Just 5.9 miles outside of Merced, California, sits Lake Yosemite – a game-fishing mecca that covers 414 acres. This artificial reservoir features its mainstay-catch, which is the largemouth bass. this bass-angler paradise also stays fully stocked with rainbow trout and brook trout from October through January. Two additional species that thrive here include blue catfish and carp.
The Tuolumne River offers a good chance to catch Rainbow and Brown Trout, especially above the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. The Tuolumne and Merced Rivers run shallow in the fall, so fishing is better on Lake Yosemite at that time. Tenaya Lake and the Hetch Hetchy reservoir are both recommended for fall fishing, and can be accessed by car. Stream and river fishing season happens from the last Saturday in April to November 15. You can fish year-round at the lakes and reservoirs. A California fishing license is needed if you are 16 or older. The licenses are available online.
There are many special regulations to note for fishing in Yosemite Park. These regulations change depending on where you are fishing inside the park, and with 58 different fishing streams, along with multiple lakes and reservoirs, it’s not easy to remember them all. There are quite a few different bag and possession limits on trout species at various points, so be sure to check beforehand. For example, a large portion of the Merced River is catch-and-release for Rainbow Trout. On Adair Lake and Hanging Basket Lake, ALL trout species are catch-and-release only, with zero in possession allowed.
Bait fishing is prohibited in Yosemite Park, meaning no live, dead, or scented bait, no minnows (live or dead) or other bait fish, non-preserved fish eggs, roe or amphibians may be used. At many areas throughout the park, only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. There is no fishing allowed from bridges, docks, or from the top of O’Shaughnessy Dam in Hetch Hetchy.