Heaven and High Water – Part IV

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

In Part III we described Tenaya Creek. In this final section we feature another main Merced river tributary in the Valley, Yosemite Creek.

Yosemite Creek

Yosemite Creek enters the valley in unrivaled style, doing a screaming plunge off the rim 3000 feet above, all but disappearing into a wild mist, then barreling down on a bridgeful of tourists at the bottom of the lower plunge. As a result of its showmanship, a quick glance at Yosemite Falls tells you about how much water is feeding the half-mile-or-less of creek between the fall’s base and the Merced.

You can get an idea in advance by viewing a falls webcam, and comparing it to my photo of the falls:

https://www.yosemiteconservancy.org/webcams/yosemite-falls

Although the creek nearly dries up in late summer, river fish do enter Yosemite Creek to forage, when there’s enough water. This creek was the most fishable of the three waters I scouted during my 3300-4000 CFS weekend. Note that there would be a number of people on trails near this tree-shaded water, especially in the afternoon. I did not fish this creek, as I’d burned my time elsewhere that morning.

One’s first serious attempt to fish any area in early spring is often met with “exploratory” results. I hope my findings can help temper expectations or guide trip scheduling so that success is more assured. All things considered, I’d adjust my next attempt in the following ways: (1) I’d wait for flow rates at Pohono that are below 2000 CFS (even if that means mid-summer), and (2) I’d fish the Merced between Happy Isles and Tenaya Creek. It’s freestone in that area and there seem to be more options for casting to fishy-looking water. If I can delay a trip until the road to Tioga Pass is open, I’d go up high and fish terrestrial dry’s in or near Tuolumne Meadows. (That water is all still neck-deep in snow in April.)

If you’re in the park and you timed your trip wrong for fishing, or you just get bored with it and crave 4000 feet of yawning abyss below your feet, climb Half Dome and stand out on the “diving board.” I did it some years back. I was the bravest thing you ever saw for a number of seconds.

NOTE FROM J STOCKARD: You can read Part I, Part II and Part III of this post now.

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