The practice of catch and release is recommended to preserve this special habitat. From Foresta bridge downstream to Lake McClure the river is open to fishing from the Last Saturday in April through November 15. After getting situated in your Merced River digs, it’s time explore. Situated at 3,400 feet, the walk-in tent sites are set amid pine and oak right along the river. A popular spot amongst the bass fishermen community, the Merced River Arm offers reliable good fishing throughout the year. It is well known for excellent whitewater boating, wildflower viewing, camping, swimming, and recreational gold panning/prospecting. The lower elevation of Bagby Campground offers a different experience where the Merced River Arm feeds Lake McClure. Bagby Campground where the Merced River Arm feeds Lake McClure is another worthy fishing destination be it by boat or from the bank. 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. The first-come, first-serve campgrounds usually fill up by noon during busy times. Merced River Hatchery (MRH) is located just below Crocker‐Huffman Dam (the terminus of anadromy), north of Fresno. 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. The mine produced a total value of 3 million in today’s dollars. ©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. cover under logs and overhanging banks during the day. 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. A large, sandy beach can be found at McCabe Flat Campground, as can a smaller one just downstream from Willow Placer Campground. Rainbow trout are the name of the game, with riffles and pocket water dominating. 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. Note that swimming, float tubes, and boats are not allowed because of the proximity to the dam. Campgrounds abound along the Merced River, providing affordable landing spots close to the action. At trail’s end there’s a narrow spur that climbs to a seasonal waterfall, worth the effort if still running. Visitors will have plenty to do in the Merced River RMA during every season. Located near the town of Snelling in Merced County, the Merced River Hatchery is a Chinook salmon facility along the Merced River. A gourmet picnic along the Merced’s banks serenaded by its bubbling waters is the perfect way to say hello. This is how FishingFam does social distancing. Yosemite Valley is one of the most picturesque places on earth and has much to offer any Fly Fisherman. The hike features spring wildflowers and the ever-present serenade of flowing water. 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. The information provided on this website, including directions, is done so without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Tuolumne River The Tuolumne River has one special regulation section. The waters of the Merced River above the Happy Isle footbridge follow the general California fishing regulations. Click on any of the pins on the Merced County map or narrow your search by selecting a place type (e.g. Campgrounds abound in Yosemite, but finding an empty campsite is difficult during peak season. Paddle to your heart’s desire, but beware of exposed rocks and always wear a helmet. Camping options abound along Mariposa County’s Merced River! The first step in every great adventure is setting up base camp. The Merced River is a very nice medium fishing stream in California. 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. As soon as you get very far from turnouts along the road, though, these paths become more infrequent. 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 Tioga Pass road is usually open about Memorial Day weekend, providing access to the park from the eastern side of the Sierra. Fly-fishing gear is seasonal with 5/6 weight outfits usually more then adequate. 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. 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. Fly Fishing the Merced River The Merced River is a 145 mile long tributary of the San Joaquin River in Central California. For Fishing Yosemite on the Merced River, I took along some nymphs and flies, unsure what conditions I would find. Bagby Campground where the Merced River Arm feeds Lake McClure is another worthy fishing destination be it by boat or from the bank. 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! Learning local history is another way to connect more deeply to your Merced River experience. It is an awesome river for Tanuki rod. Day Two is all about getting on the water. The 9-mile out & back Hite Cove Trail begins at the Savage Trading Post in El Portal. The Merced River carves its own waterways through Yosemite National Park, and is great for rafting, kayaking, and wading. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Current fly fishing conditions are not so good today. There are too many safe places to fish to make taking risks on treacherous terrain worthwhile. Rainbow trout are catch and release. (All with barbless hooks.) For those curious travelers determined to find out the river’s fate, Highway 140 holds the key. Hotels like Yosemite View Lodge (pictured) put you just feet from the Merced River. Away from Yosemite Valley, the Merced River flows wild & free through a dramatic canyon revealing much to explore. We all gotta nosh. Want to learn more about “The Bug”? Everything from whitewater rafting and hiking, to Merced River fishing and gold panning, all in a history-drenched setting of unmistakable beauty. Merced River From its source on the south side of Mount Lyell at 13,114 feet, through a glacially carved canyon within Yosemite National Park, the river flows downstream to Lake McClure Reservoir. The Merced River is a focal point of Yosemite Valley. Crossing the river and fishing along the opposite bank of the campgrounds … There are many activities within the watershed, including boating, fishing, camping and hiking. 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. Grab your supplies on the way up the hill at High Country Health Foods in downtown Mariposa. Some campgrounds listed above are reservable, while others are first come/first served. The lower 6 miles receives much less attention and many parts of it, hidden from view from the roads, are unknown to most tourists. The Merced River passes through one of the most scenic valleys in the world. Special fishing regulations (see below) cover the Merced River from Happy Isles to the Foresta Bridge, which is downriver in El Portal. Whitewater rafting is permitted throughout Merced River Canyon from the downstream half of Yosemite Valley to the entrance of Lake McClure. 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. 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. 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. Cable Rock Day-Use Site is a great place to swim and features a large jumping rock. From its headwaters, the River flows north and receives its tributary, Lyell Peak Fork. As an added safety measure, the flow of the Merced River can be found here. 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. 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. Merced County, California is home to 107 lakes, rivers, and other fishing spots. 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. Swimming here depends on access points and flow. We fly fish the Merced river, Tuolumne river, Stanislaus river and the Mokulmne river. El Capitan Meadow makes a good place to park and begin fishing the Merced River. Historically significant to both native peoples and European-Americans, the Hite Cove area was used by the Ahwahneechee people in winter and spring to avoid the harsh high-elevation snow before returning to Yosemite Valley in summer. (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.). 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. Bait fishing is prohibited. 5 per day limit, 10 in possession. Only barbless flies or barbless artificial lures may be used on this section of the Merced River. About 1 mile away on Incline Road is Dry Gulch Campground. 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. 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). Highway 49, Mariposa. Perched above the Merced River Canyon the Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort in Midpines is a mouthful but does not disappoint. Whitewater rafting is an exhilarating way to experience the Merced River. In addition to swimming, fishing and rafting, Railroad Flat is the starting point for great riverside hiking. The fish ladder normally opens around October 1. Contact Us PG&E River’s Edge Fishing Access: This access point is 6.2 miles beyond Snelling, next to the PG&E hydroelectric plant. Merced Lake is one of the fishiest spots I’ve been to over the years. Check with rangers about the suitability of conditions before setting out on any hike or other forest activity. Fly fishing in Yosemite for all species of Yosemite resident trout, or bass. 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. The rolling hills are dotted with oak trees and there are is wide variety of activities on the lake ranging from the Exchequer Mountain Bike Park to waterskiing. 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. All other lakes and reservoirs (including Merced Lake) are open to visitors for fishing year-round. Situated at approximately 900 feet, this spot is great for trout but also sports kokanee salmon, largemouth and spotted bass, crappie, bluegill, shad and catfish. Waterfalls feed every turn of the Merced’s meandering course, while visitors flock to its banks for picnic stops and photo ops. 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. Due to the high number of visitors, the fishing opportunities near these campgrounds are slight. Find any of the swimming holes late in the season and you’re golden. The original fish facility, completed in 1970 by the Merced Irrigation District (MID), was a Chinook salmon spawning channel designed to enhance salmon runs. There is also canoe and rowboat access. Theses are listed below. lake or stream) from the list above. 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