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Fish await in foothills, Sierra lakes and rivers
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209 reporter

So you’ve made the decision that you’re going to now go fishing.

But where do you go?

Fortunately for anglers living in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, the options are plentiful with the Sierra Nevada foothills just roughly an hour away.  

And it’s there that you’ll find some truly amazing places that will give you all of the beauty and serenity of mother nature coupled with the convenience of not having to drive long distances to spend your day near the water.

Here are some places worth checking out if you’re looking for a fun day of fishing without the headache of driving three hours to get to some of the more popular fisheries in Northern California.

*Beardsley Reservoir and the Beardsley Afterbay – Just 90 minutes up Highway 108 awaits a lake that is popular with anglers from all over the region. Situated on the middle fork of the Stanislaus River, Beardsley provides wonderful opportunities for boat or bank fishermen who are looking to hook up with the trout of their dreams. And it’s not a bad drive – just about 30 minutes past Sonora on a beautiful mountain drive that winds through some of the most beautiful country around. If it’s more of a challenge that you’re looking for, the Beardsley Afterbay, which collects the water that is released from the power-generating dam, provides world-class fishing for those using artificial, barbless lures and flies. That section of the river has a limit of only two fish per day, and fish that are kept must be a minimum of 14 inches.

*Knights Ferry – It’s a popular destination for people looking to enjoy the Stanislaus River, but it’s also a wonderful place to go fishing. While the section of the river south of Knights Ferry is one of the most regulated in the area – no trout or salmon can be taken, and fisherman must use artificial lures with barbless hooks – it’s one of the most picturesque fishing holes and areas around and it’s hard to beat the 45 minute drive to get there. If you’re a fly fisherman that knows how to work a streamer or drift a nymph, then you’re in heaven. Just make sure to check the fishing regulations if you’re planning on putting a line in the water, because breaking the rules can have a steep price.

*Lower Mokelumne River – Just below Camanche Reservoir exists a stretch of the Mokelumne River that is popular with fly fishermen who want the challenge of hooking up with a salmon or steelhead. It’s relatively easy to get to, but it’s important to read up on the regulations before putting a line in the water. The California Department of Fish and Game actually raises Chinook salmon and steelhead to plant in the river, but fishing for them is allowed during certain seasons throughout the year. The fishing for both is currently open through October. The lake is accessible by taking Highway 12 East.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.