Ebbetts Pass Fishing

Calaveras and Alpine Counties, California

Ebbetts Pass Fishing

With a dozens of fabulous lakes, rivers and mountain streams, Ebbetts Pass has plenty of great locations to fish. Low elevation lakes such as White Pines Lake near Arnold have bass, while most of the rest are trout waters. For those who like to fish from a boat Spicer, Union, and Utica reservoirs along with Lake Alpine make great destinations. Fly fishermen are drawn to the East Carson River and the Stanislaus River.

For more ideas about fishing in Alpine County and up and down the Sierra, see Dave's Sierra Fishing.

Murphys to Arnold

Angels Creek

Don't expect any trophies to come out of Angels Creek, but it can be a fun place to fish, especially for children. There is easy access to the creek in Angel's Camp where the old Highway 4 heads east out of town. In Murphys kids often try their luck in the creek where it passes through the park.

White Pines Lake

White Pines Lake, a mile northeast of Arnold, is a nice place to spend a restful day fishing. No motorized boats are allowed on the lake, but little hand-launched fishing boats, float tubes, canoes, and kayaks are perfect for the small lake. The lake is home to both trout and bass. Among the best places for bass fishing in the lake is around the tulles. Snagproof frogs work well there. Along the shore is a great place to take children to fish. There's a park with restrooms and a playground adjacent to the lake.


Stanislaus River

Big Trees State Park

The road to the South Grove in Big Trees State Park crosses the Stanislaus River, making it a good place to stop and try your luck. Fish and Game regularly plant rainbow trout here. See the map on the page about Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

Sourgrass and Boards Crossing

fly fisherman in river

The Boards Crossing Road from Dorrington leads down to the Sourgrass bridge crossing of the North Fork of the Stanislaus River. Fish and Game regularly plant rainbow trout here. There is a campground and day use area there with restrooms. Fishing in the river is good both up and down stream. The best fishing is in the late summer and early fall when the peak runoff has passed and tantalizing pools begin to appear along the river. The actual Boards Crossing is found by following an unmarked dirt road that leaves the main road about a mile from Dorrington. For a map of the area and camping information, see Sourgrass Campgrounds.

Ganns and Big Meadow

If you don't mind a 2-mile hike down about 1,400 feet you can access remote sections of the Stanislaus River near Ganns and at Big Meadow. The Ganns trail begins at a parking area just east of the old Ganns Inn. The Big Meadow 4-wheel dirt road descends 800 feet to the river in a little over 2 miles. A Boy Scout Camp and Sand Flat Campground are there at the river.

Spicer Meadow Reservoir Road

The road to Spicer Meadow Reservoir crosses the Stanislaus River about 3 miles from Highway 4. Fish and Game regularly plant rainbow trout here. There is a campground there. The river flow is much more diminished than at places like Sourgrass, by it still produces some good catches.


Lake Alpine and Spicer Reservoir Area

Lake Alpine

Lake Alpine receives frequent plantings of rainbow trout to add to its native brook trout population, making it a popular fishing destination. There is a launch ramp, dock and trailer parking there near the Lake Alpine Resort. Small boats are rented in the summer by the resort. Boats are held to a 10 MPH speed limit. Whether from boat or shore, fishing is good almost anywhere around the lake. It is a wonderful place to take children to fish. Picnic areas and restrooms are available around the lake.

Fishing is not allowed in Silver Creek upstream from Lake Alpine from April until the end of August in order to protect the spawning areas. For a map of the area and camping information, see Lake Alpine Camping.

Spicer, Utica, and Union Reservoirs

All three reservoirs are stocked with rainbow trout and have grown to be among the area's most popular fishing locations. A paved launch ramp and ample parking lot make Spicer the favorite for anglers with larger boats, but both Utica and Union have unimproved dirt ramps that can facilitate launching lighter boats. There is a 5 - 10 MPH speed limit on all the lakes. The upper part of Spicer is closed to motorized boats.

Spicer Reservoir has Eagle Lake trout and brook trout along with a Spicer Reservoir strain of Kamloops-cutbows. Hobart Creek, which feeds into Spicer, is closed to fishing until July 1 in order to protect spawning trout.


Pacific Grade Summit Area

Mosquito Lakes

Highway 4 runs right along the banks of Mosquito Lakes, making them an attractive place to stop and drop your line into the water. Anglers are often seen along the edges of the lakes. Some people bring chairs and a picnic lunch and spend the day. The lakes have both rainbow and brook trout. For a map of the area and camping information see Mosquito Lakes Camping.

Hermit Valley

Fly fishermen like to work the Mokelumne River as it winds through Hermit Valley. Although much of it is fenced off as grazing land, the fence is intended to keep the cows in, not the people out. Fishing for brook trout in mid-summer is a great way to spend the day. More adventurous anglers work their way downstream from Hermit Valley. For a map of the area and camping information, see Hermit Valley Camping.


Highland and Kinney Lakes

Highland Lakes

Highland Lakes, which are part of two different water sheds, both have brook trout. The maximum boat speed on both lakes is 5 MPH, and the Forest Service discourages the use of gas powered boats there. Float tubes work well on the lakes unless the wind comes up. The lakes are at 8,600 feet elevation. There is easy access to the shores all around the lakes and few trees or bushes to inhibit casting. For a map of the area and camping information, see Highland Lakes Camping.

Kinney Lakes

The three Kinney Lakes are on the east side of Ebbetts Pass at around 8,500 feet in elevation. Kinney Reservoir is next to Highway 4 and draws a fair number of fishermen. The reservoir has both rainbow and brook trout. There's some parking available by the dam and farther up along the highway. The other two lakes require a half hour of hiking to reach, but anglers are rewarded with two beautiful mountain lakes with Lahontan and brook trout. The lakes can all be fished from float tubes. For a map of the area and photographs of the lakes, see Ebbetts Pass.


East Carson River

The East Carson River is a favorite among fly fishermen around California and Nevada. Anglers try their luck throughout fishing season for rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout. The 22-mile section of river from Carson Falls all the way to Hangman's Bridge near Markleeville follows the ordinary fishing regulations, but special regulations govern the areas above Carson Falls and below Hangman's Bridge.

The stretch of river from Hangman's Bridge downstream to the Nevada state line has been designated a Wild Trout section. It is all catch and release and only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. Above Carson Falls, which are deep in the roadless area, no fishing is allowed.

For a map of the area and information about lodging and camping, see
From Markleeville to Silver Creek.


Fishing on Sonora Pass and Carson Pass

Sonora Pass

Fishing is also very good up and down Sonora Pass (Highway 108) to the south of Ebbetts Pass. Pinecrest Lake and Beardsley Reservoir are favorite fishing spots along Sonora Pass, along with the Stanislaus River. Find great fishing destinations on our sister website, Sonora Pass Vacations.

Carson Pass

For the West Fork of the Carson River, head north to Carson Pass around Hope Valley. Or for some good lakes, consider Silver Lake and Caples Lakes. For a complete list of suggested fishing spots, visit another of our sister websites, Up and Over Carson Pass.