Sonora Pass Vacations
Lodging and Camping
Fly Fishing, Spin Casting, Bait Fishing
Where to Go to Land the Biggest Trout
1. Pinecrest Lake
Pinecrest Lake has access for anglers of all levels of experience, an abundance of "catchable" fish, and the
convenient availability of resources such as a sports shop selling bait and tackle, a marina with boats
for rent, and fish cleaning facilities.
These make Pinecrest Lake a clear winner as the number one fishing destination
along Highway 108. A fishing pier with a safety railing provides a great place for kids to fish.
2. Beardsley Reservoir
Boaters and shore fishermen alike appreciate Beardsley's deep waters and rich supply of trophy-size fish. A boat ramp
and excellent facilities make the lake a great place to fish from boats. A campground is located on the
north shore. A lake-front picnic area and swimming beach add to the attraction of Beardsley.
Learn more about fishing around Beardsley Reservoir on
Dave's Sierra Fishing at Fishing Beardsley Afterbay.
3. South Fork Stanislaus River at Strawberry
Anglers have been trying their luck and walking away with smiles here since the mid-1800s. Known for its
great fly fishing and productive waters, the 5-mile stretch of the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River
between Pinecrest Lake and Fraser Flat ranks as some of the best fishing water along
the Sonora Pass highway corridor.
Learn more about fishing the Stanislaus River on
Dave's Sierra Fishing at Fishing the South Fork of the Stanislaus.
4. Clark Fork
The Clark Fork of the Stanislaus River draws eager fishermen every summer. The Clark Fork Road runs parallel
to the stream, providing easy access to the water in some places. At other points along the road the stream
is a good distance from the pavement and requires a little adventurous hiking.
Learn more about fishing the Clark Fork on
Dave's Sierra Fishing at Fishing the Clark Fork.
5. Lyons Reservoir
Originally built to supply miners with water for the claims, Lyons Reservoir offers excellent fishing
from the shore. Boating and swimming are prohibited at Lyons Reservoir. You'll find rainbow and brown trout. Fishing
in the river upstream from Lyons Reservoir is excellent.
6. Emigrant Lake
You'll need to put in a full day of hiking - or maybe two - in order to reach Emigrant Lake, deep in the Emigrant Wilderness;
but your efforts will be rewarded with great fishing. Nearby lakes such as Huckleberry Lake, Big Lake, and Buck
Lakes are equally as good for fly fishing and spin casting.
For a map of the trail to Emigrant Lake and hiking information, see
Kennedy Meadows to Emigrant Lake
7. Middle Fork Stanislaus River
The upper reaches of the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River are favorite fishing waters for campers
at Kennedy Meadows and the Brightman Flat area near Dardanelles. 10 miles of river flow from above
Kennedy Meadow to the confluence with the Clark Fork, all of it offering good fishing for rainbow, brown
and brook trout. Access to the river is easy from Highway 108.
8. Donnell Reservoir
It's hard to reach and even harder to fish, but for those who make the effort, trophy-size trout await them.
Donnell Reservoir is located in a steep rocky canyon about 5 miles upstream from Beardsley Reservoir.
For a time in 2010-11 a landslide closed the windy dirt road to the lake, but it is now open again.
Fences and rugged terrain
make launching boats there very difficult. Some people manage to maneuver small, hand-launched craft down to
the water. There are no facilities at the lake.
In October 1964 Robert Boggeri of Hughson landed a record 17 pound, 2.5 ounce German brown trout in Donnell
Reservoir. Robert is shown left proudly displaying his catch in Strawberry. The fish measured 31.5 inches long. Anglers
from that time remembered earlier catches of about 14 pounds, but nothing to match Boggeri's. He hooked the trout
with an artificial minnow.
According to a Modesto Bee article about the catch, local shop owners Mrs. Robert S. Hunter from Strawberry and Kurt Hiser of Pinecrest
agreed that Robert Boggeri's fish was the largest ever landed in Tuolumne County.
(Photo courtesy Louis Boggeri)
9. West Walker River
The West Walker River in Mono County on the east side of Sonora Pass is a fly fisherman's paradise. Open
spaces make for easy casting. The river has rainbow, brown, and brook trout. The best fishing is in early summer
as soon as the spring runoff has subsided.
10. Fremont Lake
Located a day's hike into the Hoover Wilderness out of Leavitt Meadow, Fremont Lake makes a
great overnight backpacking and fishing destination. The lake is well known for its superior fishing for
Find out more about fishing at Fremont Lake at our sister site,
Dave"s Sierra Fishing - Fremont Lake
Fishing on Ebbetts Pass and Carson Pass
Ebbetts Pass to the north offers even more fishing possibilities. Fly fisherman find easy access to the
famous East Carson River. A number of lakes such as Lake Alpine, Kinney Reservoir, and Highland Lakes are
popular fishing destinations. To learn more,
visit our sister website
Ebbetts Pass Adventures.
Up on Carson Pass (Highway 88) you'll find excellent fishing at places like Caples Lake,
Lower Bear River Reservoir, and Silver Lake. Fly fishing is popular along the West Carson River in Hope Valley.
For fishing destinations along Carson Pass, see Up and Over Carson Pass.