Rainbow trout are the name of the game, with riffles and pocket water dominating. Also, beware of fishing lines when paddling underneath the bridge. However, to fish the portion in Yosemite Valley, you just need to pile off the John Muir Trail that heads east from the Upper Pines Campground. Day Three offers a change of pace. The first-come, first-serve campgrounds usually fill up by noon during busy times. If you’re looking to catch a specific species of fish: aim for rocky points for bass and deep water, especially near the dam in the main body of the lake, for salmon and trout trollers. For a comfy stay along the Merced River, Yosemite Mariposa boasts an array of hotels & motels as well as cabins. Where to Fly Fish on the Merced River As mentioned above, you can fish the Merced for much of its 145-mile length before it joins the San Joaquin River. A day along the river instead of in it. Special fishing regulations (see below) cover the Merced River from Happy Isles to the Foresta Bridge, which is downriver in El Portal. This take you right to the base of Half-Dome. The north side of the Merced River is generally easier to explore on foot with many little trails and side paths along the water. For other trout the limit is 5 per day. Another option is the Wawona Hotel, 4 miles inside the park's southern entrance. It is well known for excellent whitewater boating, wildflower viewing, camping, swimming, and recreational gold panning/prospecting. Its headwaters begin at 7900 feet at the Clarke … A gourmet picnic along the Merced’s banks serenaded by its bubbling waters is the perfect way to say hello. cover under logs and overhanging banks during the day. Merced River, California fishing report, rainbow trout fly fishing forecast, fishing season updates, fly shop and fishing guides, and fly-fishing weather. For complete information about campgrounds around Yosemite, see. Find any of the swimming holes late in the season and you’re golden. Because you are close to the El Capitan bridge, you can choose which side of the river you want to fish first and then later easily switch across to the opposite side. Cable Rock Day-Use Site is a great place to swim and features a large jumping rock. The Merced River and its tributaries are a popular recreational area in part because of Yosemite National Park. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including northern pike, crappie, brown trout, largemouth bass, bream/bluegill, rainbow trout, catfish, chinook salmon, redear sunfish and muskie here. There are several places along this section of the Merced River above the Arch Rock Entrance station where you can find safe access to some excellent fishing. Check current fishing regulations with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The 9-mile out & back Hite Cove Trail begins at the Savage Trading Post in El Portal. Away from Yosemite Valley, the Merced River flows wild & free through a dramatic canyon revealing much to explore. An angler’s note: in addition to a valid CA fishing license (age 16 and over), the Merced’s Wild and Scenic River status adds a few extra conditions: only fish over 12 inches may be taken and only on artificial lures with barbless hooks. Reservations for them are essential from April through September. Visitors will have plenty to do in the Merced River RMA during every season. Accessible restroom at Merced Falls fishing access. Whether you’re booked into a cozy hotel, piloting an RV or pitching a tent among the beautiful national forests, Yosemite Mariposa offers a wide variety of accommodations with a comfort level and price point for all budgets. Some campgrounds listed above are reservable, while others are first come/first served. A little tricky to find, the Merced River Hatchery is open to the public and offers views of the Merced River and wildlife that utilize this river ecosystem. A seasonal thrill, snowmelt from the High Sierra rumbles through the Merced River canyon creating high and fast runs (Class IV) in spring then — as summer progresses and the flow decreases — transforming into easy Class I ripples. Mostly low gradient meadow meanders, some boulder-strewn runs at upper and lower portions with high flows during spring snow melt. A worthy Day Two dinner would be House Smoked Tri-Tip and Vegan Cassoulet at the June Bug Cafe in Midpines, or head over to the Cedar Lodge Restaurant in El Portal for bacon-wrapped blue cheese-stuffed beef tenderloin and eggplant parmesan. Make reservations early. We fly fish the Merced river, Tuolumne river, Stanislaus river and the Mokulmne river. Rainbow trout are catch and release. There are numerous places along the river where logs have fallen into the water, creating refuges where trout are likely to hide. Merced River The most effective set up is at least nine feet of tapered leader followed by 4 to 8 feet of tippet depending on water depth. Fly-fishing gear is seasonal with 5/6 weight outfits usually more then adequate. flow. From its headwaters, the River flows north and receives its tributary, Lyell Peak Fork. This access point allows you to fish above the spillway of the Merced Falls Dam. A great flatwater option is heading downriver to Bagby Recreation Area where the Merced River Arm feeds Lake McClure. Dan Rhodes grew up in the area and is intimately familiar with the fabulous year-round recreation this region offers. As soon as you get very far from turnouts along the road, though, these paths become more infrequent. Fishing Sequoia and Kings Canyon You might not catch any record-breaking fish, but it's still a great excuse to combine a hike through the forest with some riverside recreation. Of course, take caution and always remember to avoid water that flows faster than you can walk. Campgrounds abound in Yosemite, but finding an empty campsite is difficult during peak season. Bagby Campground where the Merced River Arm feeds Lake McClure is another worthy fishing destination be it by boat or from the bank. The waters of the Merced River above the Happy Isle footbridge follow the general California fishing regulations. Continue on this same road (which also happens to follow the historic Yosemite Valley Railroad line) another two miles to Willow Placer Campground for a quieter, family atmosphere with 8 walk-in sites. CALIFORNIA FRESHWATER SPORT FISHING REGULATIONS 2020-2021 Effective March 1, 2020 through February 28, 2021 After getting situated in your Merced River digs, it’s time explore. The Merced River fishing season runs the last Saturday of April through November 15 from the Foresta Bridge near El Portal all the way down to Lake McClure with a rainbow limit of 5 (limit of 2 remainder of year), while the section from Arch Rock to Foresta Bridge is open year-round but catch and release only. There are many activities within the watershed, including boating, fishing, camping and hiking. And at Henry W. Coe State Park in Morgan Hill, you'll find space for horseback riding, fishing, biking, hiking, and wildflower viewing. Fishing Yosemite: Merced River Special Regulations On the Merced River from Happy Isles to the Foresta Bridge in El Portal it is catch and release for all rainbow trout. The Merced River passes through one of the most scenic valleys in the world. The Merced River carves its own waterways through Yosemite National Park, and is great for rafting, kayaking, and wading. For your midday fare, grab a fresh sandwich to-go at the El Portal Market or book a whitewater rafting trip where lunch is included. Hotels like Yosemite View Lodge (pictured) put you just feet from the Merced River. There are four campgrounds along the South Fork of the Merced near Wawona which flows through this area. To begin your Fishing Yosemite adventure on the Merced River, drive to Yosemite Valley inside Yosemite National Park. About 1 mile away on Incline Road is Dry Gulch Campground. Everything from whitewater rafting and hiking, to Merced River fishing and gold panning, all in a history-drenched setting of unmistakable beauty. This is listed below. The Cedar Lodge in El Portal features indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a river walk with private sandy beach and carved bears to keep the kids company. Merced River is a stream located just 3.5 miles from Newman, in Merced County, in the state of California, United States. The Merced River Trail is dog-friendly (on leash) and great for kids, just remember to bring a hat and plenty of water as there is little cover. The Department of Fish and Game stocks the river annually with 17,000 rainbow trout in … Merced Lake. The Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) runs buses from Merced to Yosemite Valley and in the summer up through Tuolumne Meadows and over Tioga Pass to Mammoth. For backpackers with a wilderness permit there is a Backpackers' Campground where you may spend one night prior to your leaving on your hike the next day. Please visit the following links for more information about rules and regulations pertaining to: Open Areas and Closed Areas Permitted Activities and Prohibited Activities. Check with rangers about the suitability of conditions before setting out on any hike or other forest activity. Following a steep canyon along the South Fork of the Merced River, this is a popular destination in spring for its abundance of over 50 varieties of wildflowers and has an elevation gain of 980 feet. Merced River The Merced River has three special regulation sections. Tuolumne River The Tuolumne River has one special regulation section. The Merced River, located north of Mariposa, is easily accessible and provides a great place for trout fishing. If you’re not staying at one of the local campgrounds, day-use picnic areas such as Red Bud, Cranberry Flat, Indian Flat, McClendon Beach and Briceburg Put-In are all great choices. All along the Merced River are places like this one that are great for hopping in and going for a swim. At the lower end of the park, beginning at the Highway 120 turnoff, the river begins to descend into a narrower, and much rockier canyon. year round. The Merced River meanders 10 miles through the Valley in Yosemite National Park, making it a popular attraction during the summer for fishing, rafting, and wading; but most of the activity is concentrated along the upper 4 miles from Happy Isles to Sentinel Beach Picnic Area. So let’s get hiking boots on the ground and forks on the plate for a Sierra foodie tour that pairs perfectly with the natural splendor of Yosemite. McCabe Flat Campground is a two-mile drive on a dirt road (passenger vehicles okay) from the Briceburg/Merced River Visitor Center on Highway 140 and is known for its large, sandy beach. Merced River fish along the length of the valley are shy and skittish, feeding mostly at night and taking Lay back, breathe deep, and watch the occasional cumulus drift overhead for maximum relaxation. Yosemite Valley is one of the most picturesque places on earth and has much to offer any Fly Fisherman. In Yosemite National Park no live or dead minnows or other bait fish, amphibians, non-preserved fish eggs, or roe may be used or possessed. Yosemite National Park’s season for stream and river fishing begins on the last Saturday in April and continues through November 15, with the exception of Frog Creek near Lake Eleanor, which opens June 15. ©2020 Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau, Yosemite Itineraries: What to Do in Yosemite, Yosemite Mariposa offers a wide variety of accommodations, Nightmare Alley, Stark Reality and Corner Pocket. About half of Yosemite National Park's campgrounds are on a reservation system. A quick dip in the Merced River is a sure way to reenergize after the drive up. Yosemite National Park and Mariposa County set the stage for epic family getaways, with the more children, parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents tagging along the merrier. Campgrounds abound along the Merced River, providing affordable landing spots close to the action. Fishing from bridges and docks is prohibited. Bagby Campground where the Merced River Arm feeds Lake McClure is another worthy fishing destination be it by boat or from the bank. The Merced River is a focal point of Yosemite Valley. Waterfalls feed every turn of the Merced’s meandering course, while visitors flock to its banks for picnic stops and photo ops. All other lakes and reservoirs (including Merced Lake) are open to visitors for fishing year-round. The Tioga Pass road is usually open about Memorial Day weekend, providing access to the park from the eastern side of the Sierra. Situated at approximately 900 feet, this spot is great for rainbow and brown trout but also sports kokanee salmon, largemouth and spotted bass, crappie, bluegill, shad and catfish. The mine produced a total value of 3 million in today’s dollars. Another mile brings you to the end of the line at Railroad Flat Campground. Six miles away on Highway 140 is the Yosemite View Lodge with 335 luxury rooms & suites, many perched over a dramatic stretch of the Merced River. If you’re feeling inspired, try your hand at gold-panning in the cool, clear waters. One of the best ways to experience the Merced River is out on a raft as you cruise over churning white water rapids. Highway 49, Mariposa. Overview The Merced River Recreation Management Area (RMA) is a very special place just downstream from Yosemite. Note that swimming, float tubes, and boats are not allowed because of the proximity to the dam. Take a look at the video below on its owners, Doug Shaw and Caroline McGrath. Pop by the Mariposa Museum & History Center or the Northern Mariposa County History Center (Coulterville Museum) to learn Native American, Yosemite and Gold Rush sagas from days of old. Contact Us We are Yosemite Fly fishing guides that serve the Yosemite National Park, and Yosemite wilderness with multi- day fly fishing adventures, full day or half days. Whitewater rafting is permitted throughout Merced River Canyon from the downstream half of Yosemite Valley to the entrance of Lake McClure. Situated at 3,400 feet, the walk-in tent sites are set amid pine and oak right along the river. For those who want to glamp without all the hauling fuss, AutoCamp is just 10 minutes from the Merced River and offers finely-appointed Airstream trailers set on a 35-acre property complete with communal sky deck for stargazing and swimming pool. Fishing Yosemite along the valley portion of the Merced River can be productive for skilled anglers early in the season before the peak of the snow melt and then again later in the season, especially in the autumn when the crowds have fallen off. You can save money by staying outside the park in nearby El Portal where there are several excellent, large motels or outside the park on either Highways 41 or 120. For a little a.m. sweet treat, try coffee & cinnamon rolls at the Jantz Cafe in Mariposa or a maple old-fashioned at Donut A Go Go. The River rises at the confluence of the Triple Peak Fork and Merced Peak Fork. However, most of this portion of the river is difficult to approach and can be extremely dangerous during in high water and even during normal flows. You’ll also find brown trout, western sucker, and squawfish. Merced River. IN COORDINATION WITH PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDELINES, YOSEMITE IS ONLY OPEN FROM 8 AM TO 5 PM DAILY. Three highways lead into the park from the west, Highway 120 from the Sonora area; Highway 140 from Merced and Mariposa; and Highway 41 from the Fresno area. Whether it’s rafting big water on the Merced River or climbing big walls like El Capitan, mountain biking down a gonzo fire road in the Sierra National Forest or skydiving from 14,000 feet as Half Dome stands guard in the distance, Yosemite Mariposa is a prime destination for all thrill levels and budgets. Merced River Hatchery (MRH) is located just below Crocker‐Huffman Dam (the terminus of anadromy), north of Fresno. Day Two is all about getting on the water. Local outfitters such as Sierra Mac, OARS, Whitewater Excitement and Zephyr have years of experience running the Merced and offer half-day and full-day trips. Hunting and Fishing. Fly Fishing the Merced River The Merced River is a 145 mile long tributary of the San Joaquin River in Central California. The hike features spring wildflowers and the ever-present serenade of flowing water. A mile-by-mile guide to rapids with such names as Nightmare Alley, Stark Reality and Corner Pocket is a fun way to get an aerial view of what you’re about to experience! Merced Lake is one of the fishiest spots I’ve been to over the years. We all gotta nosh. Click on each for details. For the short section from the Yosemite National Park boundary at El Portal to the Foresta Bridge, fishing is allowed all year with barbless, artificial lures or flies. There are lots of worthy options so feel free to mix & match as you flow through the heart of Yosemite Mariposa. Get up early to cast your line as the sun casts its first rays or give yourself up to the Fishing Gods and head out when you roll out of bed. As an added safety measure, the flow of the Merced River can be found here. If it’s the latter, try the River Special pie with beer on tap at Parkside Pizza in El Portal, or for something a bit more refined a scotch and New York steak at The River Restaurant. Bait fishing is prohibited. On the Merced River from Happy Isles to the Foresta Bridge in El Portal it is catch and release for all rainbow trout. If fifth wheels are your thing, there are numerous RV-friendly parks in Yosemite Mariposa. With its rustic, authentic, and sometimes psychedelic vibe, the Bug offers cabins on stilts and a health spa all situated in a small valley with a stream coursing through. PG&E River’s Edge Fishing Access: This access point is 6.2 miles beyond Snelling, next to the PG&E hydroelectric plant. This 5.5 mile out & back trail starts at Railroad Flat Campground. Briceburg’s Merced River Management Area is a great place to embark on a scenic hike. (All with barbless hooks.) The Merced River in this area is a grass bordered river with trees and brush. At trail’s end there’s a narrow spur that climbs to a seasonal waterfall, worth the effort if still running. For those curious travelers determined to find out the river’s fate, Highway 140 holds the key. Paddle to your heart’s desire, but beware of exposed rocks and always wear a helmet. Merced River California offers some wonderful fishing for all anglers, including those who also like to take in some incredible scenery. Always confirm information with the service provider and check for any recent changes that may have been made. A popular spot amongst the bass fishermen community, the Merced River Arm offers reliable good fishing throughout the year. Between the South Fork and the Foresta Bridge, the Department of Fish and Game stocks rainbow trout. El Capitan Meadow makes a good place to park and begin fishing the Merced River. Merced River Fishing Report The Merced River originates in the Southeastern corner of Yosemite National Park. Every effort is made to provide accurate and up to date information, but we cannot be responsible for errors or for changes that may have occurred since publication. Special fishing regulations govern this section of the Merced River. Camping options abound along Mariposa County’s Merced River! Theses are listed below. Merced River has a reputation for monster-sized 10 pound brown trout. Only a 2 star day. If you’re fishing Bagby, Lake McClure or Lake McSwain (or just want to take a scenic drive along Highway 49) try the Coulter Cafe in Coulterville for the fried chicken sandwich and vegan burger, or head to 9 Diamonds BBQ where pit-master and CA Culinary Academy graduate Jeffrey Baca serves up award-winning ribs, brisket, chicken and pork. In the summer, with rafters cruising down the river, I would only fish in the early morning or evening. There are two fishing access sites and a bridge in this area between two dams. Indian Flat RV Park is situated along the Merced River in El Portal and offers full hook-ups not to mention access to the swimming pool at the lodge next door. For Fishing Yosemite on the Merced River, I took along some nymphs and flies, unsure what conditions I would find. From Foresta bridge downstream to Lake McClure the river is open to fishing from the Last Saturday in April through November 15. It has a lot of deep pools and fast running waters. ;) Shaver Lake Click on any of the pins on the Merced County map or narrow your search by selecting a place type (e.g. The river flows west from its headwaters near the crest of the Sierra, down through Yosemite National Park and through foothills in Mariposa County, check Sport Fishing Regulations. The fish ladder normally opens around October 1. John Hite settled here in 1862 where he operated a gold mine for the next 17 years. During late early late fall dropping down to 3/4 weight makes the river even more fun. The original fish facility, completed in 1970 by the Merced Irrigation District (MID), was a Chinook salmon spawning channel designed to enhance salmon runs. As the summer progresses and the amount of water in the river decreases, other suitable swimming holes reveal themselves if you’re willing to explore. For the main event, go all-in at the Charles Street Dinner House for portobello ravioli and an 8 oz filet mignon. Other campgrounds are located outside the valley, mostly along the Tioga Pass Road (Highway 120). A quick solo trip amidst the Coronavirus. It is an awesome river for Tanuki rod. Kayaking has become increasingly popular on the Merced, with the same rules applying: safety is a function of experience, time of year, and, This could be you floating down the Merced River. The lower 6 miles receives much less attention and many parts of it, hidden from view from the roads, are unknown to most tourists. Fly Fishing Trout Flies | Essential Flies for Trout | Hand-Tied Dry Flies, Nymphs, Streamers, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Yosemite Village Sport Shop, Yosemite Valley, Curry Village Mountain Shop, Yosemite Valley, The General Store in Wawona, Tuolumne Meadows or Crane Flat, Yosemite Rivers Fly Shop, Highway 41, Oakhurst, Lucky Logger Liquors, 5188 No. Head “into town” for a hazy IPA at the Grove House (21 and over) in Mariposa with its revolving taps of craft beer. You will need to really dig deep and work hard to catch some fish. 2019–2020 Supplemental Sport Fishing Regulations 3 This is a Supplement The regulations in this supplement supersede regulations listed in the 2019–2020 Freshwater View fishing reports for the lakes, reservoirs and streams near Merced County (California) complete with bait shops, tackle shops, fishing charters and fishing guides, and inside information on fishing … But amid all this majesty, it can be easy to overlook what happens to this sublime body of water once it leaves Yosemite National Park. River Rafters and fishers will enjoy getting to know our own Merced River, a National Wild and Scenic River, plus nearby lakes like Bass Lake and 387-acre Lake Yosemite. Dirt Flat Campground, located near El Portal, is a peaceful walk-in camp close the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Merced River. On the south side of the Merced River tributary streams have cut ravines, creating undulating terrain. (Please note: Due to state and local restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact destinations mentioned in this story for current hours of operation.). The Merced River is the most well known river in Yosemite, as this is the river that flows through Yosemite Valley. Grab your supplies on the way up the hill at High Country Health Foods in downtown Mariposa. Day One has seen a lot of action and you are either a) excited to grill all that amazing food you brought up, or b) excited to kick back and let someone else do the cooking. Current fly fishing conditions are not so good today. Fly fishing in Yosemite for all species of Yosemite resident trout, or bass. No Fishing - Fishing is not allowed at the Merced NWR. Next door is the Yosemite Blue Butterfly Inn featuring Arts & Crafts-styled rooms and large decks overlooking the crystalline waters of this trout-laden river. 5 per day limit, 10 in possession. You’ve got some choices here depending on time of year/river conditions, how much you’re willing to spend, and — literally — how deep you want to immerse yourself. Lace up your boots and hit the Merced River Trail. You’ve burned some calories on the trail today so it’s time to celebrate. As your trusted Merced River guide, we’ve put together a 4-day itinerary to help navigate where to stay, what to do and how to eat like a local. Crossing the river and fishing along the opposite bank of the campgrounds … Due to the high number of visitors, the fishing opportunities near these campgrounds are slight. Because Highway 140 follows the Merced River closely from Yosemite’s Arch Rock Entrance to the Briceburg Suspension Bridge, there are numerous turnouts to stop and fish from the bank (for easier parking, see the day-use areas listed above). 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