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A Closer Look: West Walker River, Pickle Meadows

By: Tom Loe
Sierra Drifters

Techniques Index

This is a classic freestone small river that runs unchecked and emanates from the upper sections of the Emigrant wilderness and ultimately ends up as a tributary into Walker Lake in Nevada. It is full of riffles, has a lot of large boulders and pools and is very open and accessible in the area I am describing.

You can access this area by turning off Hwy.395, about 15 miles north of Bridgeport, Ca. onto Hwy. 108, Sonora Pass Road. Head 4 miles south until you reach the Marine Corps Winter Training Facility. Use this as a marker for your next turn. Go one mile further and you will see a sign on the east or left side of the road that says Pickle Meadow Wildlife area and trout habitat. Turn here and continue a short distance until you reach a large dirt parking area. A short walk from the parking area, it will be obvious where the river is located, will lead you to a large meadow section with the Walker running north back towards the Marine base. Fish downstream of the parking area. This is Pickle Meadow.

You will find many trout, as well as a few whitefish in this section. I have caught brook, rainbow, and browns as well as a few small whitefish on dry flies here. Use a large dry and a bead head caddis, or bird's nest as a dropper.

Wading and casting are easy here, wet wading can be a little cool, this is a freestone creek, and it is fed by snowmelt. This is a great place for kids when the runoff has subsided. These fish are very opportunistic and will hit pretty much anything that floats if properly presented. The fish are on the small side with average length being about 8". Browns are more prevalent. Use a 3 or 4 wt. Depending on the wind. Mornings are better if you have a dislike of the breeze while casting. It is predominantly from the west.

Crowds can be moderate, but there is a lot of area here to fish. Walk a bit from the parking area and you can have the entire place to yourself.

Be the fly...Tom Loe

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