EAST WALKER RIVER
East Walker River
Updated - 1/18/20
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Current River Conditions: 20 CFS and clear.Between November 15 and the last Saturday in April 2020 the CDFW regulations require that all fish be returned into river. For detailed regulations click here: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations
(scroll down for link to real-time flows)
Fishing-Fair: River is at a trickle and the fish are hunkered down and very lethargic. That being said, with water so low fish are concentrated in the deaper holes so with a little exploring you should be able to find them. Rosacshi Ranch on the Nevada side will have warmer water throughout the winter months so give it a try.
No new reports
Here are some good flies for these lakes: Try buggers, matukas, balanced leeches, mini leeches, stillwater nymphs, soft hackles and prince nymphs.
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.
Contact us if you would like to hook up with one of our guides who will show you how to fish the East Walker. The US Forest Service has given only three permits to guide on Rosaschi Ranch in Nevada, so it's a good idea to make sure your guide is legal before you fork over any fees. Our guides have permits.
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.