East Walker River
WEST SLOPE NORTHERN SIERRA
North Yuba River
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Updated - 5/23/22
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of the area, and up to the minute Stream Flows
Current River Conditions: 117 CFS.
Fishing Report-Fair: Ken's Sport Center reports that fishing has been kind of tough. Flows have increased to normal for this time of the year. Most of the fish are going to be in the riffles. Skulpzillas/white, and any dark (with a little white underbelly) sculpin looking patterns can be deadly stripped along undercut banks otherwise small midge patterns will do the trick as usual. Dry fly midge patterns are a good call along the seams. Fishermen who are nymph fishing are beginning to get fish with Caddis larva patterns in addition to the usual midges. Not a bad idea to tie on a size #16 yellow Stone pattern as the Little Yellow Sallies are probably starting to move around a little prior to their hatch next month.
Fishing-Good: Ice is really breaking up and there is now lots of open water.
Generally Recommended Patterns
Patterns to try: copper john, micro mayfly, micro stone, flashback emerger,
San Juan worm, Zebra Midge (black or red), WD 40s, Mini Leech, Seal bugger, Z-wing Caddis, Pheasant Tail #18,LaFontaines sparkle pupa, Bubble Caddis, Fox’s poopah, Dali Lama, San juan worm, squirmy wormy, Vinci's Depth Charge Bird's Nests in, Black and Natural #18, and various midge pattterns in size #20, Prince Nymph (various sizes).
Nevada fishing licenses can be purchased at Ken's Sporting Goods in Bridgeport, the General Store in Topaz (next to the casino) or at the Ace Hardware in Gardnerville.
About the East Walker River
When you take in consideration the size, quantity of fish, accessibility to the water and the beauty of the surroundings, the East Walker may be one of the best trout waters in California. It passes through the town of Bridgeport which is located about 85 miles south of Lake Tahoe on Hwy 395 that runs along the east slope of the Sierra.
It’s formed by the conjunction of Green Creek and Robinson Creek that flow off of the east slope of the Sierra and meet in Bridgeport Valley. The river flow is also enhanced by numerous springs. After passing through the valley it flows into Bridgeport Lake.
At the outlet of the lake it begins flowing through a canyon and is paralleled by Hwy 182 to just past the California/Nevada border. It’s the section between the lake and the California/Nevada border that offers the fishing that has made the California portion of the East Walker famous.
After passing into Nevada the gradient decreases and the river meanders through the desert for several miles until it merges with the West Walker near Yerington, Nevada and eventually flows into Walker Lake. The first ten miles of the Nevada section can have some excellent fishing particularly in the spring when the waters are warmer than they are upstream in the Bridgeport area.
The first mile of the river between the dam and the Hwy 180 bridge crossing, is known as the miracle mile. The water characteristics are predominately deep pools (close to the dam) and long runs and flats. Some of the largest fish come out of the pools and the flats which are most productive for dry fly fishermen in the evenings. Access is good in this section as there are a few dirt roads that will take you near the water’s edge.
The water downstream from the Hwy 180 bridge takes on more of a freestone characteristic though the gradient is still relatively gradual. There you will find both deep runs and areas with protruding rocks that create currents that define holding lies for the fish. There are turnouts all along this eight mile section where you can park and access the water.
Being that it is a tailwater, a significant volume of the bugs in the water are derived from Bridgeport Lake meaning that chironomidges (midges) are very plentiful. The other common aquatic bugs are Golden Stoneflies (May & June), Little Yellow Stones (June & July), Caddis (June through early September), Pale Morning Duns and Pale Evening Duns (late June through July), Blue Wing Olive/baetis (spring and fall). Midges/chironomidges (all year) and Hoppers (July, August & September).
The time of the year can be important when fishing the East Walker. Though water can get low and warmer later in the summer, fish from the more placid Nevada section of the river often move up into the more freestone and oxygenated California section. In the winter the fish are more likely to be in the deeper and slower sections. Flows can be very low in the winter and spring but once agriculture gets going in Nevada, water flows are increased to fit that need.