This page provides information about many of the significant public fisheries within the Carson, Truckee, and Walker river basins... and a few extras. For information about the fish species you can find in these waters, see Fish Species of the Eastern Sierra article.
For additional information about these fisheries as well as others in the greater Sierra, check out Stevenojai's FlyFishingtheSierra.com and Dave's Sierra Fishing. Also, you might check out the Eastern Sierra Back Country Fishing Guide.
Be sure to know the applicable fishing regulations before heading out to fish.
Carson River and its tributaries
The Carson River and tributaries carries snowmelt from the eastern Sierra to the Carson Sink near Fallon, NV. The east and west forks of river meet on River Fork Ranch in the Carson Valley near Genoa, Nevada to form the main stem of the Carson River. The Carson River runs northeastly to Lahonhan Reservior and then to the Carson Sink. The headwaters of the East Fork are mostly within the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. The headwaters of the West Fork are above Hope Valley and Faith Valley.
Fishing on the main stem is generally limited to the areas near parks, such as the Carson River Park in Carson City and the Dayton State Park in Dayton that are occassionally stocked with Rainbows. Some segments of the main stem hold bass and catfish.
The main stem has a couple of fishable small tributaries. Both Ash Canyon Creek and Clear Creek hold rainbows and brookies. Ash Canyon Creek can be accessed using Ash Canyon Road in Carson City. Clear Creek can be accessed using Old Clear Creek Road, also in Carson City.
East Fork of the Carson River in Nevada
East Carson River is most commonly fished in the broken dam area. This area is named after remains of the Ruhenstroth Dam, which was used ages ago to generated power. The area parallels River Rock Road and Washoe Road, providing convenient access a mile of well stocked waters. You'll find plenty of willing rainbows and browns to catch here.
Productivity on the East Carson River reduces as you move further downstream from the broken dam area as the flows get thin and the water temperature rises.
While the section from the stateline downstream to broken dam can fish well, extended periods of drought have taken their tolls over the years. The section can be accessed using various 4x4 roads in the area.
East Fork of the Carson River in California
There are four sections of East Carson River in California: the headwater section above Carson Falls, the upper wild trout section from Carson Falls to the confluence of Wolf Creek, the mid section from the confluence of Wolf Creek to Hangman's bridge, and the lower wild trout section from Hangman's bridge to the California/Nevada state line.
The lower wild trout section was designed in 1989 as a Wild and Scenic River by the State of California. It holds some large rainbows and browns and can be accessed from Hangman's bridge area, from the Markleeville airport, and from various 4x4 roads.
The upper wild trout section holds rainbows, browns, and brookies. It can be access from Wolf Creek Road off of CA 4 or by hike from various trailheads.
The mid-section is a put-n-take fishery. Here you'll find stocked rainbow trout and the occasional wild brown trout. This section can be access off CA 89, CA 4, and Wolf Creek Road.
The headwater section and its tributaries hold Lahontan cutthroat trout. This section is closed to fishing.
Tributaries of the East Fork of Carson River
The East Carson River offer a lot of great fishing. The lower elevation streams will typically have rainbows and browns while the upper elevation streams will typically have brookies.
Markleeville Creek and its tributaries - Markleeville creek runs from the confluence of Hot Springs Creek and Pleasant Valley Creek down to the East Carson River. Portions on public land are stocked with rainbows trout and can be from various points in and around Markleeville, including the Heritage Park and Markleeville Campground. Hot Springs Creek can be accessed using Hot Springs Road. Charity Valley Creek, a tributary of Hot Springs Creek, can also be accessed using Blue Lakes Road. The upper portions of Pleasant Valley Creek and its tributaries can be accessed using Blue Lakes Road and Sunset Lakes Road. While most of the lower portions of Pleasant Valley Creek are on private land, a small stretch on public lands can be accessed using Pleasant Valley Road.
Silver Creek and its tributaries - Silver Creek is the outlet creek of Lower Kinney Lake. Its confluence with the East Carson River is at Centerville Flat. The Alpine Highway (CA-4) provides easy access to Silver Creek, as well as some of its tributaries, including Noble Creek and Kinney Creek. The lower portions of Silver Creek are stocked with rainbows.
Wolf creek offers nice brookie fishing. It can be accessed using Wolf Creek Road off of CA-4. Venture upstream, into the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, to access less frequented waters, using Wolf Creek trail.
Silver King Creek and its tributaries - The endangered Paiute cutthroat trout is native to the Silver King and its tributaries below LLewellyn Falls. Over a hundred years ago, basque sheepherders transplanted Paiutes above the falls Subsequently, the lower population below were hybridized by rainbows, Lahontan cutthroat, and cutbows. The upper population was subsequent transplated into many other headwater tributaries in the area, as well as into Cottonwood Creek and Cabin Creek in the White Mountains.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation of various other organizations, has a major restoration project under way to move or kill non-native fish in the Paiute's range and then restock it Paiutes transplanted from the White Mountains. Hopefully we'll be able to fish for Paiute cutthroat again some day.
West Fork of the Carson River
The West Carson River offers great nearby fishing! One can always find Rainbows in the canyon section from Woodfords to Hope Valley. Hope Valley itself tends to get heavily fished, especially in areas near the highway or adjacent to Blue Lakes Road. The canyon section, between Hope Valley and Woodfords, fishes well. These areas are also heavily stocked. Brookies can be found in Faith Valley and above. Portions of the West Carson and its tributary Willow Creek are within the Hope Valley Wildlife Area.
Tributaries of the West Fork of Carson River
Tributaries of the West Carson River offer good fly fishing for brook trout.
Forestdale Creek is a headwater tributary of the West Carson. It can be accessed using Forestdale Road from Carson Pass Highway (CA 88) at Red Lake. 4x4 recommended.
Red Lake Creek is the outflow creek of Red Lake. It parallels CA 88 between Red Lake and Hope Valley. The public lands to the east of CA 88 and Blue Lakes Roads offer nice meadow and alpine sections.
Willow Creek drains into the West Carson River at Pickett's Junction. It can be accessed from can be accessed from Luther Pass Road (CA 89).
Truckee River and its tributaries
The Truckee River is 121 long river that runs from Lake Tahoe at Tahoe City, California to Pyramid Lake near Nixon, Nevada. Rainbow, brown, Lahanton cutthroat, and mountain whitefish can be found in the river. Of these, only the Lahontan is native to the fishery. The Truckee River Recreation Map provides an activity guide to the river. The California sections of the Truckee River include upper (Lake Tahoe to Trout Creek), wild trout (Trout Creek to Prosser Creek) and lower (Prosser Creek to NV stateline). The Nevada sections of the Truckee River include west (CA state line to Steamboat Creek), east (Steamboat Creek to Derby Dam), and lower (Derby Dam to Pyramid Lake.
Lake Tahoe Tributaries
Many of the tributaries of the Lake Tahoe offer good fly fishing. These include:
Upper Truckee River - Rainbows, brookies, and Lahontan cutthroat can be found in the Upper Truckee River. During the spring, large rainbows come up from Lake Tahoe to spawn. LCTs can be found in the upper portions.
Taylor Creek is the outlet stream of Fallen Leaf Lake. The creek typically has nice runs of spawning kokanee in the fall, but you can also find rainbows and browns in the creek. The creek can be accessed from the US Forest Service Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Fallen Leaf Campground, and Cathedral Road, all off of Emerald Bay Road (CA 89).
Glen Alpine Creek, an inlet stream of Fallen Leaf Lake, offers brookie, rainbow, and brown trout fishing above the Glen Alpine trailhead at Lily Lake. Lahontan cutthroats can be found below Glen Alpine Falls.
Little Truckee River and its tributaries
The Little Truckee River section between Stampede and Boca reservoirs includes a wild trout water. The upper section (west of CA 89) is well stocked with rainbows. Browns can also be found here. Can be accessed off Henness Pass Road off of CA 89.
Independence Creek and Perazzo Creek, two tributaries of the upper section of Little Truckee River also offer good fishing. Also check out Sagehen Creek, which drains into Stampede Reservoir.
Steamboat Creek and its tributaries
Steamboat Creek is the outlet creek of Washoe Lake. Its confluence with the Truckee River is just east of Reno. Some of the streams within the streamboat drainage offer good fly fishing opportunities.
Franktown Creek is the outlet stream of Hobart Creek Reservoir. It drains into Washoe Lake. It offers mostly brookie fishing but tiger trout can occassionally be found in the creek near the reservoir. The upper portion is most easily accessed from Hobart Creek Reservoir (see below).
Galena Creek offers brookie and rainbow trout. The creek runs through the Galena Creek Regional Park. There are a number of other creeks in area you might also check out.
Walker River and its tributaries
The Walker River and tributaries take snowmelt from the eastern Sierra to disappearing Walker Lake near Hawthorne, Nevada. The East Walker and West Walker rivers form the main Walker River at their confluence near Yerington, Nevada in the Mason Valley. The West Walker runs wild from its headwaters on the slopes of Tower and Forsyth peaks down to Antelope Valley near Coleville, CA, where it is diverted into Lake Topaz. From Lake Topaz, it flows throw Hoyt Canyon to Smith Valley and then through Wilson Canyon to the Mason Valley. The East Walker originates in the Bridgeport Valley where it collects snowmelt from the eastern Sierras into Bridgeport Reservoir. From the reservior, it flows to northeast, where it divides the Sweetwater Mountains from the Bodie Hills.
East Walker River
East Walker River below Bridgeport Reservoir flows through the East Walker River Wildlife Area for 7 miles before crossing into Nevada. The mile immediately below Bridgeport Reservoir is known as "the miracle mile", as it can offer some great fly fishing. Unfortunately, the drought and fishing pressure on this section taken a toll on this section. But there's still some nice trophy fish in this mile... and the other six. Fish mid-week to avoid the pressure, check for decent stable flows.
In Nevada, the East Walker there are a number of publically accessible sections worth calling out: Rosaschi Ranch, the Elbow, Flying M Ranch, Rafter 7 Ranch, and Pitchfork Ranch.
Rosaschi Ranch is first publicly accessible land section downstream of the CA state line. It is accessible from NV 338 and Sweetwater Road (NF-028). Like the miracle mile, fishing pressure and the drought have taken its toll... but it is coming back. HSFC has adopted Rosaschi Ranch as its home water.
Rosachi Ranch is a wild trout area and is under special regulations (single barbless hooks, catch and release only). Rosachi Ranch is part of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. The remainder of East Walker in Nevada is covered by general regulations. Much of the river between Rosaschi Ranch and Yerington runs through the Walker River State Recreation Area (fees required in some areas).
The Elbow is just downstream of Rosaschi Ranch. It's regularly stocked with rainbows. The Elbow can be accessed using Sweetwater Road (NF-028).
Downstream of the Elbow is the Flying M Ranch. The river fishes reasoanbly well in this area. It can be accessed using various 4x4 roads in the area.
Rafter 7 Ranch and Pitchfork Ranch are futher downstream and are typically accessed using East Walker Road from the Mason Valley. Pitchfork Ranch is stocked with rainbows.
Tributaries of the East Walker River
Fishable creeks in the East Walker River drainage include Buckeye, Green, Robinson, Summers, Swauger, Sweetwater, Tamarack, and Virginia. So many choices. Generally, these creeks offers brookies in their upper portions and rainbows and browns in lower portions.
Buckeye Creek, accessible from Buckeye Road from either US 395 or Twin Lakes Road, has rainbows below Buckeye campground and brookies in the section above the Buckeye campground.
Swauger Creek parallels US 395 north of Bridgeport before draining into Buckeye creek near Bridgeport Reservoir.
Robinson Creek offers hatchery rainbows and wild browns in the public sections below Lower Twin Lake. Above Upper Twin is mostly brookies... except for spawning browns and kokanee in the fall.
Green Creek comes down from the Green Lake area and eventually into the East Walker in the Bridgeport Valley. It can be accessed from Green Creek Road and camping is available at the Green Creek Campground.
Virginia Creek comes down from Virginia Lakes to the east side of the valley and then it parallels US 395 south to Bridgeport.
The various tributaries of Summers Creek comes down Sierras, merging along the way, and eventually running into the East Walker River in the Bridgeport Valley. They are accessed from Summers Meadow Road (4x4 recommended).
Tamarack Creek runs from Monument Ridge to Tamarack Lake and then down to Lower Twin Lake. The creek and Tamarack lake offers some good brookie fishing and can be accessed from Upper Summer Meadow Road (4x4 recommended).
West Walker River
The West Walker River offers some great fly fishing opportunites. The headwaters, accessable from Leavitt Meadows Trailhead on CA 108, holds brookies. Downstream of confluence of Leavitt Creek, holds rainbow and brown trout fishing. Trophy-size rainbow trout can be found in the canyon section along US 395, from the confluence of the Little Walker River down to Mountain Gate Park, just upstream of the town of Walker.
In Nevada, rainbows are stocked in Wilson Canyon area between Smith and Mason valleys. Wild browns can also be found there.
Tributaries of the West Walker River
Little Walker River － Lower section (below Burt Canyon Trailhead) is stocked with rainbows. Wild brookies can be found at Willow Flat! Accessed off of US 395 and the Little Walker Road. Poison and Molybdenite creeks are good places to check out as well.
Leavitt Creek and its tributaries － Leavitt Creek orginates at Leavitt Lake up high in the eastern Sierra runs to its confluence with the West Walker at Leavitt Meadows. The lower portion can be accessed from CA 108 and the upper portion can from Leavitt Lake Road off of CA 108. Sardine Creek comes down from Sonora Pass area, it collects waters from McKay Creek near Sardine Falls, and then runs into Leavitt Creek. These creeks are generally regarded as brookie waters but rumor has it that golden trout may be found in the highest elevations.
Mill Creek and its tributaries － Mill Creek and its tributaries, including Lost Cannon Creek, take runoff from the eastern slopes of Lost Cannon, Fish Valley, and Antelope peaks down to West Walker River as it runs through Walker, California. The fisheries can be accessed using Mill Canyon Road off of US 395.
Slinkard Creek － This creek takes water from the Slinkard Valley to Lake Topaz and the West Walker River. A self-sustaining population of LCTs exists above the fish barrier in the Slinkard Valley. Access off of Boarshead Road trail off of CA 89.
Desert Creek － The outlet stream of Lobdell Lake, a small lake in the Sweetwater range feed by a diversion of Deep Creek. It is the home of the Nevada state record artic grayling! The creek no longer holds graylings but instead you can find rainbows, browns, brookies and tigers. This lower part of this section can be accessed using Desert Creek Road off of NV 338, while Risue Road, also off NV 338, can be used access to the upper part of this section. While one can drive between the lower and upper parts using Desert Creek road, there are multiple water crossings required. Desert Creek in California, which holds mostly brookies, can be accessed using various 4x4 roads in the area.
Local Fishing Ponds － There are a number of public fishing ponds in our area. These are regularly stocked with rainbows and occassionly other species. As these ponds are in developed public parks, they typically sport picnic areas and restrooms and do not require payment of a day-use fee. Public fishing ponds include:
Baily Pond at Fuji Park is located off of Clear Creek Road in Carson City.
Davis Creek Pond - This is a 2.5 acre pond created by enhancing what was a natural, shallow bottom pond on Davis Creek. It is situated in a wooded area of the Davis Creek Regional Park in Washoe Valley.
Marilyn's Pond at Galena Creek Regional Park located off of Mountain Rose Highway (NV 391).
Mitch Pond at Mitch Park is located off of Topaz Lane in Gardnerville Ranchos.
Seaman's Pond, located off of Buckeye Road in Minden. Park eminities are presently being constructed.
Wilson Commons Pond at Wilson Commons Park is located in the Washoe Valley.
You might hear or learn about various other ponds in area. Most of these are private ponds and hence require permission to access and fish.
Angora Lakes － a pair of alpine lakes above Fallen Leaf Lake which hold Lahontan cutthrout trout. The Alpine Lake Resort is located at the upper lake, stop by for some ice cold lemonade. Accessed using the Angora Lakes trail. Parking fee required.
Boca Reservoir － A reservoir on the Little Truckee River.
Bridgeport Reservoir - a 4000-acre reservoir (when full) near Bridgeport, CA. Holds plenty of rainbow and brown trout.
Burnside Lake － A small lake above Markleevillle. Lake is stocked with rainbows but also has plenty of small rough fish in it. Accessible by maintained dirt road from Pickett's Junction in Hope Valley. Rough camping is allowed.
Caples Lake － A 600-acre lake just over Carson Pass. Holds rainbows and mackinaw (lake trout).
Crater Lake － A small lake, less than 10-acres, perched above Hope Valley. Full of small brookies. Can be accessed from Alpine Mine Road, 4x4 road off of CA 88. Rough camping allowed.
Donner Lake － A deep lake known for large lake trout (aka Mackinaw) near Truckee, CA. You can also find rainbow and brown trout as well as kokanee there.
Eagle Lake (Lake Tahoe basin) － a nice alpine lake that holds brooke, rainbow, and brown trout. An easy one mile hike from Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe. To beat the crowds, go early... or go further up the trail to Azure Lake or Velma lakes.
Echo Lakes － This pair of alpine lakes holds Lahontan cutthroat, broke, and rainbow trout as well as Kokanee salmon. The Echo Chalet at the lower lake offers a grocery store and fountain, cabin and kayak rentals, and a public boat ramp. They also operate boat taxi service across both lakes. The north shore both lakes can be accessed using the Pacific Crest Trail from there.
Fallen Leaf Lake － A deep, glacier-formed lake that lies just south of Lake Tahoe. The lake holds Lahontan cutthroat (LCT), mackinaw, brown and rainbow trout as well as kokanee. LCT x rainbow hybrid trout are also present. The fishery is the subject of a LCT restoration project. It can be accessed from CA 89 using either Fall Leaf Road or Cathedral Road. Camping is available at Fallen Leaf Campground.
Granite Lake － Granite Lake is a nice mountain lake located on the western slope of the Sierra in the Mokelumne Wilderness. It holds Lahontan cutthroats and golden trout. It is accessed by a 2 mile hike from Upper Blue Lake dam.
Green Lake, East Lake, and West Lake － a set of high mountain lakes in the Hoover Wilderness. Green Lake is a 2.5 mile hike from the Green Lake trailhead, with East Lake and West Lake requiring an additional one mile of hiking. Access from Green Lake road off of US 395 near Bridgeport.
Heenan Lake － A 1,700-acre lake on the west side of Mono Pass. This is a wild trout water which provides broad stock for the Lahontan cutthroats. Best fished a float. Camping is available in nearby campgrounds.
Hobart Reservoir － A 10-acre lake above Carson City in the Spooner Backcountry of the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, accessible by a rough dirt road and a short hike or, alternatively by a 5 mile hike (or mountain bike ride). Anglers can readily catch wild brookies here, as well as stocked rainbows and tigers. Bowcutts may also be found. Can be fished from shore (waders recommended) or float tube. Camp sites are available (walk-in only).
Independence Lake － An alpine lake 20 miles north of Truckee which outflows into Independence creek, a tributary of the Little Truckee River. The lake holds Lahontan Cutthroat trout and a varient of other salmonids. The lake is situated on the Independence Lake Preserve, which is owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy. Before visiting the preserve, one become familar with preservation's angling and other regulations.
Indian Creek Reservoir － A 160-acre sized lake near the Markleeville airport. Generally stocked with rainbows but occasionally Lahontan cutthroats are planted as well. Browns also exist in the lake. Generally best fished a float. Camping is available. Access from Airport Rd. off of Alpine State Highway (CA 89).
Kinney Lakes － Kinney Lakes are located just north of Ebbetts Pass. Kinney Reservoir has rainbows and brookies and is regularly stocked. Due to CA 4 running by the lake, it gets a fair amount of fishing pressure. For this reason, it's recommended you walk the mile into Lower Kinney or Upper Kinney lakes. Here you'll find some nice sized bowcutts in the lower lake. These lakes are best fished from a float. Camping options are available in the area.
Kirman Lake － a small lake in the West Walker drainage. Holds Lahanton cutthroat and brook trout. Accessible by trailhead on CA 108 just west of US 395. A 3-mile hike/bike.
Lahontan Reservoir － a 10,600-acre, 17-mile long lake located along the Carson River near Silver Springs, NV. The lake holds various species of bass and catfish, but also walleye and crappie. A number of Nevada state record fish were caught on this lake. Located within the Lahontan State Recreation Area (fee required).
Leavitt Lake － a 58-arce alpine lake located a few miles south of Sonora Pass. Holds rainbows (reportedly Kamloops) and brookies. Ski Lake, a small lake east of Leavitt Lake, holds California golden trout. Leavitt Lake can be accessed by Leavitt Lake road, a 4x4 road off of CA 108, when open (typically open only a few months in the late summer and early fall). Ski Lake can be accessed from the Ski Lake trailhead on Leavitt Lake road (1/2 mile hike).
Lily Lake － A small lake above Fallen Leaf Lake. Accessed from Glen Alpine Road off of Fallen Leaf Road. Or head up the trail a couple of miles to Grass Lake.
Lobdell Lake － A lake in the sweetwater range feed by Deep Creek. While it is the home of the California grayling record fish, today you won't find any. The lake now holds brook trout. Access is from Burcham Flat Road off of US 395 by 4x4. Dispersed camping allowed.
Lost Lakes － A pair of lakes which are the headwaters of the West Carson River. accessible from the Red Lake or Blue Lakes using Forestdale Road. 4x4 recommended. Dispersed camping allowed.
Marlette Lake － A 380-acre lake in the Tahoe range. Only accessible by hike or bike. Contains brookies, rainbows, and lahontan cutthroats. Camping is available at nearby Marklette Peak Campground (walk-in only).
Mason Valley Ponds － Ponds within the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area are stocked with a wide range of fish species, including rainbows, bowcutts, and bass. Ponds may be fished from shore or a float. The nearby Fort Churchill cooling ponds offer good bank fishing (no wading or water crafts allowed). Camping available. Lodging and services available in nearby Yerington.
Prosser Creek Reservoir － has nice populations of wild brown and stocked rainbow trout. Located just northeast of Truckee.
Pyramid Lake － The place to go for trophy-sized Lahontan cutthroats! Cui-ui are also plentiful in the lake (must be immediately released). Can be fished from shore, on a ladder, or a float. Camping and lodging available. Requires permit (state license not required).
Red Lake － A small lake just below Carson Pass located in the Red Lake Wildlife Area. Stocked with rainbows. Access from CA 88.
Scott's Lake － A small lake above Hope Valley. Accessible by 4x4 road from CA 88.
Spooner Lake － A 75-acre lake up above Carson City in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. Stocked with rainbows, tigers, and bowcutts, but you also find plenty of Lahontan tui chub. Can be fished from shore or a float. A state park fee payment is required.
Stampede Reservoir - A reservoir on the Little Truckee River.
Sunset Lakes, Summit Lake, Tamarack Lake, and more － Accessible from Sunset Lakes Road off of Blue Lakes Road. Dispersed camping allowed.
Lake Tahoe － Not normally thought of for fly fishing but can fish well from a float tube, especially in areas that are frequently stocked, such as the Cave Rock area. Camping and lodging is available.
Twin Lakes － A pair of lakes above Bridgeport, CA. Stocked with rainbows but also home of the California state record brown trout. Best fished a float. Kokanee and browns from the lake can be spotted in Robison creek each fall during the spawn. Camping and lodging is available.
Virginia Lakes － A nice group of small lakes above Bridgeport and Lee Vining, CA. The lower lakes are well stocked with rainbows. Some nice brookies can be found in back country lakes. Float tube recommended where accessibility permits. Launching fee required at lower Virginia Lake, as are waders. Camping and lodging is available in the area.
Washoe lake － a warm water fishery viewable from I-580 when crossing the Washoe Valley between Carson City and Reno. You'll find white and striped bass, bullhead and channel catfish, crappie and Sacramento perch in this lake. The Washoe Lake State Park, located along the southeast shore, offers picnicing and camping emimities, as well as a public boat ramp.