This freestone creek is nestled in a picturesque pine tree filled valley lying at the base of 13,000 foot mountains. Perhaps 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 sections that require hiking away from the campgrounds. The CDFW plants fish near the INFS campground facilities. The SJ has a reputation of being one of the best dry fly fisheries in the region.
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 configurations. Pocket water abounds during this period, and the trout are very “opportunistic”. They 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 mayfly 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 can 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 INFS.
***Sierra Drifters Guide Service Tom Loe is under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service