The upper American River watershed consists of three forks: the North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork. Of the three, the South Fork allows the best access as it parallels US Hwy 50 between Sacramento, CA and Lake Tahoe. Here there are many turnouts where you can park your vehicle and scamper down the embankment to fish the river below. In the section upstream from the community of Kyburz, the river runs through a deep gorge which is relatively inaccessible. The California Department of Fish & Game plants several sections along Hwy 50, usually at the bridges or campgrounds along the way. The water gets low and warm as you get into August, so the best fishing is in the Spring, Fall & Winter. Of the three forks, the middle fork and the south fork have the most reliable flows and some of the best fishing The middle fork, runs through a deep canyon and though it can only be easily accessed in a few spots with a little walking you can get to some excellent fishing. The upper reaches of the middle fork are accessed either from the dam at French Meadows Reservoir or from the inlet to the reservoir. The road parallels the middle fork above the lake
Bill says that the basic six fly patterns are all you need to fish the three forks. If your fly box holds an Adams Parachute (or tied tan for PMDs), Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Ant for dries and a Pheasant Tail, Caddis Pupa, and a Stonefly for nymphs you will be in good shape.
There is a lot more to the
American River than the famous lower section so if you live in the area
and are sitting around wondering where you can go fly fishing, remember
that the three forks of upper American has some great fishing.
For those who want to do it the easy way, fish the south fork that
runs along Hwy 50.