Map of Walker Lake
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Walker Lake is a terminal lake (lake with no outlet) that is fed by the Walker River. It is a remnant of ancient Lake Lahontan that once covered most of the Great Basin. Since the early 1950’s, the Lahontan cutthroat trout (LCT) fishery in Walker Lake has been maintained only through stocking. Fresh water has a TDS of less than 1,000 mg/L while TDS in Walker Lake now exceeds 19,000 mg/L. This TDS (high alkalinity and salt) affects the ability of LCT to survive and they die quickly when stocked directly from fresh water into Walker Lake. The current TDS appears to have possibly exceeded the tolerance level for LCT to survive at all in the lake. Several other native species once existed in Walker Lake, but tui chub is now the only species that is able to survive at the current TDS.
Walker Lake is approximately 12.7 miles long and 5 miles wide, with a maximum depth of about 83 feet (2011). The only fish remaining in the lake are Lahontan tui chub. Under ideal environmental conditions, LCT can live up to 9 years and achieve weights greater than 10 pounds. In Walker Lake, however, the high TDS has reached the lethal limits for LCT survival. No LCT have been reported by anglers or during sampling surveys since winter of 2010. Camping - Improved (BLM’s Sportsman’s Beach) and primitive camping are available at the lake.
No LCT have been stocked since 2008 and none will be stocked in 2012.
Season is open year round, any hour of the day or night. Daily and possession limit is 5 trout. Fishing is not permitted within a 100-yard radius of the Rose Creek inflow. There are no restrictions on tackle; however, live minnows must be obtained from within the Walker River drainage.
At Walker Lake State Recreation Area and in all boat harbors and other public areas, boats must be operated at a speed that leaves a flat wake. No boating is allowed within a 100-yard radius of the Rose Creek confluence on the southwest side of the lake. No boating is allowed on the south end of Walker Lake that is buoyed-off by the Hawthorne Army Depot. The lake level is low enough to where boat ramps are considered primitive and not maintained, use of 4-wheel drive is recommended. Launch at your own risk.
Walker Lake is 55 miles south of Fallon along U.S. 95. The lake lies 12 miles north of the town of Hawthorne. Access from the west is on U.S. 95A, 50 miles Southeast of Yerington. Access roads can be sandy, so use caution.