Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Tuolumne River - Above Kirkwood Bridge - California

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

Water Flow Chart

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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

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Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midges Afternoon #18-22 Trico Spinners, Griffith's Gnats
February Midges Afternoon #18-22 Trico Spinners, Zebra Midges
March Midges Afternoon #18-22 Trico Spinners, Zebra Midges
Blue Wing Olives Afternoon #14-18 Blue Wing Olive
April Blue Wing Olives Afternoon #14-18 Blue Wing Olive
Caddis Afternoon #14-18 Holy Grail Caddis
May Caddis Afternoon #14-18 Holy Grail Caddis
Stoneflies Afternoon #8-12 Golden Stone
June Stoneflies Morning #8-12 Golden Stone
Mayflies Mid-day #14-18 Adams
July Terrestrials Mid-day #8-12 Hopper patterns
August Terrestrials Mid-day #8-12 Ants, Beetles
September Terrestrials Mid-day #8-12 Ants, Beetles
October Blue Wing Olives Afternoon #14-18 Blue Wing Olive
November Blue Wing Olives Afternoon #14-18 Blue Wing Olive
December Midges Afternoon #18-22 Trico Spinners, Griffith's Gnats

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

Fly fishing in the Tuolumne River, specifically above the Kirkwood Bridge, is a remarkable experience. Several hot spots serve as a haven for anglers.

  • Cherry Creek: A genuinely wild tributary of the Tuolumne River, Cherry Creek presents a cast and hike type adventure for experienced anglers. Full of rainbows and browns.
  • Clement Junction: Situated a few miles above the Kirkwood Bridge, this spot is abundant with wild trout.
  • Preston Falls: A 4-mile trail above the South Fork of the Tuolumne offers a remarkable fishing experience. This trail is also a great angle for Brown and Rainbow Trout.
  • Lost Claim Campground: This waterway is an excellent locale for beginners with abundant trout.
  • Middle Fork: A bit of a journey, but loaded with large Rainbow and Brown Trout plus stunning views.

Remember to pack your fly fishing gear and your California fishing license to enjoy these fabulous locations.

Best Access Points

The Tuolumne River, Above Kirkwood Bridge, presents certain prime access points for fly fishing:

  • Sierra Mac River Trips Launch Site: An easy access point for beginners with provision of guided tours.
  • Meral’s Pool: Located approximately 1.5 miles downstream of Kirkwood Bridge. Known for abundant aquatic insects which attract a variety of fish species.
  • North Fork Confluence: Roughly 2.5 miles downstream of Meral’s Pool. Pristine waters and rich with several types of trout.
  • Lumsden Bridge: Situated upstream of the South Fork of the Tuolumne River. Famously known for its brown trout population.
  • Cherry Creek Confluence: Approximately 1 mile downstream from Lumberton Bridge. Rocky terrain but ideal for catching large, native trout.

Please note that the water levels and fish abound vary seasonally. Always comply with local fishing laws and respect the fragile ecosystem.

Local Fish

  • Trout: The river houses various types of trout including Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout.
  • Mountain Whitefish: A species that is well-adapted to fast flowing river sections.
  • Pacific Lamprey: This primitive fish is sometimes pursued as a challenge due to its unconventional feeding habits.
  • Striped Bass: Although not the dominant species in the Tuolumne River, it offers a thrilling fishing experience due to their size and strength.
  • Steelhead: This sea run form of Rainbow Trout is considered a prized catch because of their fight when hooked and their taste.
  • Chinook Salmon: Also known as King Salmon, Chinook are one of the larger species targeted by fishermen in the Tuolumne River.
  • Green Sturgeon: Tuolumne River is habitat home for Green Sturgeon, a species dating back to the dinosaurs.
  • Smelt: Known for their unique dance-like spawning, Smelt offers a different kind of fly fishing experience on the river.

About The River

The Tuolumne River is a crown jewel tucked within the heart of California. Nested above Kirkwood Bridge, it offers an echo of serene wilderness and history.

Originating from Sierra Nevada’s glacial high country, the Tuolumne River runs 150 miles long, traversing through picturesque valleys and canyons along its path. The upper stretches were home to people of the Me-Wuk tribe, who subsisted on the abundant fish and game.

  • The river took center stage during the Gold Rush, serving as a water and transportation route for aspiring miners and settlers.
  • In the 19th century, it was harnessed for its hydraulic energy potential, driving the development of the region.
  • Furthermore, the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir was created by damming a portion of the river, securing San Francisco’s water supply until today.

Today, it’s a prized site for rafting, wilderness camping, and fishing, all while resonating with America’s rich cultural and natural history.


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