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The fishing town that lures in all kinds of travelers | Bartell's Backroads

The crafty town of Walker will hook you with its eclectic charm.

WALKER, Calif. — Just south of the Nevada state line on Highway 395 is a little river town in Mono County that seems to lure in tourists.

The Walker River is famous for its fishing and every year the mega-trout attract anglers to the town of Walker for the How-Big-Is-Big Fishing Derby. Aubrey Green snags curious travelers with the Walker Flea Market's odd inventory.

“Yeah! We got sasquatch, dinosaurs, elephants and giraffes,” said Green.

Highly detailed metal sculptures bait the customers to pull off the road. Once they’ve parked, Green hooks them with her story.

“I am 18-years-old and I started it when I was 7-years-old at a garage sale at my grandma’s house,” said Green. 

The garage sale she's talking about made nearly $2,800 and inspired her grandma, Victoria Victor, to start the flea market for her grandkids to run. 

“This isn’t our stuff. We have local vendors, so we sell it and get a 10% cut,” said Green.

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Just like any garage sale, you’ll find a mishmash of items like porcelain trinkets, old license plates and silly ant figurines. As for those metal sculptures, Green says they pick them up from a long-time vendor in Palm Springs where she and her grandma vacation.

The town of Walker is full of crafty people and eye-catching small businesses like Mountain View BBQ, home of the best (and only) barbecue in town. It may seem odd to have a BBQ in a fishing town, but owner Jeff Hinds has you covered. 

“If you catch fish, we will smoke them," he said.

Mountain View BBQ has been attracting hungry travelers for 30 years. The BBQ is so good customers leave items behind for Hinds to decorate the restaurant with, including his famous wall of hats.

“We give you a week to come back and get the hat. If you don’t come back and it makes this wall, it is no longer your hat,” said Hinds.

There’s no shortage of things to look at, but one of the most eye-catching art pieces in the restaurant is a series of sketches. They were created by Hinds' late wife who woke up one day and decided to be an artist.

“I kind of snickered because she never drew anything in her life. She brought this down two days later and I said, 'Oh my god,'” recalled Hinds.

The little town of Walker may be small, but a quick stop will leave you with a full belly and a memorable souvenir.

MORE FISH TALES FROM THE BACKROADS | Eagle Lake Trout: The tasty fish unique to California. See the shocking way wildlife managers keep the rare fish from going extinct.

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