase 2,325 acres surrounding Independence Lake back in May, 2010. This purchase has protected a critical water source for the Renoarea, and provides a critical habitat for the Lahontan cutthroat trout. Independence Lake contains one of the only wild lake populations of Lahontan cutthroat trout. It also contains wild populations of brook trout, brown trout and Kokanee salmon. Special regulations for Independence Lake include no fishing in the tributaries, catch and release only for Lahontan cutthroat, and use of artificial lures and flies only. No motorized watercraft of any kind are permitted on the lake.

Here you will want to fish with a 5-7 wt rod, and have a reel or two rigged with everything from a floating line, to a fast sinking shooting head.  On the leader side of things, with the floating line, use a 9ft 5x leader for fishing dry flies, and a 12-15ft 3x leader for fishing nymphs.  With any type of sinking line, a short, stout, 6ft leader in 10lb test will do the job.

Flies should range from Parachute Adams and Stimulators in #12-16, to nymphs like Copper John's and Hares Ears in #14-18.  Also, don't forget about big streamers like Hare Sculpins and Double Screamers for the appetites of some gigantic Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. These flies should be fished in a cast and retrieve manner for some truly explosive strikes.