This freestone creek is nestled in a picturesque pine tree filled valley lying at the base of 13,000 foot mountains. It is the most gorgeous setting you could imagine to fly fish for trout. The Joaquin offers a variety of fishing opportunities for both novice and experienced anglers. Wild trout thrive in the river sections away from the campgrounds. The Cal DFG plants fish along the banks of the many improved USFS campground facilities and they are easy to fool on a number of rigs.
The San Joaquin can be a monster during high run-off and you do not want to wade this river when it is raging. During the mid-summer and fall months this river can get very gentle with ideal riffle/pool scenarios that are a blast to drop most dry fly imitations into. Pocket water abounds during this period and the trout are very “opportunistic” and will aggressively hit most dries and nymphs in the #14-18 range. During lower flows the water will be gin clear and longer upstream casts may be necessary to fool the wild fish.
Attractor patterns such as Trudes and Royal Wolfe’s; caddis and may fly imitations will all get looks. There are also plenty of hoppers, ants, and beetles for the summer month terrestrial patterns. Dry dropper nymph rigs are deadly here in the deeper pools and these will get you the larger wild and holdover fish.
Take Hwy 395 and exit at Hwy 203 to Mammoth Lakes CA. Follow the signs to Devils Post Pile National Monument and Reds Meadow. You will pass the Mammoth Mountain Ski area. There are vehicle restrictions and a daily use fee that goes to the USFS.
***Sierra Drifters Guide Service Tom Loe is under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service