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Carson River

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Carson River

The Carson River runs approximately 150 miles from its headwaters in Alpine County in the northern Sierras to where it terminates in the Carson Sink in northwestern Nevada. This watershed is nearly 4,000 square miles.The East Fork starts in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness and the West Fork’s headwaters begin near Carson Pass. The two forks join in northwestern Nevada, east of Lake Tahoe.The East Fork was designated an Aquatic Diversity Area because it contains 8 types of native fish species. Along with the native Lahontan cutthroat trout, you can also find wild populations of brook, rainbow and brown trout.

The stretch of the East Carson River that many fly fish is from Hangman’s Bridge on Hwy 89 downstream 11 miles to the Nevada boarder. As it flows northeast it heads out into the middle of nowhere, so finding solitude is not a hard thing to do. Trout here can run 15 to 20 inches, with some specimens going over 24, making this a favorite place for many fly fisherman. You can also drive into the Indian Creek Reservoir and airport access, and then take the trail 1.5 miles down to the river. This puts you a few miles downstream from Hangman’s Bridge and right in some remote trophy water. This hike isn't for the faint of heart, so you need to take it easy or be in tip top shape.
The West Fork of the Carson River starts as a small tributary near Upper Blue Lake and flows northward through the Hope Valley for about 25 miles until it hits the State of Nevada. You can access the river out of Hope Valley through Blue Lake Road from Hwy 88. The river has lots of deep pools with plenty of riffle water to keep anglers of all skill levels entertained. Most of the fish in this section are rainbows in the 8-10 inch class, but occasionally some larger Browns are caught here. Below Hope Valley, the river becomes larger and more heavily fished for the 7 miles leading in to the town of Woodfords. This section of the river is heavily stocked and flows through the West Carson Canyon with riffles, runs, and lots of pocket water. The larger pools tend to hold the planted trout, while the runs and pocket waters will hold the wild rainbows and browns. Out of Woodfords access is restricted due to private property but some access is available from Carson River Road which follows the river east of Hwy 88 towards the Nevada Border. Flows range from 25 to 250 cfs. The best fishing flows here are 50-150 cfs.