West Fork Carson River

Located in Alpine County and running parallel to Highway 88 for most of its duration, the West Fork of the Carson River is a classic high mountain fishery with ample access and fishing opportunities for all levels of fly fisherman.

Although mostly known as a “put and take” fishery due to its popularity and location right next to a highway, the West Fork is also heavily stocked by both the DFG and Alpine County Chamber of Commerce. For those willing to get off the beaten path a little, finding wild fish is not a major task. This makes for a fun little fishery with plenty action for both stocked and wild fish. The West Fork of the Carson is a great place to learn fly fishing on your first guide trip or just tune your skills.

The junction of Hwy 88 and hwy 89 north is known as Pickets Junction. This is the decision point. The water to the west, upriver, is classic meadow fishing. Slow meandering turns with deep undercut banks and fast riffles. Long leaders and stealth approach are a must. Some larger fish can be taken in the meadow stretches but you will work for them. Also at Pickets junction is a DFG funded handicap fishing access point with paved walkways, cement platforms and bathrooms. The water to the East of Pickets Junction, downriver, is completely different. Here the water becomes much faster as it falls through Woodfords Canyon and becomes a collection of pocket water, plunge pools and broken runs. Fish the deep pools for the stocked fish and the small pockets and boulders for the wild fish. Fish all types of water and wade with caution as some areas have large boulders.

The West Fork has good hatches during the season and can be fished most of the year with a dry dropper rig. Expect to catch wild and stocked Rainbow, Brown, Brooke and Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. Most fish will be in the 8”–12” range but larger fish can be found. Stop by the Fly Shop or call us for up to date flow and fishing information.

Flow Reports

W Fk Carson Rv at Woodfords, CA

  • Flow: 22.4 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 9.81 ft


River Access

Near Picketts Junction