WEST CARSON RIVER
North Yuba River
VALLEY TAIL WATERS
Updated - 4/8/20
Scroll down for information about Lodging,
Maps and up to the minute stream flows.
Current River Conditions: 94 cfs
Fishing is fair: The river is now open year-round. See below for details:
Last Saturday in April (4/24/21 this year) to November 15: 5 fish limit
November 16 to Last Saturday in April (2022): Catch & Release and barbless hooks only.
Alpine County will plant fish during the week before the opener, and the week before Memorial Day. CDFW will also plant prior to the opener plus other times during the summer.
Generally Recommended Patterns
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.
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.