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Steelhead-a-holic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wonderful wife is going to a conference being hosted in Yosemite for 3 days in mid May. Since she already has the room paid for, she invited me along. I've never been there and am looking forward to some hiking and sightseeing.

She knows me well - first thing she asks after I agree to go along is "You're bringing your flyfishing stuff, right?". I'm taking this as implicit encouragement and want to find out a bit more about how to gear up.

It looks like mostly small water from my Google searches, so I'm planning on bringing a 4 or 5wt fly rod.

Any of you WA guys/gals familiar with the fishing? Any good flyshops in the area? Will the streams still be in runoff?

Not looking for secret spots, just a general idea of good areas to explore and some tips on what to expect.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Brian
 

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In normal years you would be able to find some nice small water and bunches of small goldens. This year? Not so much.

My advice would be to take a camera instead. The fishing ain't much but it is the most beautiful place on the planet.

PS: I don't know what your wife's work plans are but if they don't include dinner at the Ahwahnee then I'd suggest trying to make that happen. It'll probably be booked but check the cancellation time. There are always cancellations.
 

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I live 2 hours south of Yosemite. Mid-May is typically snow melt time. Which entrance will you be using? If the south entrance (there are only two open right now so it's a 50/50 chance), you will be driving through the town of Oakhurst, where you will find Yosemite Rivers Fly Shop. They could give you updated information. I think it's the only fly shop in the entire area.

I'm afraid it would not be a good time to fish. The best river for sizable trout is the Merced, right outside of the park around the town of El Portal, which is designated wild trout water. There are a few guides who target the Yosemite area (the fly shop listed above is one). You could call them and see what they say. But I imagine it'll be high and fast. Here's what it looks like right now, Red Bud is just downstream from El Portal. 1,000 is a good level
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There are always fish about. I would just focus on the edges and be careful. A 9' 5wt is good.

Most of us around here who are eyeing the high sierra are thinking july might be the earliest time to fish since we've just had an epic snow season after years of drought. But Yosemite Valley itself is only at 4,000 feet elevation. The Merced within Yosemite Valley is very pretty, a great place to fish, not such a great place to catch but this year, I'm not sure what it'll look like mid-May. The Merced's fishing quality picks up right after it leaves the Valley but before it leaves the Park. There are a few smaller creeks in the Valley you could check. It would still be nice to cast amidst the scenery of Yosemite Valley.

The Ahwahnee hotel is a great place to eat. Try the outdoor patio if restaurant is booked. btw, it's no longer officially called the Ahwahnee, it's now the The Majestic Yosemite Hotel :p

eric
fresno, ca.
 

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Robert
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Eric is right, the Merced will likely be blown as most of the streams in the Sierra, but I'd call the YW fly shop; Jimmie Morales has intimate knowledge of the area and is one to ask. It's going to be a lake/reservoir game here for a while.
The old hotel, whatever it's now called, is known for great food and ambiance.
Don't miss a trip to Glacier Point if the road is open; on the south rim of the valley @ 6000+ feet, one looks across to El Capitan and down to the valley floor.
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/glacierpoint.htm
 

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that's His Lordship, to you.....
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Glacier Pt road most likely will not be open yet. Bet they shoot for Memorial Day weekend. I spent a lot of time on the walls there as a kid, but over the years it's gotten more and more crowded. Even in the valley though, with all the runoff coming down, the Merced will probably not be fishable. However, on the plus side, all the water cascading into the valley should be really impressive. Winter is fun there too.

My last straw park-wise, was when the had to rename the Ahwahnee, fold Curry and get rid of the little cabins along the river after the flood. the back country was spectacular, but the valley? Way too many idiots running around: how many other national parks have their own jail & courtroom, right on the premises??
 

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Robert
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Alex is correct, Glacier Point is predicted to open Memorial Day-early June. The river is blown, flood stage. Yosemite is two different parks, the Valley floor and the high country around Tioga Pass. Very different in environment and crowds. I stay away in the summer Memorial Day-Labor Day. If you are driving there, highway 49 all the way to Placerville is scenic and full of interesting little towns from the Gold Rush era. One of the best is Columbia State Park: http://www.visitcolumbiacalifornia.com/
A historic gold rush town that was once the state capitol it is now a museum with docents working the blacksmith shop, stagecoach rides and gold panning. A restored opera house that the University of the Pacific theatre dept. uses for plays, restored hotel and very good restaurant. You'll pass very close to it on your way to the park if you're coming from the Bay Area or Sacramento. Wife and I spent an anniversary there, caught a play, excellent meal, lots to look at.
 

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Robert
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Robert, we are flying into Fresno on Thursday. Any good sights along the southern route?
You could take the El Portal entrance by turning onto hwy. 49 at Oakhurst to Mariposa where you take 140 into YNP. About 20 miles further than 41 but it's more scenic, follows the Merced River. At the junction of the South Fork (Savage Trading Post) is a nice little hike that follows the south fork and has spectacular wildflowers; should be winding down but still good with all the rain. South fork has some nice wild trout when it drops. Look for signs just past the trading post, park on left side of road (heading into the park). Nice day trip for you while wife is in meetings.
http://www.bing.com/search?q=hite+cove+wildflowers&src=IE-SearchBox&FORM=IESR02&pc=EUPP_UE08
http://gocalifornia.about.com/od/toppicturegallery/ss/Hite-Cove-Trail.htm#step2
Also a very nice little mining and mineral museum in Mariposa:
http://camineralmuseum.org/
If you stay on 41 all the way about the only attraction is the Yosemite Pines railroad, narrow gauge steam train offers rides and meals. Fun for kids but unless you're a RR enthusiast I'd spend the time in the mining museum and at Hite Cove.
 

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BigDog
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I spent a lot of time on the walls there as a kid, but over the years it's gotten more and more crowded.
Despite my perception that we are on the opposite side of the world politically, we might actually have fun reminiscing about some shared interests.

how many other national parks have their own jail & courtroom, right on the premises??
Jellystone, of course. Having been established as a park before any of the surrounding states were states, Yellowstone not only has its own judicial system, it has some jurisdictional authorities that are usually state responsibilities in other national parks. It gives the park superintendent's word the power of law in some weird ways.
D
 

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if you're coming in from fresno (up 41) and like Mexican food, stop at Taqueria Plazuelas. it's a yellow-painted structure on the right, just after you cross the concrete bridge over the Fresno River (no fishing), but before you reach the main T-intersection. If you miss it, it's really worth a quick u-turn. better than my mama's (shhhh). stay. away. from. el. cid. the other main mexican restaurant on the far side of town beyond the fly shop.

If you're interested in a non-fishing activity, take a day hike up Chilnualna Falls. This is in Wawona, far from the madding crowd of Yosemite Valley. I too try to stay away from Yosemite Valley. The creek should be whitewater, but if it's not, there are small fish in there. The falls should be spectacular. 3-4 mile hike uphill, with flat areas for rest, and you don't have to go the full length. it's about a 40 minute drive from Wawona to Yosemite Valley.

as robert mentioned, the Merced River Valley is very cool. this entry route will get you into the park through the Arch Rock entrance. great rock formations along the river. and if you're into a hike for wildflowers, that same area from Savage's Trading Post up the south fork (a 10-15 min walk is fine, but the first 5 mins is steep and took the wind out of me the last time i did it) is often photographed with its hillsides of poppies. you can reach this route at the Highway 49 turnoff back in Oakhurst, just beyond taqueria plazuelas.

On the way from Oakhurst to the Merced River Valley along Highway 49 you'll drive through the gold rush town of Mariposa. find a cafe, grab some coffee. if you're hungry, stop at the Happy Burger Diner on the right side near the end of Mariposa. The walls are covered in vinyl record covers, great greasy food (get the rueben), free wifi. if you want something healthier, look for River Rock Inn and Garden Cafe Deli, a block off the main road. grab a sandwich and coffee to go for later.

The Merced River in Yosemite Valley is starting to flood. You may be able to fish from your car while parked along the loop road.

-eric
fresno, ca.
 

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that's His Lordship, to you.....
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Despite my perception that we are on the opposite side of the world politically, we might actually have fun reminiscing about some shared interests.

Did you climb? Now and again I think I might have one or two more Alpine ascents in me, but then reality takes hold...... But I still recall the time when a bunch of the "older kids" got a bear drunk just outside Sunnyside one night......The rangers hated us!

Jellystone, of course. Having been established as a park before any of the surrounding states were states, Yellowstone not only has its own judicial system, it has some jurisdictional authorities that are usually state responsibilities in other national parks. It gives the park superintendent's word the power of law in some weird ways.
D
Ah, forgot about Mammoth! I vastly prefer fishing in the West ranger district; don't venture toward that area very often. Thanks:D
 

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Merced river is blown - massive amounts of high water, super fast and unfishable - went there a few weeks ago.
Ended up fishing small tribs along the Merced to find any fishable water.
Found small salmon and rainbows there.
Fish biologists were there sampling fish species and said by fall there will be catchable sized salmon in the Merced.

BTW: Mammoth is much better fishing - Hot Creek or Middle Owens in Bishop. Our club fishes there all the time...
 

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BigDog
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Did you climb? Now and again I think I might have one or two more Alpine ascents in me, but then reality takes hold...... But I still recall the time when a bunch of the "older kids" got a bear drunk just outside Sunnyside one night......The rangers hated us!
I spent 10 years as a climbing bum, including 6 seasons as a guide in the Tetons and Wind Rivers, before going to grad school. I still drag myself up a couple mountains each summer, but haven't done any roped climbing in many years. I find being a field biologist and fly fishing to be suitable excuses to go to interesting places and get out into the mountains these days.
Dick
 

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that's His Lordship, to you.....
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I got into it pretty seriously in the `70's, climbed on 4 continents including being a support climber for the New Zealand Everest go in `77. got to the South Col. We were pretty sure we wanted to give it a go ourselves in `80, but a daughter intervened, and I began to realize that she was more important than "the" climb.
 
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