Rewarding fishing can be found up and down Carson Pass. For casual anglers and dedicated fishermen alike, the popular lakes such as Silver Lake and Caples Lake can provide days of excellent fishing. Those seeking a little more adventure try places such as Blue Lakes or Tiger Creek Afterbay.
Fly fishermen do well on the lakes and also on many of the streams and rivers. The West Carson River running through Hope Valley is well known as a great destination for fly fishing.
Lower Bear River Reservoir is a great trout fishery with brown trout and mackinaws. Some Kamloops Junction rainbow trout, released in the upper reservoir, have found their way into the lower lake. The Bear River Lake Resort stocks the lake with trophy-size rainbows. The 727-acre lake is at 5,800 feet, just a few miles off Highway 88, 40 miles east of Jackson.
Most fishermen would say the lake is at its best in the spring and fall. Anglers do well both from boat and shore. From shore, try fishing the mouths of the rivers, especially in Little Bear River Cove by the resort. Trollers like to work the lake in the 20 to 60 foot range.
Popular Baits and Lures: Rapalas, Flatfish, Hum-dingers, J-Plugs, Wedding Rings, worms trolled behind flashers or dodgers
Silver Lake is another popular fishing lake on Carson Pass. Anglers will catch brown, rainbow, and mackinaw trout there. A record 22 pound mackinaw was pulled from the lake in 2002. The lake rests at an elevation of 7,300 feet, 52 miles east of Jackson on Highway 88. Silver Lake is another of those lakes where the catch from shore is as good as from a boat. Shore fishermen favor Ferguson Point, Sandy Cove, and the inlet at the southern end of the lake. Trollers like working north of Treasure Island and along the west shore.
Silver Lake is operated by the El Dorado Irrigation District. They charge a day-use fee for their boat ramp and their day-use areas there, Sandy Cove and Ferguson Point. Day use fees are $10 per vehicle and $10 per boat launch. The same pass is also good at Caples Lake and Sly Park. To apply for an annual pass, see EID Annual Day Use Permit Application. Alternative launch sites are at the Kit Carson Lodge and Plasse's Resort.
Popular Baits and Lures: PowerBait, Hum-dingers, Panther Martins, Wedding Rings, Nightcrawlers, Rapalas, Flatfish
Caples Lake is home to Mackinaw trout, brown, brook and rainbows. The lake is 59 miles east of Jackson at an elevation of 7,800 feet. It has 600 surface acres. Boats are limited to 5 MPH. As with its neighbor lakes, fishing is good from both shore and boat. Shore anglers usually do well at creek inlets, and near the dam and spillway.
Caples Lake launch ramp on the east shore is operated by the El Dorado Irrigation District. They charge a day-use fee for the new boat ramp and the parking area on the east shore. Day use fees are $10 per vehicle and $10 per boat launch. The same pass is also good at Silver Lake and Sly Park. To apply for an annual pass, see EID Annual Day Use Permit Application.
Popular Baits and Lures: Kastmasters, Rebels, Minnow imitations, PowerBait, J-Plugs, Rapalas, salmon eggs
Blue Lakes are tucked away 12 miles off the main highway and so are overlooked by some anglers. The road to the lakes departs from Highway 88 in Hope Valley. The lakes are about 8,000' in elevation and often don't clear of snow until mid-summer.
Both Upper and Lower Blue lakes have rainbow, Lahontan cutthroat, and brook trout. With steep drop-offs from the shore, fishing from the banks is especially good at these lakes.
Popular Baits and Lures: Power Bait, Salmon Eggs, Spinners, Panther Martins, Super Dupers
Immediately on the east side of Carson Pass is Red Lake. The lake is part of the Red Lake Wildlife Area. No camping is allowed there. Fishing and non-motorized boating are allowed. The 860-acre lake contains brook trout and some Lahontan cutthroats.
Map of Red Lake Wildlife Area
Shore anglers and those in float tubes do well here. Some of the best shore fishing spots require working your way around the lake.
Popular Baits and Lures: Kastmasters, Power Bait, Salmon Eggs, Nightcrawlers, Spinners, Panther Martins
Facilities: Parking lot
Tiger Creek Afterbay, also known as Tiger Creek Reservoir, doesn't allow any swimming or float tubes, but it is a good place to fish for rainbow trout. To reach the afterbay head east on Highway 88 from Jackson for 18 miles and then turn onto Tiger Creek Powerhouse Road. It's 2½ miles to the lake. The elevation is 2,400 feet.
Popular Baits and Lures: Mepps, Kastmasters, Power Bait, Salmon Eggs, Nightcrawlers, Spinners, Panther Martins
Facilities: Picnic area with two tables and a vault toilet
A number of smaller lakes along Carson Pass are accessible for car-top launching of small, non-motorized craft. Among these lakes are Kirkwood Lake, Woods Lake, and Twin Lake. For more about Kirkwood Lake and Woods Lake, see Caples Lake Area Camping.
Twin Lake is one mile west of Lower Blue Lake on a rough gravel road. Again, car-top launched non-motorized boats can be used there.
Activities: Fishing, non-motorized boating
Lodging: Kirkwood Campground, Woods Lake Campground, Lower Blue Lake Campground