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Fish Species

This page provides information about significant fish species found in the Carson River, Truckee River, and Walker River drainages.

How to identify native and wild trout? Checkout this streamside guide produced by FlyFishingtheSierra.com and WildTroutStreams.com.

Want a challenge?

Please feel free to contribute text to fill in any gaps. Contributions can should be sent to Kurt at info@hsfc.us.

Salmonidae (Salmonids)

Brook Trout

The Eastern Brook Trout, or simply Brookie, is native to Eastern North America. They were introduced to many of our high lakes and streams and flourish in many of these waters. Large brookies can be found at Kirman Lake.

Brown Trout

The Brown Trout is native to Europe. They were once widely stocked in the Eastern Sierras and can be found wild in the Truckee, Carson, and Walker basins. The CA record Brown was caught in Upper Twin Lake at 26 1/2 pounds!

Cutbow and Bowcutt Trout

A Cutbow trout is a fertile hybrid between a rainbow trout and a cutthroat trout, whereas a Bowcutt trout is a sterile hybrid between a rainbow and a cutthroat. The former generally primarily exist in our waters as an undesirable result of in-the-wild hybridization of wild cutthroats and planted rainbows. The latter are produced in hatcheries and stocked in some of our waters.

Golden Trout

The California Golden Trout (aka Volcano Creek Golden Trout), the Little Kern Golden, and the Kern Rainbow are trout native to the Kern River basin. While not native to our waters, the California Golden were widely transplanted in the southeastern Sierras and can be found in various high elevation lakes.

Kokanee Salmon

Kokanee are Sockeye Salmon that spend all of their life in freshwater. Found in a number of lakes in the Sierras including Lake Tahoe and Twin Lakes. In the fall, they can be seen spawning upstream in the small streams such as Robinson Creek above Upper Twin Lakes and Taylor Creek on the west shore of Lake Tahoe.

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout are native the Carson, Truckee and Walker river basins. Large LCTs are routinely caught at Pyramid Lake. They can also be found in Heenan Lake and various other lakes and streams in our area.

Lake Trout (aka Mackinaw)

Lake Trout is a freshwater char that is native of northern portions of North America. They are present in a few local lakes, namely Caples, Donner, Tahoe, and Silver lakes. Mackinaw, as they are locally called, live primarily in deep waters, hence they are generally not the target of fly fisherman. However, when spawning (in the fall), one might find them cruising shallow waters.

Mountain Whitefish

A native bottom feeder. They are a great fish to smoke. Their presence in the water is generally an indication that the healthy conditions for trout species.  They are commonly caught on both forks for the Walker and upper portions of the Truckee, and can be found in some portions of the forks of the Carson.

Paiute Cutthroat Trout

The Paiute Cutthroat Trout is native to Silver King Creek, a tributary of the East Fork of the Carson River. It is the rarest species in the Sierras and presently only found in closed waters. It is currently the subject of restoration project.

Rainbow Trout

While the coastal rainbow trout is native to the west coast, it is not native to the Carson, Truckee, and Walker basins. While today sterile Rainbows are most commonly planted in the eastern Sierras, wild rainbows due exist and even flourish in a number of local waters. Other strains of Rainbow trout which can be found in our waters include the Eagle Lake Trout and the Kamloop Rainbow.

Tiger Trout

A hybrid trout created by crossing a Brook trout with a Brown trout. Stocked in a number of lakes, especially where they want to control an over abundance of wild fish, such as at Hobart Reservoir.

Other

Carp

Common and Grass Carp can be found in our local warmer waters such as Hinkson Slough.

Catfish

Bullhead and Channel Catfish are present in a number of warmer running waters such as the Carson River.

Centrarchidae (Sunfish family)

Bluegill sunfish can be found in local waters such as the Mason Valley North Pond and Lahontan ReservoirGreen sunfish can also be found in some of our waters. Crappie be found in Lahontan Reservoir.  Sacramento Perch can be found in Pyramid LakeVarious species of Bass are present in warmer waters of Western Nevada, such as Lahontan Reservoir and Fort Churchill Pond.

Lahontan Tui chub

A fish native to the great basin. They are the dominate fish in Pyramid Lake and are found in a number of other local waters.