Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Merced River - Happy Isles Bridge - California

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midges Morning and Afternoon 18-22 Zebra Midges, Griffith's Gnat
Blue Winged Olives Afternoon 18-20 BWO Emerger
February Midges Morning and Afternoon 18-22 Red and Black Zebra Midges
Blue Winged Olives Afternoon 18-20 Parachute BWO
March Blue Winged Olives Afternoon 16-20 BWO Emerger, Parachute Adams
Stoneflies All Day 12-16 Pats Rubberlegs
April Blue Winged Olives Afternoon 16-20 BWO Emerger, Parachute Adams
Caddis All Day 14-18 Elk Hair Caddis, X Caddis
May Little Yellow Stones All Day 14-16 Yellow Sally, Stimulator
Caddis All Day 14-18 X Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis
June Little Yellow Stones All Day 14-16 Yellow Sally, Stimulator
Pale Morning Duns Morning and Afternoon 14-18 PMD Dry Fly, PMD Emerger
July Caddis Evening 14-18 Elk Hair Caddis, X Caddis
Little Yellow Stones All Day 14-16 Yellow Sally, Stimulator
August Caddis Evening 14-18 Elk Hair Caddis, X Caddis
Terrestrials All Day 10-14 Chernobyl Ant, Hopper Patterns
September Terrestrials All Day 10-14 Hopper Patterns, Beatle Patterns
Blue Winged Olives Afternoon 18-20 Parachute Adams, BWO Emerger
October Blue Winged Olives Afternoon 18-20 Parachute Adams, BWO Emerger
Terrestrials All Day 10-14 Hopper Patterns, Beatle Patterns
November Midges Morning and Afternoon 18-22 Zebra Midges, Griffith's Gnat
Blue Winged Olives Afternoon 18-20 BWO Emerger
December Midges Morning and Afternoon 18-22 Zebra Midges, Griffith's Gnat
Blue Winged Olives Afternoon 18-20 BWO Emerger

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

If you’re planning a bit of fly fishing, the Merced River by the Happy Isles Bridge is a great option. Aside from the breathtaking view, you can find various hot spots teeming with fish.

  • Swinging Bridge Picnic Area: This spot is upstream from the bridge. Look for the deep pools and eddies the fish love.
  • El Capitan Bridge: Less crowded than other areas, the El Capitan Bridge gives you easier access to several productive seams and riffles.
  • Sentinel Beach Picnic Area: An outstanding area for evening fishing with mayfly and caddisfly hatches in the late summer and fall.
  • Cascade Creek Confluence: This area provides excellent fishing opportunities where Cascade Creek meets the Merced River. Nymphs and dry flies work exceptionally well here.
  • Pohono Bridge: The currents below this bridge typically hold good amounts of rainbow and brown trout.

Best Access Points

The Happy Isles Bridge over the cinematic Merced River offers one of the best access points for fly fishing enthusiasts. Here are some specific suggestions for a rewarding experience:
  • Firstly, the area downstream of the Happy Isles Bridge is not commonly congested with other anglers, providing the solitude that makes fly fishing all the more enjoyable.
  • Secondly, the backdrop offered to those fishing towards the western access of the Bridge is a scenic blend of nature’s best designs. A variety of fish including trout await beneath the surface in this section of the river.
  • Finally, ease of access is another bonus point. The journey to the site is an easy-to-moderate hike from the Curry Village parking area in Yosemite Valley.
    • Happy Isles Bridge truly combines the best of Merced River fly fishing spots – tranquility, scenery, and accessibility.

Local Fish

  • Trout:
    • Brook Trout
    • Rainbow Trout
    • Brown Trout
  • Salmon:
    • Chinook Salmon
    • Coho Salmon
  • Mountain Whitefish
  • Sacramento Sucker
  • Pikeminnow
  • Sculpin
  • Chub

About The River

The Merced River – Happy Isles Bridge in Yosemite National Park brings together charming history and stunning natural beauty. The bridge, initially built in the 1920s, is steeped in history. It crosses the vigorous Merced River, a lifeline for Yosemite’s ecosystems.

During the great floods of 1997, the original bridge was destroyed only to be rebuilt later, preserving its rustic, timber frame aesthetics. A few interesting facts:

  • The bridge leads to the trailheads for Vernal and Nevada falls, drawing countless nature enthusiasts.
  • The area around the bridge features the idyllic Happy Isles Nature Center.
  • Merced River, coursing beneath the bridge, begins its 145-mile long journey in the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada.

Visitors are often captivated by the breathtaking views from the rerouted Happy Isles Bridge – a testament to nature’s resilience and man’s respect for it.

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