Your gateway to the best fly fishing that California has to offer                                                                                                             
photo by Greg Vinci

the California Department of Fish & Game and by Mono County under the premise that if you plant plenty of fish the fishermen will come and enrich the coffers of local businesses.  They even plant some of the legendary huge Alpers Trout which are raised at a private hatchery near Mammoth Lakes.  Hold over hatchery fish take on the characteristics of wild trout and can be very challenging, but the large numbers of hatchery fish that are planted each year mean that you rarely go home empty handed. 

  Being that you are targeting mostly hatchery fish, attractor patterns are all it takes here.  Adams, ants, elk hair caddis, and Royal Wulff’s do for dries, and Pheasant Tails, Bird’s Nests and Hare’s Ear nymphs work for those going deep.  Peter Bauer, a long time local fly fisherman and former owner of the Angler’s Edge Fly Shop just up the road in Gardnerville, NV, says that if worst comes to worst, try a yellow tail olive bead head Woolly Bugger swung through the seams.  I personally witnessed Peter catch and land a 22” wild Rainbow on this fly.

  Should you want to stay overnight,  A couple of campgrounds are located along thestretch that parallels Hwy 395, and food and lodging can be found in the town of Walker.During the summer months make sure to stop in at the Walker Burger, for one of the bestburgers on Hwy 395.  The West Walker drains one of the snowiest sections of the Sierra,so it sometimes stays in run-off until the middle of July.   If traveling south, fishing information and supplies can be found at the Angler’s Edge in Gardnerville (775)782-4734.  If traveling north, stop at Ken’s Sporting Goods in Bridgeport, CA (760)932-7707.  You pass right by them both on Hwy 305.

  For me personally, the West Walker is my secret (desperation) spot that I make a point to fish on my way home in northern California from the more challenging Mammoth area.  On those trips when Hot Creek totally kicks my but, I know that if I stop for an hour or so on the West Walker I will at last have the chance to feel a trout tugging at the end of my line.