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photo by Greg Vinci

Southern California Edison, needing a source of power to run LAís extensive street car system (itís hard to believe that LA was at one time pioneer in public transportation) began the ďBig CreekĒ hydroelectric construction project that included creating a reservoir right on the south fork of the San Joaquin River, which was at the time the largest project of its type in the country.  Over the years several additional reservoirs were created and were linked by an elaborate tunnel system that transferred water to their respective powerhouses.  The dam that was built on the San Joaquin created lake Florence Lake. Though the lake inundated a beautiful canyon, the relatively stable flows of the tailwater created a wonderful aquatic habitat that is beneficial to both bugs and fish.  When many Sierra waters warm up late in the summer, the waters of the San Joaquin below Florence Lake remain nice and cool.  

Some of the local creeks are very accessible by car and some you have to hike or 4-wheel in to.  Mono Creek which flows out of Lake Thomas A. Edison and Bear Creek have good fishing too.  Mono Creek is easily accessible by car.  The San Joaquin is very accessible by road, though to get to the quality water you have to walk a bit. 

One of the nice things about the waters at elevation of this drainage is that due to the glacier scoured aspect if the areaís geology, there is relatively little riparian vegetation to interfere with your casts making it a very user friendly place for fly fishermen.  Often times you can equate the lack of shore-side vegetation with less aquatic and terrestrial bug life, which negatively impacts the population and size of the fish, but for some reason it hasnít happened here.  These waters were just filled with fish, both Brookies and Rainbows.  There is some stocking of rainbows in a few places, but generally speaking the great majority of the fish are all wild.

This is a great place to fish your three and four weight rods.  Fly selection is easy as these fish are very opportunistic and will try to grab anything that resembles a food source.  Attractor patterns such as Royal Wulffs, Adams (both Catskill ties and Parachutes), Renegades etc. will do the trick on top.  In the unusual circumstance that the fish get picky, any terrestrial pattern such as an ant or beetle will work.  For nymphing, Pheasant Tails, Caddis pupa's and midge patterns work well. 

 The west slope of the Sierra east of Fresno, CA has lots of fishing opportunities that are under utilized.  Where waters of the northern and eastern Sierra can get crowded, here you can find all of the solitude you want and still catch lots of fish.  If you live in the southern California area and always find yourself heading up the east slope to fish, for a change, give the west slope a try.  For all others, it is good to keep in mind that the southern half of the Sierras offer the same quality of fishing but with fewer fishermen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTEBOOK

 

When:

Last Saturday in April to November 15th.

Log on to http://dfg.ca.gov/regulations/

 

Where:

Getting to the Huntington Lake area is easy.  If coming from Southern California, travel north on Hwy 5 to its split with Hwy 99 and take Hwy 99 towards Fresno.   Just south of Fresno, exit on to Hwy 41 towards Yosemite and take it to Hwy 180.  Go east on 180 for a short while to Hwy 168.  Take 168 north-east for about 70 miles to Huntington Lake.  If traveling from the north, take Hwy 99 to Madera and exit at Hwy 145.  Take 145 east for about twenty five miles to Hwy 168.  Take 168 north east for about 80 miles to Huntington Lake.   To access the area covered in this article that lies east of Huntington Lake, take Kaiser Pass Rd..  I very much recommend that you consult a quality map of the area before you go.  Kaiser Pass Rd. is some times not cleared of snow until late June so it is very advisable to call ahead before planning a trip. 

 

Headquarters:

Lakeshore, Huntington Lake, CA

 

Good Eats:

Cedar Crest Resort

61011 Cedar Crest Lane, Sierra, CA

(559) 893-3233

 

Shaver Lake Pizza

41820 Tollhouse Rd, Shaver Lake, CA

(559) 841-7249

 

Trappers On the Point

44185 California 168, Shaver Lake, CA

(559) 841-4141

 

Hungry Hut  

42008 Tollhouse Road, Shaver Lake, CA

(559) 841-3586

 

 

Musick Creek Inn & Chalet's

41325 Tollhouse Road, Shaver Lake, CA (559) 841-3323

 

Trading Post

Tollhouse Rd, Sierra, CA 93667

(559) 841-5394

 

 

Mono Hot Springs Resort

Visit web site for directions and information-http://www.monohotsprings.com/

(559)325-1710

 

Vermilion Valley Resort (@ Edison Lake)

Visit web site for directions and information- http://www.edisonlake.com/

(559)259-4000

 

Where to Stay:

Lakeshore Resort

61953 Huntington Lake Road, CA (559) 893-3193

 

Tamarack Motor Lodge

55380 Flintridge road, Lakeshore, CA (559) 893-3244

 

Cedar Crest Resort

61011 Cedar Crest Lane, Sierra, CA (559) 893-3233

 

Sierra Summit Mountain Resort

59265 California 168, CA (559) 233-2500

 

Huntington Lake Resort Marina

58910 Huntington Lake Road, CA (559) 893-6750


Lakeview Cottages

Huntington Lodge Rd, Shaver, CA (559) 553-3550

 

 

Mono Hot Springs Resort

Visit web site for directions and information-www.monohotsprings.com/

(559)325-1710

 

Vermilion Valley Resort (@ Edison Lake)

Visit web site for directions and information-www.edisonlake.com/

(559)259-4000

 

Muir Trail Ranch

Visit web site for directions and information-www.muirtrailranch.com

(209) 966-3195 966-

 

 

Camping:

Many campgrounds are in the area Log the following US Forest Service web page http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sierra/recreation/camping/campsbyarea.shtml lists all of the campgrounds in the area.  Campgrounds in the Huntington Lake and Florence Lake areas are the closest to the waters discussed in this article.

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Appropriate Gear: 2-4 weight rods with floating line and a tapered leader with a 5X tippet.  Bring 6X tippet for later in the summer when trout can be skittish.  

 

Useful Fly Patterns:

Dries: Royal Wulff #14 & #16, Elk Hair Caddis #14 & #16, Yellow Humpy #14 & #16, Adams Parachute #14 & #16, Ginger Paradun #14 & #16, Gray Hackle Peacock #14 & #16. Stimulator #8 & #10.  Generic ant & beetle patterns.  

Nymphs: Bead Head Pheasant Tail #14 & #16 & #18.  X-Ray Caddis (larva) Green  or Tan #16,  Mercerís Poxy Back Golden Stone #10,  Bead Head Prince #10-#16.  Vinciís Depth Charge Birdís Nest #10-#16. 

 

Necessary Accessories:

Waders are not necessary in mid summer though recommended in the early spring.  A net can make handling fish easier, and itís easier on the fish.  Mosquito repellent in the spring, sunscreen, and hydrating fluids.  Rain gear. 

 

License:

California Resident: 1 day-$13.40, 2 day-$20.75, Annual-$41.20.  Non

Resident: 1 day-$13.40, Annual-$110.80.

 

Fly Shops & Guides & Instruction:

Shaver Lake Sports

41698 Tollhouse Rd.

Shaver Lake, CA 93664

(559)841-2740

 

Mono Hot Springs-Store

(559)325-1710

 

Sierra Fly Fisher

Jimmie Morales/Guide

www.sierraflyfisher.com

(559)683-7664

 

Informational Sources:

www.California-FlyFishing.com/SanJoaquinS.htm

 

Trout Fishing the John Muir Trail-by Steve Beck

 

Fly Fishing the Sierra Nevada-by Bill Sunderland

 

Californiaís Best Fly Fishing Waters-by Wilderness Adventures Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://asset.sce.com/Documents/Environment%20-%20Power%20Generation/FS_TheHistoryCultureofBigCreek.pdf

 

 

http://www.sce.com/PowerandEnvironment/PowerGeneration/BigCreekHydro/Relicensing/documentation.htm#factsheets