Copyright 2017 James Marsh
Fly Fishing North Fork Stanislaus River
The Stanislaus River is a large tributary of the San
Joaquin River that's approximately 95 miles long. It has
north, middle and south forks that drain an area of the
western Sierra Nevada and the northern part of the San
Joaquin Valley of California. The South and Middle Forks
covered under this section of the website. The Lower
Stanislaus River is
covered under this section of the
website. There's also a Clark Fork of the Stanislaus River
covered under this section of the Perfect Fly website. This
section is about the North Fork of the Stanislaus River.

The North Fork of the Stanislaus River flows from Lake
Alpine. It's a 65 mile long river that along with the other
forks, forms the main stem of the Stanislaus River. Fly
fishing the North Fork of the Stanislaus River requires
some effort to reach its best stretches but is usually well
worth the hike to get away from the beaten easy to
access areas.

The North Fork flows through the middle of Calaveras
State Park. Outside of the park, the North Fork flows
through a very remote canyon. It joins the main stem
upstream of the New Melones Reservoir.

Highland Creek is one of its many tributaries that also
support populations of trout. Highland Creek flows
through a canyon from New Spicer Meadows dam to the
North Fork. Beaver Creek is another good tributary
stream. It has mostly smaller size wild rainbows and some
brook trout.

The main North Fork flows through a deep canyon with
lots of large boulders. It consist mostly of fast pocket
water and deep pools. If you fish the main access points,
you will likely catch mostly stocked trout. The wild trout
are more plentiful in the remote sections of the stream.

The Calaveras Big Trees State Park access is heavily
stocked with rainbows. Unless you enjoy catching them,
our advice is to fish the more remote sections well aware
from the easy access points.

Access is plentiful along Highway #4. It provides access to
both Beaver Creek and the North Fork of the Stanislause
River, yet another smaller tributary stream.

The North Fork Stanislaus River has populations of
stoneflies, caddisflies, mayflies and midges. There is a
good Golden stonefly hatch during the month of June and
Little Yellow stoneflies are plentiful in July. The most
consistent mayfly is the Pale Morning dun which hatch
from about the end of July through September. Terrestrial
insects are also important during the summer months.

Be certain to check the current seasons and regulations
that are subject to change from year to year.
Spring is a good time to catch the North Fork of the
Stanislaus River's trout due to the aquatic insect hatches.
Runoff can adversely affect the fishing. It normally takes
place in June.
Fly fishing the North Fork Stanislaus River for trout
continues to be good throughout the Summer.
Early Fall is good, especially for the North Fork's Brown
trout which spawn in the Fall.
Type of Stream

Rainbow Trout (Wild and Stocked)
Brook Trout (Wild nd Stocked)
Brown Trout (Wild and Stocked)

Small to Medium

Central California

Nearest Towns

General Trout Season - Last Sat.
April through Nov 15th

Good but it's best to hike into the
remote sections

Non-Resident License
State of California

National Weather Service Link

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North Fork Stanislaus River Fishing
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Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

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