Silver and Caples Lake

Caples and Silver Lake
Suggested Flies for Silver and Caples Lake:
Sierra Tahoe Hatch Selection

Gold Ribbed Hares Ear #12-14
Zug Bug #10-12
BH Flashback Pheasant Tail #14-18
Fox Poopah #16, tan or olive

Royal Wulff #14-16
Griffith Gnat #18

Royal Trude #10-12
Golden Stimulator #8-10

Stillwater Streamers:
Woolly Bugger #6-8
Marabou Muddler #6-8
Matuku #6-10


From Jackson at junction of Highways 49-88, take Highway 88 East and go 50 miles to Silver Lake or 62 miles (past Silver Lake and Kirkwood) to Caples Lake on right.

Notes:Silver Lake
Caples Lake (ele:7900 feet) is about 600 acres in size with a maximum depth of 22 feet. It can be float tubed near the two dams and the inlet at the eastern end of the lake but is primarily fished by boat due to the size and nature of the lake. Often there are winds which can make flyfishing difficult. Ice-out during the late Spring brings the fish into the shallower areas. Best fishing time is early morning or late afternoon. Try streamers such as Olive Woolly Buggers and Matukus with a full-sinking line. Mackinaw Trout inhabit the lake but can only be found deep in the lake by trollers.

Silver Lake (ele:7,200 feet) is similar to Caples Lake in size and in that it contains Mackinaws and large Browns. It is also a trolling-type lake but does offer some float tubing possibilities around the boat ramp areas and the inlet stream near Treasure Island. Crystal Woolly Buggers are popular.

Caples Creek: A nine mile long tributary stream of the Silver Fork of the American River that starts at Caples Lake with small pools, runs, and pocket water. The creek has been evaluated as Wild Trout stream by CDFW since 2005 but no determination has been made as yet. The canyon waters of Caples Creek has also been under consideration as a Wilderness area inclusion. Caples Creek used to have a nice population wild Rainbows (7-10 inches) in the upper portions and Browns (8-12 inches) at the confluence of the Silver Fork. However, beavers have created multiple dams on the creek and Brookies have established themselves within the upper reaches. The creek is rather brushy near the dam of Caples Lake but is more open where the Caples Creek Trail provides access. Take the Silver Fork Trail from Martin Meadows off Hwy 88.

Silver Fork of the American River: The Silver Fork leaves Silver Lake as a small tailwater with small waterfalls falling into large pools. Many of these pools contain Browns 8-12 inches, and Rainbows 7-12 inches. It meets Caples Creek through a number of short plunge pools with larger pocket water downstream of Caples Creek. Below the junction of Caples Creek, the Silver Fork enters a deep gorge that might require climbing ropes to provide access.

Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2018)

Silver and Caples Lake:

Open all year. No restrictions. 5 fish limit. Ten in Possession

Caples Creek from confluence with SF American to Caples Lake dam:

Open all year. 0 trout. Artificial lures with barbless hooks.

South Fork American River and Tributaries:

Saturday preceding Memorial Day through September 30th. 5 trout, no gear restrictions. Summer fishing only to protect Spring and Fall Spawning.
October 1 through the Friday preceding Memorial Day. 0 trout, artificial lures with barbless hooks. A Fall to Spring angling opportunity with significant gear restrictions.



Bathymetric Chart- Caples Lake

© 2023 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.
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