Sunday, July 15, 2012


When the summer heat hits the valley, many of the Sierra’s lakes and river’s water levels are in flux due to the electrical and water needs of the farmer and city dwellers.

    This makes fishing a little more difficult, as well as unpredictable, below the dams. It is time to head to a river or stream that has a consistent flow and is not going up and down like a yoyo.

    The river that was selected was the East Carson River near Markleeville CA (elevation 5500 feet; population 165) due to its higher elevation (cooler water) and it's consistent flow.

    The East Carson River above Hangman’s Bridge (where highway 4 crosses the river) is heavily planted with fish over nine pounds. You may keep the fish that you catch in this area. Be sure to checkout the Carson River Resort’s website click here, as they have photos of what lurks in one of the most beautiful and accessible water sheds in California. The resort has camping and good prices on tackle and they are always willing to send you in the right direction.

    Fishing below Hangman’s Bridge to the Nevada State Line is a catch and release with artificial barb-less hooks only.

    My family and I geared up for our annual camping trip that celebrates my son’s birthday. We have made it a tradition with another family from the Bay Area to camp at Grover Hot Springs. Our families like the hot and cold spring pools, as well as the hot showers that many campgrounds do not have.

    While sitting around the campfire, my son and I discussed his birthday fishing game plan. It was his day, and he chose to spend his it in the catch and release area. He received a new rod and reel, a spool of four pound test line and an assortment of hard baits that he wanted to put into action.

    We accessed the river below the Alpine County Airport, if you look close and have a 4x4 you will find a dirt road that takes you to the river well below the bridge. Beware; if there is any rain in the forecast do not use this road because it will become very muddy and not drivable. The further you get away from easy access points, the better the fishing will be.

    The fishing was tough as I spent the day helping my son in this rugged country and in hindsight I should have encouraged a morning of casting above Hangman's bridge. We were unable to move as fast or as far as I wanted to. The best fishing hole I have found in my 15 or so times on the E. Carson is downstream of the airport access. You will need to cross the river and hike downstream (tough hike) for about two miles. There you will find a deep hole that cuts into a granite face. Once you get there, fish the riffle above the hole early and late in the day, and the hole itself when the sun hits the river. It was disappointing that I was unable to fish my favorite spot, but spending the day with my son on his birthday made it all worth while.

    I did catch a 17 inch rainbow on a Brown Trout pattern streamer in a cut bank at first light and the birthday boy got shutout.

    We did venture away from camp for a meal at Wolf Creek Restaurant Fine Food and Spirits click here which is a must when in this remote area.

The Markleeville General Store 530 694-2448 has everything you will need while camping in the area.

    The fishing could have been better but I know the fish will always be there for me. My fishing buddy may not. The highlight of the day was not that colorful East Carson Bow, it was walking the rock-riddled trail holding hands with my birthday boy.

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