On my almost annual trips to Lake Tahoe with the family, we’d always get the sense that our destination was near when from Interstate 80 we’d get a peek at the bright blue waters of Donner Lake. (As a youngster I couldn’t quite understand the tragic history of how Donner Lake and Donner Pass was named – the doomed Donner Party). Indeed, it’s almost a hauntingly beautiful scene there.
I remember one year when my dad and I did a trip to Tahoe, on our way back we left early and broke out the fishing gear during a pit stop at Donner Lake, a narrow but productive trout and Mackinaw fishery. We spent a few hours fishing from the bank, had a bite or two but ultimately left empty-handed (though we did have a tasty sandwich from a deli near the lake).
Donner is not known for being an elite fishing lake, so I was a bit surprised by the news that a 31-pound Mackinaw was landed there recently.
Great fish! Here’s more on a near lake record from the Reno Gazette-Journal:
After more than 20 years of fishing regularly at Donner Lake, Schroers had his trophy fish, weighing 31 pounds, 4 ounces, which he promptly returned to the lake.
The Donner Lake record for a mackinaw is a 34-pounder caught in 2000 by Al Bonturi.
Schroers, 44, used a DRT Klash 9 swim bait to land his mackinaw. His catch was not examined by an employee of California Department of Fish and Wildlife, so is unofficial. The California state record is a 37-pound mackinaw caught in Lake Tahoe in 1974.