NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

West Fork- Carson River- near Kirkwood & South Lake Tahoe

Sponsored by Sorensen's Resort, Hope Valley

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Description: This is a beautiful area. If the fish aren't biting you're still better off than most of your peers sitting home on the couch. This smallish stream meanders through a lightly forested area and thence to a pretty valley with surrounding meadow that could have been the site of scenes from the film "A River Runs through It." I might have seen Robert Redford wetting a line. The river is stocked with rainbow trout. But if the fish aren't cooperating, there are plenty of other options in the area. Check our links for Blue Lakes and Silver Lake for starters. South Lake Tahoe is 1/2 hour away. The Hope Valley area is where most of the rainbow stocks occur. If you want to fish in luxury, consider a stay at Sorensen's Resort right in Hope Valley. Choices include cabins, RV sites with hook-ups, tent and normal RV sites, real houses and even a restored classic trailer, circa 1947. Amenities include a fly fishing school and enough activities to amuse the most jaded traveler; or inept angler.

But hold on. If you stay on Hwy. 88 across Carson Pass, turn right at the intersection with Hwy. 89/Hwy. 4 and pass the hamlet of Markleeville you will soon come to the East Fork of the Carson River. In this area the river is very robust. So take your pick, or take the path of least resistance and do both.

Location: From Stockton, take Hwy. 88 east toward Carson Pass. A nice place to camp would be Hope Valley Campground; the river runs through it. Or continue on toward the junction with Hwy.89, where the river is easily accessible.

Camp:  in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Kit Carson Campground: 12 sites for tents or RV's to 22 feet. Picnic tables, fire grills, drinking water and pit toilets. Reservations are not accepted. Open late-May thru mid-September, weather permitting. Snowshoe Springs Campground: 19 sites for tents or RV's to 16 feet. Picnic tables, fire grills, drinking water and pit toilets. Reservations are not accepted. Open late May thru mid-September. Crystal Springs Campground: 20 sites for tents or RV's to 22 feet. Picnic tables, fire grills, drinking water and pit toilets. Hope Valley Campground: 20 sites for tents or RV's to 22 feet. 1 group site for up to 16 people. Picnic tables, fire grills, drinking water and pit toilets. Reservations accepted for individual sites at 877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov. Grover Hot Springs State Park is also within driving range of the river.

Fly fishermanBait fisherman

Left: Fly fisherman. Center: Bait fisherman. Right: No fisherman.

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