Nevada Water Science Center

Walker River and Lake

The Walker River begins in the Sierra Nevada as the East Walker River and the West Walker River. In Mason Valley, just south of Yerington, Nev., the rivers converge to create the the Walker River. The Walker River terminates in Walker Lake.

Walker Lake is a terminal lake, meaning that the lake has no water that flows out from it. Since 1882, the level of Walker Lake has declined more than 150 feet. This decline in lake level has caused an increase in dissolved solids making the lake much more saline. The rise in salinity has made it difficult for fish and other wildlife to survive in the Walker River Basin.

Walker River and Lake are in the Walker River Basin (hydrographic region 9). The Walker River Basin is about 3,000 square miles and includes 7 hydrographic areas: Antelope Valley, Smith Valley, Mason Valley, East Walker Area, Walker Lake Valley/Schurz subarea, Walker Lake Valley/Lake subarea, and Walker Lake Valley/Whiskey Flat-Hawthorne subarea.

Map of the Walker River Basin

USGS Nevada Water Science Center maintains more than 32 real-time streamflow gages on the Walker River. The Wabuska gage, in particular, has been operating continuously since 1945.


Real-Time Streamflow :: Daily Values :: Peak-Flow :: Water Quality

Research in the Walker River Basin

Hydrology of the Walker River Basin


Walker River Basin Bibliography: List of USGS Nevada WSC publications about the Walker River Basin, including cooperative State publications.

Walker Basin Hydro Mapper

The Walker Basin Hydro Mapper was developed as apart of a coordinated effort between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Walker Basin Restoration Program, the Bureau of Reclamation Desert Terminal Lakes Program, and the USGS Nevada and Texas Water Science Centers. The mapping application provides a basin-wide perspective of real-time streamflow and lake and reservoir storage capacity and stage for the Walker River Basin in Nevada and California. The application also provides interactive access to historic streamflow and lake and reservoir data in geospatial and graphical representations. This tool was developed to create a common operating reference frame for the various water users and stakeholders in the Walker River Basin. The hydro mapper can be viewed on the

Walker Basin Hydro Mapper website


The west and east forks of the Walker River are renowned fishing spots, especially for fly fishing. Rainbow, brown, and brook trout are available as well as a few Lahontan cutthroat trout. Fishing is usually best in late summer and early fall when the water levels are lower and the water is clearer.


Lahontan Cutthroat Trout



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page Contact Information: Nevada Water Science Center Web Team
page Last Modified: December 11, 2014