Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Mokelumne River
The headwaters of the Mokelumne River originates in
the Sierra Nevada mountain range as three branches
that flow into Pardee Reservoir. Below that, the
Mokelumne River enters the Camanche Reservoir in the
foothills of the Sierras. The lower river crosses
California's Central Valley flowing through Lodi and
eventually into the San Joaquin River.

The name "Mokelumne" is a Native American term from
the Miwok tribe, meaning people of the fishnet.  

The main stem above Pardee Reservoir runoff period
extends into July most years. Most of the fishing
opportunities fall between July and October.

Wild brook trout are present in most of the uppermost
areas. Rainbows are stocked but there are also plenty of
wild brown trout. They migrate out of the lake into the
upper river during early Autumn.

The tailwaters below the reservoirs (Lake Commanche)
has a Steelhead run as well as resident trout. Although
steelhead catches have been low during past years,
they have improved greatly in recent years. Chinook
Salmon are also returning to the river.

The lower river is best fished from a drift boat. One
reason is that it flows mostly through private property.

The lower river is closed from the end of March until the
end of May to protect spawning Steelhead.

The season is species dependent
Spring is generally not a good time for fly fishing the
kelumne River but can be productive during periods
of good weather provided it's done before the runoff
Summertime is usually considered the best time for
fly fishing the upper and lower Mokelumne River.
Fly fishing the Mokelumne River during the early part of
autumn is usually excellent. November starts the best
part of the steelhead season.
The tailwater of the Mokelumne River can be fished
during the winter months.
Type of Stream
Tailwater and Freestone Stream

Rainbow Trout (Wild and Stocked)
Brown Trout (Wild and Stocked)
Chinook Salmon (closed season)

Small to Medium

Westside of the Sierras

Nearest Towns

Varies according to species

Varies greatly from very difficult to
easy. Some private property.

Non-Resident License
State of California

National Weather Service Link

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Mokelumne River Fly Fishing Report:
Coming Soon