I'm a pretty keen trout fisho from South Australia. Our stream fishing here is pretty average - under 3 foot of rain a year results in only a few rivers being suitable for trout! A trophy trout here is around the 4-5lb mark, but these fish are very few and far between. My best is 18 inches, but this fish only came just under 3lb.
I'll be doing a trip with the Mrs. through California in April. One part of the trip is a loop from Los Angeles, along the coast up to San Francisco. But the good part - on the way back we'll be going through Yosemite, King's Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, camping and hiking our way through. But I managed a clearance to spend either a whole or half day on a tour somewhere out of those three parks
How will I go doing this in April? How does the snow melting effect fishing?
Here in Oz the springtime is what we all look forward to, with hatches everywhere and the oppurtunity to fish rivers that have some water in them! But from what I'm reading, spring isn't altogether ideal?
I'm finding there are a host of streams and companies that offer tours through the national parks I've mentioned - has anyone got any recommendations or advice at all, regarding which guide, or which rivers to fish?
Looking at the pictures of the streams in these national parks has my mouth watering - we have nothing like this in South Oz!
April is really early. Worst case, many places will still have roads closed due to snow. Yosemite, Tioga pass usually doesn't open until Memorial Day (last weekend in May) depoending on the snow pack it could be later. So, the upper section (where I used to backpack) is still closed.
The flip side, water will really be moving if the snow is melting, blowing out a lot of streams. You probably won't know how the snow melt is going until you get here.
Sequoia - I've never been that early, but it is lower in elevation. My guess is not the prime time to go either.
I'm not sure what to make of it from the reading I've been doing - seems there are pros and cons of going in April. Plan is to be there from around the 18th or so - most things open 'mid-April', so I guess we might get lucky.
Being from South Oz the prospect of being in a bit of snow is pretty attractive though! Only seen the stuff a few times in my life.
If anyone has any experience or advice of this area, not even fishing-wise, please shout out!
depending on which route you plan Tioga and Sonora Passes will probably be still closed with the amount of snow that is hitting the Sierras this year so the east side might be harder to get to but if you go a little north of Tioga Pass on Hwy 395 by Bridgeport the East Walker is open year round and it is a great fishery. I believe Hot Creek and the Upper Owens are open year round also and those two are on the east side of the Sierras by Mammoth Lakes.
Hope you enjoy your visit to the States. I normally fish somewhere in Yosemite National Park on Memorial Day (end of May) and/or Independence Day (July 4). The Merced River is typically running very high and fast, especially if we have had a big snow winter, as we have this year. Wading can be dangerous, but if you work the quiet edges of the river carefully, you can pickup a few fish. April will be even higher water, so do be careful.
Yes, our trout season opens in April, so you might be restricted on where you can fish. The Kern River a couple hundred miles north of LA is open year round. Someone already mentioned Hot Creek and the Lower Owens River. Of those, the upper Kern above the Johnsondale Bridge is probably the most interesting backpacking country. Hot Creek doesn't wander far from the road, though since they usually don't clear the last mile during the winter, I suppose you could. You'll need to check if they allow overnight camping in there. Ditto on the Lower Owens, but much of it isn't far from the road, so it wouldn't be a great backpacking experience. Maybe down in the canyon section.
As far as backpacking is concerned, you'll almost certainly encounter snow that early in the year, at least at the higher elevations. Parts of the Sierra currently have 20+ feet of snow on the ground this year. Sounds like snowshoes and winter camping gear to me.
I can't speak to Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Parks.
Scottie: You might take a look at the Truckee River over by Truckee, CA to Reno, NV. We have lots of folks on this forum that fish over there so maybe they will chime in and make a recommendation on that river for fishing in mid-April!
Here is a link to a huge brown caught on that river this past year, scroll all the way to the bottom: Brown Trout Pics
We are getting so much snow in the Sierras this year that there will still be snow in April in a lot of areas of the high Sierras. It can still be pretty cold at night. I don't backpack, but crossed paths with a bunch of backpackers last year. If you get in touch with the folks at Edison Lake http://www.edisonlake.com/ you can get info about the area. It seems to be a waypoint for many backpackers. They run a shuttle across Edison Lake where you pick up the John Muir Trail. I think that it crosses a bunch of remote fisheries. It amazes me how many people get into remote areas of the mountains in the snow, but they do.
backpacking will be severely limited throughout the Sierras due to the snow but when you're around San Fran you could head up Hwy 80 to the Sacramento area and hit the American, Feather, Sacramento and Yuba rivers or if you wanted to head up to the Reno area maybe we could get a few forums guys together and make a day of it and hit the truckee.
Marsone, the best bet, as the guys suggested, is to consider "the big circle".
LA to SF via the coast, take I80 over Donner summit (hitting the Truckee), then head south on hwy395, on the east side of the Sierras. Gives you a great overall look at CA.
That time of year I80 may be the only pass W to E that is open during April.
You could hit Yosemite Valley from the west side, but Tioga pass will be closed that early. Lots to see if you stay on the west side of the Sierra, but most smaller water is closed. Plenty of water in the Sacramento area, but it's bigger water (especially with spring melt kicking in).
Hope the trip works out for ya, give a shout if you have more questions.