Photo of Silver Creek, Alpine County, CA

Silver Creek Fishing

Alpine County

Photo of Silver Creek

Silver Creek

Silver Creek in Alpine County, California, drops 2,500 feet in a little more than 8 miles as it flows from Kinney Lakes down Silver Creek Canyon to its confluence with the East Carson River. Because it parallels Highway 4 there are sections that are fished regularly by visiting anglers. Other parts of the creek, a little more difficult to access, are neglected by many and left to the more adventurous.

In My Creel

  • #16 tan Elk Hair Caddis
  • #14 Adams Parachute
  • #16 Red Quill
  • #16 mosquito
  • #16 gnat
  • #14 Royal Wulff

I easily could have carried bait and worked the stream with worms or salmon eggs, but I have a lot more fun letting my flies drift down into shaded pools or along the side of an undercut, just to see what will rise.

The uppermost portion Silver Creek does not sustain enough flow late in the season to maintain a robust fish population, but below the main cascade about 2.5 miles below the lakes, pools begin to appear which support fair-sized rainbows. Fishing them is the trick. During early season the flow is high, making the canyon dangerous and fishing unproductive. By mid-summer, though, the water level has usually dropped enough that anyone agile on their feet can clamber down to the streambed and negotiate their way from boulder to boulder. It's a specialty kind of fishing that doesn't appeal to everyone.

Below Silver Creek Campground the stream develops a gentler personality and can be approached more easily from various access places. One of my favorite sections is just above the Wolf Creek Road bridge. Bait and fly fishing are the most popular approaches along this narrow creek. I had luck with a # 16 tan Elk Hair Caddis.

Photo of Silver Creek

(Note: The photos shown here were taken in late August, 2010, when water levels were fairly low).

Making Your Way to Silver Creek

Silver Creek is easiest to reach from the eastern side of the Sierra. Drive through Markleeville, following the Carson River and turn up Highway 4 for Ebbetts Pass. Or come over Monitor Pass and swing south on Highway 4. From the west side of the Sierra you can reach Silver Creek by following Highway 4 through Angels Camp and Arnold and up over Ebbetts Pass. It's a slow drive, but the scenery is spectacular and there are numerous fishing locations along the way

The easiest turnouts from Highway 4 along Silver Creek are the most heavily fished, so I always seek out the less obvious little pull-out spaces and walk a short distance before working my way down to the creek. I'm usually rewarded by coming upon a nice, secluded pool or riffle than can hold my interest for an hour. By then I'm ready to move up or down stream.

Accommodations and Supplies

For lodging close to Silver Creek you can't beat Sorenson's Resort over on Highway 88. In Markleeville there's the J. Marklee Toll Station Motel and in Woodfords you'll find Kyle's Cabins. Farther down the roads there are numerous hotels/motels in Minden, Gardnerville, and Topaz Lake, Nevada.

Photo of Silver Creek

Silver Creek Campground is right there along Silver Creek, making it an obvious first choice. "Dispersed camping" is allowed along the creek in many places. Other campgrounds can be found near Markleeville and on the west side of Ebbetts Pass. On the west side consider Bloomfield Campground part way out the Highland Lakes Road or Hermit Valley on Highway 4. More campsites are located at Lake Alpine, but they are often crowded in the summer.

California's Best Camping logo

To find the very best campgrounds in the area and all across California, visit California's Best Camping.

For complete information about camping and fishing around the Highland Lakes and all up and down Ebbetts Pass, see Ebbetts Pass Adventures.

logo saying Ebbetts Pass Adventures

Fishing supplies can be purchased locally at the following places:

Recommended Lures, Books and Maps for Fishing Silver Creek

Photo of Silver Creek


A short drive out the Wolf Creek Road will take you to Wolf Creek and the upper portion of the East Carson River. The East Carson above Wolf Creek is a wild trout region with special regulations (barbless hooks, catch and release).

Photo of Silver Creek

Other Nearby Featured Trips in Alpine County: