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Fishing in the Mother Lode


The Mother Lode is surrounded by dozens of pristine lakes and reservoirs with relaxing fishing opportunities. Recreational fishing in the Mother Lode is fun for beginners and professionals alike.

With such an abundance and variety of fishing experiences awaiting you in Mother Lode California, we highly recommend contacting one of the fly shops or guide services listed here.


Phil Johnson Memorial Derby Held at Lake Don Pedro near the Blue Oak Campground at the end of May. The chairperson is Randy Bergquist, contact 916-833-1722

New Melones Kokanee Derby The chairperson is Al Millan, contact 415-279-7875

Fishing Regulations

A valid California state fishing license is needed if you are 16 or older to fish in California. Licenses are sold at sporting good outlets in many department and other retail stores. See the California Department of Fish and Game for more information.

Cherry Lake by Peter Bruce

Lake Amador

Fishing here is a big draw, Amador Lake especially, contains giant Donaldson-strain cutbow salmonids. Fish 24 hours a day 7 days a week, all year round.

Lake Camanche

Lake Camanche Fishing Lake Camanche sits in the rolling foothills of the Sierra Nevada and is located in the heart of the Motherlode.

Lake Don Pedro

Lake Don Pedro Lake Don Pedro is a Big Fish Lake and has a variety of fish…

Lake Pardee

Pardee Lake is located on the Mokelumne River. Most of the anglers that visit Lake Pardee fish for Rainbow Trout, both from shore and from boats. Rainbow Trout are stocked here regularly through a unique program with the Department of Fish and Game.

Lake Tulloch

Loaded with big fish, here you will find Largemouth Bass over ten pounds, and some Smallmouth Bass over four pounds. Tulloch is a tail water fishery that benefits from cold water releases from the much larger New Melones Lake. Bass can be found throughout the lake Rainbow trout maybe near the dam, or on the Stanislaus River inlet. During the late Winter and early Spring start Crappie fishing.

Middle Fork Stanislaus River (lower)

Beginning below Donnell Reservoir and ending downstream at its confluence with the North Fork Stanislaus River is what is called the lower part of the Stanislaus River. Most of this portion of the Middle Fork is located in steep unroaded canyons. Popular places include Donnell Reservoir, Beardsley Reservoir, Spring Gap Powerhouse and Sand Bar Flat.

Middle Fork Stanislaus River (upper)

This portion of the Middle Fork Stanislaus begins at its source above Kennedy Meadow and ends downstream at Donnell Reservoir. Highway 108 is within easy walking distance from most of this portion of the Middle Fork. The Douglas Flat Picnic Area and several parking areas offering easy access to shoreline fishing.

New Hogan

The best fishing is usually in the protected coves around the lake and rocky areas. Striped Bass are the dominant species in New Hogan Reservoir. You can see schools of striped bass boiling all over the lake. Most Stripers average four pounds, but there are much larger fish available.

New Melones

If you’re looking for a great fishing experience, New Melones is the place for you.

North Fork Stanislaus River

Rainbow trout and brown trout swim in these turbulent waters. The very rocky terrain gives experienced rafters some great class 5 whitewater rafting.

Salt Springs Valley Reservoir

Salt Springs Reservoir is located in Copperopolis and is a beautiful small lake where the current lake record for Largemouth Bass is 12.60 lbs by Deacon Fernandes. Many local Bass Clubs fish club tournaments at Salt Springs. When you locate the fish, you’ll be in for a great time!

Tuolumne River

Can be accessed from Groveland on steep, narrow, dirt roads by way of Lumsden or Cherry Lake Road. The River is not highly developed for recreation due to rugged terrain and few access points. Lower Tuolumne is great for whitewater rafting.


Fishing in Yosemite can be relaxing and exhilarating. The park has 58 permanent streams with a combined length of 770 miles. The Merced offers enjoyable fishing all summer and into the winter. Anglers hook excellent rainbow and brown trout on the Tuolomne River, especially on the stretch above Hetch Hetchy.