Independence Lake California Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Independence Lake

Independence Lake is a Sierra reservoir not far from Lake Tahoe where the visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, and boating.

  • Enjoy Independence Lake, a beautiful and remote Sierra reservoir
  • Not far from Lake Tahoe
  • Open year-round for walk-in use
  • Paddling this lake is fun in a kayak or canoe
  • Fish for some Lahontan cutthroat or Kokanee salmon


Independence Lake California offers beautiful azure blue waters in a lovely canyon surrounded by forest. Just north of Lake Tahoe, this alpine lake has a unique aspect that attracts many for some great recreational opportunities.

Location & Information

Independence Lake CA can be accessed easily from Lake Tahoe by taking California Highway 89 north to Truckee. From Truckee, continue on 89 for 12.5 miles to the Independence Lake/Webber Lake/Jackson Meadow Reservoir turn off. Follow signs to the lake.


  • Boating
    Due to the rare species of fish that call Independence Lake home, the Nature Conservancy requires that no outside boats be allowed in the lake. The Nature Conservancy provides a small fleet of boats for visitors to use free of charge. Visitors can use kayaks and float tubes at any time during the summer and motorized aluminum boats every other week from Memorial Day through mid-October. All boats are available on a first come, first served basis.
  • Fishing
    Fish are best caught from a boat, and you’ll find Lahontan cutthroat, Kokanee salmon, huge browns and brookies.
  • Hiking
    A few hiking trails are available nearby and more are in the works. Ask the on-site staff for suggestions.

Fun Facts

For 50 years, Independence Lake has been the target for development, with the threat of permanent closure. Over the decades, the Disney Corporation and a Silicon Valley billionaire have tried to purchase the land and lake for profit-making endeavors. Protection efforts have been ongoing due to the lake being the home of the last wild populations of Lahontan cutthroat trout. The Nature Conservancy and Land Trust have secured the area now, with plans to construct user-friendly trails and campgrounds.