Heenan Lake

Look for my article on Heenan Lake in the September/October 2015 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing

Southwest September 2015 Fly Fishing Magazine Cover

If you are planning a trip to Heenan Lake, then take note of the following: the lake opens for fishing on September 1 and closes on October 31st. (Note: these new dates for fishing Heenan went into effect in 2021.)


The EcoAngler Report

Planning to fish Heenan Lake? Get scientific based angling intel in The EcoAngler Report - Heenan Lake.

The EcoAngler Report - Heenan Lake

Detailed information on Heenan's Lahontans along with detailed maps of where to fish and statistics to help time your trip can be purchased here.

An Adobe PDF document will be made available after your purchase. Select Return to the Ecological Angler to view and save your purchase.



From Sacramento Drive east on U.S. 50 to the junction with Highway 89. Turn south on Highway 89 and drive over Luther Pass to the junction with Highway 88. Turn left and drive to Woodfords and Highway 89. Turn right onto Highway 89 and drive throught the town of Markleeville. Proceed toward Monitor Pass. Just before the summit of the pass, turn left onto a short dirt road that leads to a parking area for the lake.

From Stockton Take Highway 4 east over Ebbetts Pass (Warning: this stretch is long, narrow, and curvy) to the juntion with Highway 89. Turn right and proceed toward Monitor Pass. Just before the summit of the pass, turn left onto a short dirt road that leads to a parking area for the lake.


Lahontan Cutthroat Grown Here

Heenan Lake is used to rear Lahontan cutthroat for stocking elsewhere in the Western U.S.

Michael Carl caught and released 24 inch Lahontan cutthroat

The excellent numbers of large Lahontan cutthroat trout lead to the selection of Heenan Lake as one of the state's first Heritage Trout waters. Heenan Lake is also used by the California Department of Fish and Game as an egg source for stocking waters in California and Nevada with Lahontan cutthroat trout. The Department takes up to 2 million eggs annually from the cutthroat in Heenan Lake. A few thousand yearling cutthroats, reared from these eggs, are stocked back into the lake each year.

Fly Fishing Heenan Lake from a pontoon boat produces Lahontan Cutthroat

Heenan Lake is managed with catch-and-release only regulations and only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. Almost every year a high percentage of trout caught are over 18 inches.

Heenan Lake is home to large Lahontan Cutthroat

Walking along the shore, sight-casting to cruising trout, can be a successful and exciting angling technique. However, most anglers prefer float tubes and boats without gasoline-powered motors are also allowed.

Heenan Lake California is located off Highway 89 below Monitor Pass

As a catch and release fishery, try to land these trout quickly, and remember to Keep Them Wet!

Fly fishing Heenan Lake for  Lahontan cutthroat