Wild Trout Camp: Fly Fishing at Its Best

Come to Trout Camp and experience a world-class fly fishing adventure, for beginners and experts alike. Gather your gear, learn techniques, and finetune your cast in a stunning San Joaquin River environment. You're unlikely to forget this pristine wilderness setting and the exhilarating catches you experience there.

Experience Trout Fishing Camp: A World-Class Fly Fishing Adventure

Trout Camp is the perfect place for a unique but time-tested fly fishing trip, led by some of the best guides in the industry. In addition to fly fishing in one of the most sought-after fly fishing destinations in the world, you'll enjoy discovering the stunning San Joaquin River Watershed, with its vibrant flora, fauna and fish. Our Trout Camp aims to deliver an experience that promises both excitement and serenity – and reliably does precisely that.

Fly Fishing Camp Dates and Location

Pack your bags for an unforgettable week of fly fishing thrills and serene beauty at one of the most enjoyable fly fishing camps in the world (in our opinion); wild Trout Camp. Taking place from September 19th to October 15th during prime fishing season, our "camp" is not a camp at all, as we stay at the very comfortable Mono Hot Springs resort. The resort is on the banks of the South Fork of the San Joaquin river.

As you come over Kaiser Pass and see Vermillion Valley everything in view drains down the San Joaquin River. The main attraction in the area in the fall is the lake run brown trout. Edison and Florence lakes both have great populations of browns. These fish will start to head up (see video below) into the lake tributaries in mid-September. This is when TC begins. Both lakes also have great tailwater fisheries.

San Joaquin River

Target Fish Species

Like we mentioned earlier, at Trout Camp you can anticipate primarily browns, but also a variety of other fish species like wild rainbows, brookies and golden trout.
For any fly fisherman looking to maximize their chances, gathering the right information about local hatches, ideal times, fishing holes, and tried and true flies is key - all of which our guides can help you with. With some skillful guidance and casting in this renowned world-class fishery paradise, it won’t take long before you’re making memories that will last forever.

Central Valley Rivers Trout

Exploring the San Joaquin River Watershed

Embark on a journey of discovery in the incredible San Joaquin River Watershed, which spans over 15,880 miles. Fly fishing enthusiasts and novices alike can explore its four main forks - Middle Fork, North Fork, South Fork and Main Fork, all with unique features that will delight any angler. Those seeking a memorable experience should visit Trout Camp for some true fly fishing bliss as they search for trout or other species while being surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Prepare to uncover secret gems throughout your adventure along the different branches of this beautiful river – an anglers’ paradise awaits! But how does one fork differ from the others? Let's start with the middle.

Middle Fork: The Most Accessible Destination

The Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River, positioned near Devils Postpile National Monument and Reds Meadow, is easily accessible via Road 203. Ideal for all ages and experience levels of fly fishers. It’s a peaceful retreat flowing from Thousand Island Lake in the Ansel Adams Wilderness area into its crystal-clear waters, creating an exceptional backdrop to your activity.
Wade into the tranquil and stunningly beautiful waters in the San Joaquin Watershed, and enjoy the experience of a lifetime.

Fly Fishing San Joaquin River

North Fork: A Wilderness Stream Experience

Fishing enthusiasts seeking a genuine wilderness experience will find just what they’re looking for in the North Fork of the San Joaquin River. Located remotely and ruggedly within the Sierra Nevada, this fork has much to offer with wild rainbow trout populating its lower and middle regions while brook trout reside higher up, as well as two lakes featuring golden varieties.

The beauty is that there’s no road access, which helps preserve an isolated ecosystem. It's perfect for those who enjoy fly fishing out in the heart of an unspoiled, uncivilized part of nature. Discovering all these hidden gems make activities at the San Joaquin watershed incredibly rewarding.

Winter Steelhead Trout Fishing

South Fork: The Largest Arm of the San Joaquin

The magnificent South Fork of the San Joaquin River is an absolute must for any angler looking to make a catch. The pristine river, hidden away in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, teems with a variety of fish species including rainbow trout, brown trout and brook trout, an ideal variety for your next fly fishing trip!

If you’re searching for something other than salmon or steelhead at the South Fork, then don’t worry. It also offers largemouth bass and smallmouth bass too! It’s nothing short of fly fishing paradise here in this region’s waters. Don't miss out if you can help it – treat yourself by exploring all that this beautiful spot has to offer.

San Joaquin River

Main Fork: Catch the Largest Fish

Fishermen from all over flock to the Main Fork of the San Joaquin River for a shot at reeling in some impressive catches. Known as Central California’s longest river, it is home to an abundant array of fish species that are most active during spring and fall seasons. This makes it one of angling’s finest locations - perfect for those looking for a fun and unforgettable fishing experience. So make sure to take your chance at catching the big ones only found here!

Interested in Yosemite National Park? Discover fly fishing in Yosemite here!


Hatches and Flies: Match the Hatch for Success

Fly fishing success is largely dependent on an angler’s ability to accurately match the hatch. That is, matching your fly to what fish are feeding upon. To gain a deeper understanding of this technique, feel free to take some time before Trout Camp to study up on local hatches and corresponding flies that can be used in the area.

Once at camp, observe the insects nearby and in the water (and the trout as they feed whenever possible). Using those insights, you can confidently choose the patterns most likely to attract fish. And that's how you maximize your chances of a great outing, by matching the hatch.

Early Season Hatches

Fly fishing in the San Joaquin River Watershed can be immensely rewarding during early season hatches like Golden Stone Flies and Blue-winged Olives. Mimicking these insects requires a fly of the appropriate size, color, and technique.
It helps to search these insects online and even watch videos of the insects, as well as videos about the patterns that represent them best. But nothing can replace observing these insects in their natural habitat, and trial and error with the flies you tie or purchase. (Getting restless waiting for early season fly fishing? Check out our winter Steelhead and Trout options.)

Eastern Sierra Trout

Post-Runoff Hatches

When the runoff ends, anglers can reap bountiful benefits from post-runoff hatches. Aquatic insects are abundant and provide an excellent chance to catch fish at Trout Camp.
To make sure you have a successful fishing trip during this period, pay attention to water temperature and the type of insects hatching in order to choose the right fly to match them. Find out when these insects will be most active to exponentially increase your chances of catching trout.

Yosemite Dana Fork Trout
Yellowstone River SIgns

Closing Thoughts

Trout Camp offers the ultimate fly fishing experience in the San Joaquin River Watershed. Guests will learn an array of important skills and put them into action, while discovering its many branches. There, you'll enjoy the beauty of nature, and amazing fly fishing under expert guidance. With a bit of enthusiasm and patience, you’ll be able to unlock the best of what this pristine location has to offer!

Interested in Kings River fly fishing? Learn more here.

Start Planning Your Northern California Fly Fishing Trip Today

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Plan a fly fishing adventure of a lifetime. Secure your spot for a guided fly fishing trip in Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, or the High Sierra, and immerse yourself in some of the most spectacular fishing grounds California has to offer!

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