The Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex
Pacific Southwest Region

Walker Basin Home Page

This website provides updates on the programs that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) manages in the Walker Basin under the Desert Terminal Lakes Program (DTLP).

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Origins of the Watershed

The Walker Basin is a diverse and fascinating region, containing a wide range of aquatic habitats. The East and West Walker rivers originate less than a mile apart, high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Slipping off the opposite sides of two sub-drainages, they form a horseshoe around the foothills of the Wassuck mountain range, eventually reaching a confluence with the Walker River, just south of Yerington, NV. The Walker River continues northward and then gradually circles south until it reaches the terminal Walker Lake, which has no outlet.

The Walker River Basin


The Walker Basin encompasses a range ecoregions, from Jeffrey Pine forest high in the Sierra Mountains to the cottonwood stands, xeric shrublands, and playa of the lower river. The upper reaches are higher in gradient with cold water fish habitat, providing prime cutthroat spawning habitat. Dropping in elevation, the river slope decreases as it works its way through a series of agricultural valleys containing a transitional mix of cold and warm water species. And finally, the river flows through low gradient desert habitat until it reaches Walker Lake, the historic home of the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.

Wilson Canyon, West Walker River

Program Goals

Through Desert Terminal Lakes funding, the Service leads the Fisheries Improvement Program and the River Restoration program. These programs promote recovery of Lahontan cutthroat trout and other native species through the study of lake limnology, river ecosystem health, active river restoration and development of recovery strategies for Lahontan cutthroat trout. All of these actions are designed bring the Walker Basin to a more natural and healthy state that will benefit all that care about this wonderful resource.

Walker Lake


Last updated: June 22, 2015