Fly fishing in Yosemite |

Fly fishing in Yosemite

A week ago I took a break to spend a couple of leisurely days at Yosemite National Park. I had only been to the park once before in the mid 80s. When I mentioned to friends that I was going, I was surprised at how many of them have not been.

Yosemite is the most famous national park in the world. It is five hours from here and well worth the visit, especially if you like to fish for trout in streams.

My wife and I stayed at the Tenaya Lodge, right outside the south entrance to the park. The Tenaya Lodge is a modern resort that offers its guests luxury accommodations, good food and a broad variety of recreational opportunities. We could choose horseback riding, hiking, park tours, swimming, massage, golfing and, of course, trout fishing in and around the park.

I spent Monday hiking into and fishing Bridal Veil Creek. This creek drains a high plateau and ultimately drops into Yosemite Valley via the famous Bridal Veil Falls. To access the Bridal Veil Creek, you take the road to Glacier Point on the south side of the valley. This road crosses the creek, giving good access both upstream and down. It is a typical west slope Sierra stream, similar in size to the North Yuba above Bassett’s Station. There is a mix of trout species including rainbows, browns and brook trout. It is perfect dry fly water with a mix of pools and riffles.

Once you’ve walked 10 minutes from car access, you will find opportunistic fish that will hit anything that looks and acts like food.

These are not large fish, because of the short growing season at 7,500-feet elevation. There are aquatic insects in the stream, but these fish rely in large part on terrestrial bugs such as ants, beetles and hoppers. By working upstream, you come up behind the fish and are less likely to spook them in the clear shallow water. Your casting skills don’t have to be stellar, you just need to get the fly on the water a few feet above the fish and they will react.

Most of the trout are in the 6- to 12-inch range with a few larger ones on occasion. A day on Bridal Veil Creek is not about catching the largest fish of the year.

Rather, it’s all about having an excuse to spend a day in some of the most beautiful surroundings in the Sierra.

There are numerous other fishing opportunities within an hour’s drive of Yosemite Valley. Down stream from the park, the Merced River offers excellent catch & release trout fishing. Tuolumne Meadows, on the way to Tioga Pass, is another option – as is the South Fork of the Merced near the south entrance. The $20 park fee is a one-week pass, making accommodations such as Tenaya Lodge a good base for daily excursions around the area.

I hope I have piqued your interest in a trip to this area. Yosemite is a destination for travelers from all over the world. We should not neglect this gem a few hours from home.

In our own backyard: The North Yuba is about as good as it gets right now. In the last two weeks, the flows have gone from 1,200 cubic feet per second to 400 cfs. Conditions are ideal.

On the Truckee River, the Green Drake hatch is underway. Last weekend, the trout were on a good bite where Deer Creek flows into Scotts Flat Lake. And Collins Lake is fishing well for crappie.

It is time to get out and go fishing.

I did go to the Lower Yuba for shad last Thursday with Jerry Chan. We went in at Hallwood Road and got skunked.

Note: The Gold Country Fly Fishers monthly meeting is 7 p.m. today at the library next to the county government center on Maidu Lane.

This month’s meeting will feature a fly tackle swap meet. This is a good opportunity for beginners to pick up some equipment.

Visitors are always welcome.


Denis Peirce writes a weekly fishing column for The Union and is host of “The KNCO Fishing & Outdoor Report,” which airs 6-7 p.m. Fridays and 5-6 a.m. Saturdays on 830-AM radio. He may be reached via e-mail at

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