Mokelumne River Fishing Guide (What You Should Know)

The Mokelumne River’s powerful waters retain more than their fair share of trout, steelhead, and salmon as it flows west from the rough Sierra Nevada Mountain range. Every outdoor enthusiast is likely to love the river’s spectacular scenery, superb aquatic insect population, and other features. The species you are most interested in catching will have a significant impact on the ideal time to visit the Mokelumne River. Before starting your fishing trip, be sure to read our advice so you are prepared to face the feisty and active fish of the Mokelumne River. From this article, we will be sharing additional details about Mokelumne river fishing with you. Based on the facts, you may decide how to get the most out of fishing.

What is the Mokelumne river all about?

Northern California is home to the 95-mile-long Mokelumne River. The Stanislaus National Forest in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range is where the river begins to rise. Before flowing into the Camanche Reservoir, the three branches of the river reach the Pardee Reservoir. The river travels through the Central Valley before receiving the Cosumnes River as its main tributary and merging with the San Joaquin River.

The Plains Miwok tribe gave the Mokelumne River its name. Fishnet is denoted by “moke,” while the suffix “umne” denotes “people of.” The Yokuts, Miwok, and Wintun tribes were the first people to live in the region around the river. By the late 18th century, European exploration expeditions had started to visit the region, and by 1830, the first European colony had come to be. Because the Mokelumne was a significant gold-producing stream, the region drew a lot of prospectors during the Gold Rush.

Steelhead, natural and stocked rainbow and brown trout, and Chinook salmon may all be found in the Mokelumne River. The river is a well-liked location for recreational gold panning, white water kayaking, and bird viewing. Adventurers may find lots of obstacles in the neighborhood. While intrepid hikers explore the Mokelumne Wilderness, daring rock climbers scale the massive granite domes close to Salt Springs Reservoir.

If you like combining your fishing vacations with other outdoor pursuits, the Mokelumne River is a terrific option. You won’t be let down even if all you’re after is the fish the river has to offer, however.

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Best Spots for Mokelumne River Fishing

Some of the greatest places to catch steelhead on the Moke are in the 8-mile tailwater segment that is located below the Camanche Reservoir. A drift boat offers the greatest access since the river passes through privately held properties. The creek is difficult to reach by wade, but there is a productive portion close to the boat launch for the Mokelumne River hatchery. On the map above, boat launches that are open are shown.

What is the best place to go ahead with Mokelumne river fishing?

Fly fishing for resident trout in the Mokelumne River is said to be most successful during the summer. Smolt and half-pound steelhead enter and exit the river on occasion, mostly in the early autumn and then again in February through April.

Mature steelhead start to arrive in January, and superb steelhead fishing continues through the winter and into the spring when spawning starts. These fish measure 20 to 25 inches and weigh between 6 and 8 pounds.

Things you need to keep in mind before fly fishing at Mokelumne river

You may view Tricos, Pale Morning Duns, and Blue Winged Olives along the Mokelumne River. The aquatic insect population is also significantly influenced by caddisflies, with Little Blacks, Spotted Sedges, October Caddis, and Green Sedges being the most prominent species.

The majority of the mayflies and caddisflies you’ll come across may be caught on a double nymph rig made up of a tiny beadhead Pheasant Tail and a Bird’s Nest. Your twin nymph rig should be equipped with your preferred egg patterns throughout the winter.

A wide variety of dry flies, nymphs, and streamers are available at Ventures Fly Co. that will catch fish almost anyplace. Set contains a watertight fly box and 40 excellent hand-timed flies. Adams Dry Fly, Elk Hair Caddis, Blue Wing Olive, Royal Wulff, Griffith’s Gnat White, Stimulator, Organge, and Chernobyl Ant are examples of dry flies.

You may also take a look at wet flies, which include Brown Rubber Leg Nymph, BH Pheasant Tail Nymph, BH Prince Nymph, BH Hare’s Ear Nymph, Black Zebra Midge Nymph, and Barr’s Emerger Nymph

Fishing gear needed for Mokelumne river fishing

The majority of the year, fishing dry flies and nymphs on the Mokelumne River is best done with a 9-foot 5-wt fly rod and floating line. A 6-wt rod could be necessary in the winter to handle the larger steelhead, which can grow to a length of 28 inches. It’s quite common to use a tapered 9-foot leader with tippet sizes ranging from 3X to 5X to match the flies you’re casting.

Fishing regulations at the Mokelumne river

As you go ahead with Mokelumne river fishing, you should also be mindful about fishing regulations. Here are some important fishing regulations that you will need to keep in your mind before you go ahead with fishing. Adhering to these regulations can help you get the most out of your fishing adventures as well.

In order to preserve steelhead that are spawning, the lower River is blocked from the end of March to the end of May. All California residents who are 16 years of age or older must possess a current fishing license. Sport fishing permits are offered to residents and non-residents alike.

You may buy a license for one year, ten days, two days, or one day. Some locations additionally need a permission. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is the place to get the license and find out about the most recent rules.

The fishing rules and regulations at Mokelumne river can be subjected to change along with time. As a result, it is important for you to be mindful about the latest regulations and make sure that you will not run into any issues as you enjoy fishing in here. No matter what, you will be able to get an enjoyable experience with fishing at the Mokelumne river.

Planning your trip for Mokelumne river fishing

The Sacramento International Airport is the closest airport to the Mokelumne River in California. After a few picturesque hours of driving, you may fly into any big or little airport in Northern California and then arrive at your destination.

There are several camping opportunities close by because to the river’s natural splendor. The Mokelumne River Campground is situated by the River near Pioneer, California. Although visitors claim it is incredibly tranquil, you’ll need mosquito spray!

If you want to sleep inside after a long day of fly fishing, the Pioneer Inn & Suites is a great option. They include a seasonal pool and tavern on-site, along with clean rooms and helpful staff. Fishing on the Mokelumne River is likely to be a great experience since it produces a good quantity of trout and steelhead. You’ll have success battling this unusual River if you take care to match the hatch.

A well-liked access point to the Mokelumne River and for guests of the Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery is the Mokelumne River Day Use Area. At the foot of Camanche Dam, near Highway 12, approximately 15 miles east of Lodi.

Wild trout fly fishing in the Lower Mokelumne River.

Chinook salmon and steelhead with an autumn flow continue to be supported by the Lower Mokelumne. The fishing season from the day use area runs from January 1 to March 31 and from the fourth Saturday in May to October 15 in order to conserve these spawning flows. The closed times improve the salmon and steelhead fishing.

Another choice for the off-season is the Lower Mokelumne River in San Joaquin County, which is located below the hatchery. Anyone who has lived in or near California’s Central Valley is aware that a significant portion of the region’s native riparian woodland has been bulldozed for use as farming or residential construction. I discovered the Lower Mokelumne River’s shady river corridor supports diverse animal and bird species this year when floating it for the first time (including a couple barking dogs). I saw osprey, vultures, hawks, many songbirds, a vast egret, and blue heron rookery, as well as other birds.

The highlight of our excursion, though, was without a doubt coming across a large adult steelhead at the end of my 5-weight fly-rod. This buck measured just over 28 inches when we quickly measured him with the net. The Lower Mokelumne was managed as a steelhead fishery by CDFW, and the East Bay Municipal District after the Central Valley steelhead was designated as “vulnerable” under the Endangered Species Act in 1998. Previously, it had been managed as a catchable trout fishery. Be aware of private property since access to the Lower Mokelumne River is limited.

Despite the increased focus on expanding the steelhead flow, the Lower Mokelumne consistently yields a significant number of rainbow trout between 12 and 16 inches.

Final words

Now you have a clear overall understanding on how to go ahead with Mokelumne river fishing. Make sure that you agree to these details and create a solid plan. Then you will be able to use it and take your Mokelumne river fishing adventures to the next level. You will surely fall in love with the fishing adventures that you would be interested in getting as well.

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