West Fork Carson
From Sacramento Drive east on U.S. 50 to the junction with Highway 89. Turn south on Highway 89 and drive over Luther Pass to the junction with Highway 88. Turn left and drive to Woodfords and access West Fork of Carson from any of several turn-outs. Turn right and drive to Hope Valley and access from Hwy 88 Bridge or road into Hope Valley Campground.
West Fork Carson River
From Woodfords the river flows through the West Carson Canyon and is paralleled by Highways 88. The high gradient of this segment creates a fast flowing boulder strewn stream. Below Hope Valley Resort the river plunges over a cascade that may be a barrier to upstream fish migration (CAF&G 2004b).
CDFW surveyed the upper West Fork during the timeframe of 1983 to 1996, and reported trout densities for the segment ranged from 88 trout/mile to 1,425 trout/mile. CDFW routinely stocks the river between Woodfords and Hope Valley with catchable-size rainbow trout and Alpine County supplements this stocking with larger size trout. Most wild trout caught in this segment run about 6 to 9 inch run with an occasional fish larger than 10 inches.
From the Highway 89 Bridge to the Highway 88 Bridge the river meanders through the meadows of lower Hope Valley. Stream habitat is largely sandy bottom pools and deep runs with an occasional riffle. At the lower end of the valley boulders from an ancient glacial moraine are scattered throughout. These boulders are also found in the stream channel above the old Highway 89 Bridge.
The section between Highway 88 and 89 is owned by CDFW and has been considered for the wild trout program. The stream bank habitat in this reach has been degraded by previous cattle grazing practices but appears to be improving. For the past two decades CDFW has managed this segment by stocking catchablesized rainbow trout. In 1996 CDFW conducted a population survey within Hope Valley and reported 362 trout/mile and 15 brown trout >14 inches.