Best time to visit Yosemite

Fishing in Yosemite 2024

Yosemite offers some of the most scenic fishing in the world

Best time: late April–mid-November


With countless lakes, rivers, and streams scattered through out the park, Yosemite offers fishing experiences for every angler. You’re most likely to catch rainbow, brook, and brown trout within the park. Fly fishing in Yosemite for brown trout and rainbow is available along the Merced and Tuolumne rivers, the South Fork of the Merced River, Merced, Tenaya, Eleanor lakes, Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, Lyell, and Dana Forks. Some rivers and lakes also have large populations of cutthroat and golden trout.

The fishing season for Yosemite’s rivers and streams opens on the last Saturday in April and goes up to November 15, while all lakes and reservoirs are open to fishing year-round. An exception is Frog Creek near Lake Eleanor, which opens on June 15.

It is important to remember that to fish in Yosemite National Park, you must possess a valid California fishing license. You can purchase a license at the Mountain Shop in Half Dome Village, the Pioneer Gift & Grocery in Wawona, or online through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In addition to California state laws, special fishing regulations apply inside the national park and must be studied carefully in advance. You can find numerous fishing and outdoor stores in the park, which provide everything you may need for some world-class fishing.

Practical info

What is the best time of year to go fishing in Yosemite?

Late April to mid-November is the ideal time to go fishing in Yosemite National Park. The season for rivers and streams commences on the last Saturday of April and lasts until November 15, while all lakes and reservoirs are open year-round. Avoid fishing during the winter months when the rivers experience significant snowmelt, leading to high water levels and tough fishing conditions. Show more

Where can I purchase a California fishing license in the park?

You can buy a California state fishing license at the Mountain Shop in Half Dome Village or Pioneer Gift & Grocery in Wawona. Alternatively, purchase the permit online from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Remember that while fishing in the park, you must adhere to all state and national regulations and keep your fishing license on you at all times. Show more

Can I fish in Yosemite year-round?

Fishing is allowed year-round in most of the rivers, streams, and lakes of Yosemite except for Frog Creek near Lake Eleanor, which opens on June 15. While each area within the park may have unique regulations, it is generally recommended to avoid fishing during winter months due to substantial snowmelt, which raises water levels and results in challenging fishing conditions. Show more

What types of fish can be caught in Yosemite's streams and lakes?

Yosemite's rivers, streams, and lakes provide excellent and diverse fishing opportunities. Anglers can typically catch rainbow, brook, and brown trout, with brown and rainbow trout being the most common. Some areas may also have cutthroat and golden trout. Before embarking on your fishing trip, be sure to check with the park for specific species rules and regulations along with unique fishing experiences in each area. Show more

Are there any special fishing regulations within Yosemite that I should know about?

In addition to California state fishing laws, Yosemite National Park has specific regulations that anglers must adhere to while fishing. The park has a catch and release policy for rainbow trout and requires using only single, barbless hook artificial lures while fishing for brown and rainbow trout. Some areas within the park have gear restrictions and seasonal closures, so it's essential to familiarize yourself with the park's rules and regulations before setting out on your fishing expedition. Show more

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