Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Clavey River California
The Clavey River begins at more than 9,000 feet in the
Emigrant Wilderness in the Sierra Nevada from
slow-melting ice and snow. It's formed mostly by the
confluence of Bell Creek and Lily Creek. The Clavey
River is a thirty-one mile long tributary of the Tuolumne
River and still harbors a pre-glacial remnant population
of coastal rainbow trout. It's a designated wild trout
stream and one of California's few truly freestone
Most of its water flows through the Stanislaus National
Forest. Only a very small percentage flows through
privately owned property. It can be accessed by road in
only a few places. Cottonwood Road and Long Barn
Road provide the most access. Most of its water flows
through very remote country.
As the Clavey descends in its upper headwaters area, its
flow is aided by small tributary streams. It flows through
Bell Meadow, a beautiful area of aspen groves, pines,
cedar and fir forests. From there the Clavey River drops
at a steep decline and flows through a deep, canyon that
is difficult to access. .
If you fish this river, you should have a map. There are
many unpaved roads that wonder through the forest.
Access to the river is easy from the two paved road
crossings, but the majority of the river is situated in a
remote canyon without trails.
Fly Fishing the Clavey River can be a wonderful
experience for those who enjoy remote country and
plenty of solitude. The fish average a relatively small size
but they are plentiful and fairly easy to catch. The
Clavey River was one of the first six "Heritage Trout
Waters" designated by the Fish and Game Commission,
recognizing the abundant, native coastal rainbow trout
that are present.
In its lower section, the river cascades down through
oak-studded grasslands to its remote confluence with
the Tuolumne River.
The general trout season is from the last Saturday in
April through November 15.
Springtime usually brings about some tough fishing
conditions due to the runoff. There's some fishing
opportunity prior to the runoff.
Summertime is the best time for fly fishing the Clavey
River. The best fishing takes place Just after runoff ends
and on through the Summer.
Fly fishing the Clavey River during the early Fall can
also be productive.
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Photo Courtesy of Stephen Lamb
Clavey River California
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