Subject: a day trip fish out to the middle Tuolumne river area on Cherry Lake Road above Groveland on Hwy 120 has been planned for May 18th.. There are 4 rivers along Cherry Lake Road within a 10 mile stretch and a 30 minute drive and they hold a variety of trout; both wild rainbows and browns as well as planted rainbows.. These 4 rivers are quite diverse in their flows and always offer good fishing on two or more of them, even in the middle of spring runoff. Elevation is from 2200 - 3000 ft.
The first two rivers, the South Fork Tuolumne and Middle Fork Tuolumne, are smaller and free flowing and fish best in spring and early summer when bigger rivers can be blown out. While these two rivers are heavily stocked at the bridge crossings, short hikes up river from the bridges will find wild fish. These two rivers use standard Sierra district regulations.
The South Fork of the Tuolumne River features easy fishing access where you can pursue a mixture of planted and wild trout and remote reaches to to get away from the crowds and catch wild rainbows and browns. You can fish near San Jose Family Camp for planters or drive about a mile past the Cherry Creek (Turnoff to Family Camp) and turn left on Evergreen Road. Drive up Evergreen for about ¼ mile to the first bridge and park on the right. You can walk up the South Fork for over a mile to a waterfall fishing pockets and runs for wild trout on both small dries and nymphs. A 3 wt is ideal for this area.
The main fork Tuolumne is designated as a wild and scenic river and is the biggest river in the area flowing out of Hetch Hetchy reservoir. This river offers two sections with different flows. Above Early Intake at Kirkwood powerhouse, the flows are lower and the river is managed as a wild trout fishery with artificial lures and barbless hooks only. There is a day use parking area and a well defined river trail going up river for many miles. Below Early Intake, the river has higher flows due to release from the powerhouse and uses standard Sierra district regulations.
Cherry Creek is the last river in this area and the most rugged flowing down a granite canyon from Cherry Reservoir. There are two flow sections for the river in this area. Above Rolm powerhouse, the flows are lower and access is limited by steep canyon walls, but access info will be provided to anyone interested. Below the powerhouse, the flows are higher and access is easier from the powerhouse access road where it’s about a half mile hike to the confluence of Cherry Creek and the main Tuolumne River. Cherry Creek uses standard Sierra district regulations and contains plenty of wild trout.
Travel time and distance from San Jose is about 3 hours and 150 miles. There are 3 places to stay in the immediate area; Sweetwater Campground is located on Hwy 120 about ½ mile east of Cherry Lake Road; Yosemite Riverside Inn is on Cherry Lake Road next to the bridge that crosses the Middle Fork Tuolumne; San Jose Family Camp (May be closed soon) is located off Cherry Lake Road just down stream from Yosemite Riverside Inn on the Middle Fork Tuolumne; finally, lodging in Groveland is about 20 minutes west and Yosemite National Park is about 1 hour east.
Bob Shoberg will be the fishmaster for this day trip. No food or lodging is planned. Bob will be a point of contact to let interested flycaster’s who else has contacted him about going so you can arrange car pools, see if anyone is interested in going up for more than one day, etc… FYI, A lot of the details about these rivers came from Lee Dorius.