Yosemite Fishing

I'll be heading down to Yosemite for the first 2 weeks of September to do some climbing. Of course, I plan on fishing in the morning, evening and on "rest days". Anyone have any advice? I'll be in the Toulomne Meadows area as well as Yosemite Valley proper.
Yes, Check your access before you go. I was sent to a jobsite in the LA area and all they can talk about on the news is the fires and there was a side story about people being turned back in surrounding areas because of the fires...
Tom C.
I've been watching the fires. Right now it looks good but things could change. My backup plan is the WInd Rivers. The climbing and fishing there are both great.
I was in Yosemite about that time in '05. Absolutely awesome fishing. The Merced river up towards Vernal and Bridalveil falls offers great fishing for 'Bows and Browns. Definitely look for the higher gradient areas with plunge pools and pocket water. One of the great places I fished was just below bridalveil falls: hike up past Vernal falls until you get to the base of bridalveil, and then just head down to the bottom of the falls. You can actually walk from that falls down to a bridge that crosses the trail below you near Vernal falls. Absolutely killer fishing, with the fish averaging 10", but quite a few in the 15-16" range.

Also fished up near Tuolomne. Smaller creek where you can actually see the fish in the pools just swimming around. The fish were a little more wary up there, but well worth the trip.


Jim Speaker

Active Member
In the years that I climbed in Yosemite I wasn't flyfishing :beathead: But this thread gets me to thinking about "getting away from where most people fish" which usually means wading a mile from a bridge or bushwacking. But, with Yosemite in mind, I can just imagine setting up a rappel with fishing pack strapped to the back, rap'ing down to some killer water, slaying the pristine trout, and jugging back out... what a way to fish trout that have never seen a fly!
I fish the Merced regularly and its a great fishery, especially if you hike away from the popular spots. The water just below the entrance to the park is great, tons of deep pools and riffles, even spots where you can sight fish from large boulders.

I also did a guide trip two years ago with Tim Hutchins. He has lived there for 25 years and took me to a spot I would never be able to find again, needless to say we saw no other anglers all day. All bows and browns on dry flies.

While your in the valley, it might be worth you time to drive over to the town of Foresta, just west of the valley. I fished Crane Creek, which flows through a large meadow down there, about a month ago, and it is chock full of small (5-8 in) rainbows. Doesn't matter what fly you throw at them, they just explode on anything topwater. Hardly gets any pressure either. Just keep an eye out for the bears!
Jimmy Morales is the MAN when it comes to Yosemite. Call him up & leave a number, he'll return the call. Just opened a shop on Hwy. 140 at the West Entrance. The first few miles downstream of the park on 140 can be very good, although you are not in the best time of year (Nov-Jan). I've seen some BIG trout in the Merced right in the park and no fishermen, other than the ocassional bait dunker. Classic water and I'd try it. Watched a 20+ incher fanning in the seam below a footbridge that I wished I could try for, alas, no rod. The Tuolomne Meadows area is like a seperate park, Alpine with smaller fish & lots of lakes if you're into a hike. If you've the time, drop over 120 to 395 and head north or south, can't miss. The Owens, Walker, June Lake Loop, Hot Creek. More like Colorado/Wyoming and can be spectacular fishing and scenery if you are with less dedicated or non-anglers. The best of California, IMHO. Fires are out, non-issue for now.
Thanks for the advice. It sounds like the fishing might be pretty good. Now I just need to get some flies for the area. If anyone has any suggestions on good patterns for the area I'd be interested.
Here is a little brown and rainbow from the Merced below Bridalveil falls. The rainbow has a Tan rubber leg stimulator in its mouth...I would definitely tie some of those up in sizes 12 - 8. Any terrestrial patterns are also a good bet this time of year, i.e. ants, beetles, etc.

I was fishing by myself, so the camera work is lacking....these are small, but all the decent size ones were too much to handle while trying to balance on the rocks and pull the camera out of the fishing pack.
I think J. St Clair has his waterfalls mixed up. Bridal Veil Falls is the first falls you see when you enter the park from Merced or Fresno. It is the one you see on the right side of the valley if you pull out for the fantastic view when you exit the highway 41 tunnel. It is a single falls. The one at Yosemite Village is Yosemite Falls. At the upper end of the valley near what used to be called Happy Isles, is the double falls he was referring to. The lower one is Vernal Falls and the upper is Nevada Falls (I think).

Worked there my first summer out of high school (1960). Used to catch lots of nice browns in that water. Worked all night. Slept all morning. Fished all afternoon and evening.

David Loy

Senior Moment
I'd echo what's been said about the Merced. We were at Yosemite last Spring Break and while I had the 4wt traveler, I didn't fish because we were doing family stuff all the time. There's some nice water in the Park and just outside too. But if you have the time, check out the Merced down stream 5 to 50 miles. WOW, I was drooling as we were heading out 140, back to SF. Possibly the nicest looking fly water I've ever seen.
I'd expect the flows are down from Spring so that's probably a factor to consider.

Ryan Buccola

I ain't broke but brother I am badly bent
upper and lower sardine lakes are an easy hike from the meadows. also parker lake, little walker lake and the walker river in skirts 395 all the way from reno to the bridgeport on the to the tioga pass entrance. Fishing has been really good this year.

I spent many years fishing and backpacking in Yosemite. Lots of options. Of course if you backpack deep into the park you can find some awesome fishing and even some big trout on a few lakes.

But, while you are in Tuolumne meadows area, for a short hike, from the Tioga Pass entrance you can hike 1 mile straight up to middle Gaylor Lake. We always caught brookies early in the day there. You can also take an easy stroll down the Tuolumne river and catch a bunch of smaller ones. The key is, like most places, is to get away from the road a bit. The farther away, the better the fishing.
The lower one is Vernal Falls and the upper is Nevada Falls (I think).
Yep. Vernal and Nevada - that's a beautiful hike (on the way to half dome). Bridal Veil is indeed lower in the valley, just to the left of the Leaning Tower a bit. This thread has me drooling, I want to get down there and do some easy climbs and fish one of these days.

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