Walker River - East Fork
Map of Walker River - East Fork
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The East Walker River in Nevada flows through
Lyon County originating along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada
(California). Bridgeport Reservoir,
seven miles upstream of the NV-CA border, stores water for irrigation needs in
Nevada. Historically, cutthroat trout
migrated 140 miles from Walker Lake to the headwaters. A low water supply, poor habitat, poor water
quality, and barriers (dams) have eliminated any chance of these fish from
currently migrating and spawning in the headwaters.
Approximately 38 percent of the East Walker River flows through BLM and Forest Service lands and 62 percent of the Nevada portion has public access. Upstream access begins at Rosaschi Ranch, which is most popular for fly- and lure fishing. Rainbow and brown trout and mountain whitefish spawn naturally and populations are the highest compared to those downstream. Just downstream is the Elbow, which is stocked with rainbow trout. Its habitat is also suitable for natural trout spawning, and fly- and bait fishing are popular. Other common fishing sites include Raccoon Beach and Zanis, but these have access that is more difficult to reach. Irrigation generally begins in April and ends in October and flows reach between 200 to 500 cubic feet per second (cfs), making it difficult to wade. Winter flow ranges between 20 and 50 cfs and fishing becomes easier. The East Walker River is classified as non-navigable, meaning that the river passing through private property is also private property.
There are no special boating regulations on the East Walker River. Rafters do fish the river occasionally, but remember you must gain prior permission from private landowners to trespass. Additionally, barbed-wire fences cross the river at property boundaries and extreme caution must be used.
From Wellington on Hwy 208, travel south on the Wellington Cutoff to Hwy 338. Continue south on Hwy 338 for about 23.5 miles, turning east on Sweetwater Road. This is a County maintained dirt road and about the first 3-miles is Rosaschi Ranch. Many anglers park near the County Bridge within 1.5 miles of Highway 338 turnoff. From this bridge, continue east about 4-miles to reach the Elbow, directly adjacent to the road. From the Elbow, travel about 9.5 miles east to a major 4-way intersection. Turn north (towards Yerington) and travel about 7.5 miles to Raccoon Beach’s turnoff; access to the river is about 5.5 miles and 4-wheel drive is recommended. On the main road at the Raccoon Beach turnoff, continue north to Zanis’ turnoff within 6.5 miles; the river is within 2.5 miles and 4-wheel drive is recommended. There are absolutely no facilities once you leave Wellington, so be prepared for anything.