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Updated - 9/24/23

Scroll down to links for information about Lodging,
Maps and up to the minute Stream Flows.

Current River Conditions: Flows 45 CFS  and clear. 

Fishing is Good: Todd at the Creekside Lodge in Markleeville reports that the river will be planted by the county in the next two weeks.  As soon as that happens we'll let you know.  We should have more informatio on Wednesday.  The river is very low so the best fishing will be found in the canyon downstream from Sorensons.  Most of the fish are in sections away from the bridges.  Best bugs to fish are dry flies such as Parachute Adams, Hoppers, Elk Hair Caddis and Ants.  For nymphs, fish bright olive and rusty Perdigon style flies.  Red Copper Johns and worm patterns work too. In the deeper holes try a Woolybugger with a midg attached to a dropper. 


Click here to go to our Fly Catalog

Dry Flies:

Parachute Adams #14 & #16, Split Wing Adams #14 & #16, Yellow Humpy #16, Elk Hair Caddis #14, Royal Wulff #16, Parachute Ant #14, Dave's Hopper #10, Fat Albert #10. Irrisistable #14. 


Pheasant Tail #12, #14 & #16, Hot Bead San Juan Worm/pink, Kiene's Golden Brown Stone Nymph #10, & #12, Copper John/red or copper #14, #16, Prince Nymph (various sizes), Wooly Bugger/rusty, black, Glow Bug/red, Squirmy Wormy/red, pink and brown, Liz's Tequila Twist.

See Hatch Chart at bottom of the page

              LODGING                 Markleeville, CA
Get what you need
before you go at
Kiene's Fly Shop
About the West Carson River


Of the two Carson’s, the West Carson has the most diverse water.  It begins as spring water collecting in the high mountain meadows just east of the Pacific Crest and works its way down slope varying between freestone and meadow stream until it reaches the Carson Valley in Nevada.  In its upper reaches it is no more than a creek, and after it is joined by a few tributary creeks, it becomes, for all practical purposes, a larger creek.   Because it runs right along Blue Lakes Rd, and Hwy 88 it get regular plants.

From the headwater meadows it becomes freestone pocket water for about five miles until it reaches Hope Valley, where it becomes a serpentine meadow stream again.  Downstream from Hope Valley the river descends into a canyon and tumbles over boulders into deep pools.  This section is heavily planted at the bridges.  Most of Hope Valley is conservancy land which means that there is lots of public access. 

Two creeks are tributaries to the river in the Hope Valley section.  One is Red’s Lake Creek which flows of, you guessed it, Red’s Lake, which is located at the western end of the valley.  The other is Willow Creek which flows out the north side of the valley and Parallels Hwy 89 for a few miles.  Red’s Lake Creek flows for several miles through Hope Valley and though it gets lots of pressure near where it crosses under Hwy 88, there is a long section in the meadow that sees few fishermen.  Be prepared for a good walk to get to productive water, but if like fishing meadow streams it’s worth it.

In most normal precipitation years the West Carson is usually in good fishing shape by the end of June and fishes well through the beginning of August when the water temps rise.  About the middle of September the fishing improves though the water can get pretty skinny.

The West Carson is one of the prettiest meadow streams that can be accessed by vehicle for most of its length.  One day on the river with one of our guides, will teach you everything you need to know so that every return trip will be successful.


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