Photo of Crane Creek, Yosemite, CA

Fishing Yosemite's Crane Creek

Yosemite National Park

Photo of Big Meadow at Foresta in Yosemite, CA

Big Meadow

Crane Creek in the Foresta area of Yosemite National Park makes a pleasant early season fishing destination when most of the rest of Yosemite is still covered in snow. At an elevation of 4300' Foresta is usually clear of snow by opening day of fishing season. A small community of private homes is located at Foresta, within the boundaries of Yosemite National Park.

The 1990 A-Rock forest fire destroyed a good number of homes in Foresta and charred large portions of the countryside, leaving it less scenic than it once was. Even so, Fishing Crane Creek through the Big Meadow area still has a certain charm that makes it a worthwhile destination.

Crane Creek is a small stream with its headwaters in the Crane Flat area at the junction of the Big Oak Flat Road and the Tioga Pass Road (Highway 120). Good populations of rainbow and brown trout can be found along the length of Crane Creek. Fishing Crane Creek requires a stealthy approach and carefully placed flies.

In My Creel

  • #16 Red Quill
  • #18 God Ribbed Hare's Ear
  • #18 Pheasant Tail nymph
  • #20 Black Gnat
  • #18 Adams
  • #18 Adams Parachute

For Fishing Yosemite on Crane Creek I knew I would be making a stealthy approach and trying to drop my flies as lightly as I can onto the water. Not expecting anything larger than 10", I dug in among my smaller, best performing flies.

Getting to Crane Creek

To reach Crane Creek in Foresta from Yosemite Valley, drive west to the Highway 120 junction and turn right onto it. Follow it 3.5 miles to the Foresta turnoff on your left. (Do not use the Foresta Bridge and Foresta Road on Highway 140 near El Portal).

Photo of Crane Creek, Yosemite, CA

Follow the Foresta Road down almost 2 miles to a Y. Take the right turn at the Y, heading toward the barns you will see at the edge of Big Meadow. Park there or along the shoulder of the road.

From the barns continue walking along the road past a private residence about 100 yards to an old bridge across Crane Creek. From there you can begin fishing your way up either bank. Walking up the western side of Crane Creek will take you through burned out forest and across a sooty landscape, but you will have the view of Big Meadow before you.

You can fish you way several miles up Crane Creek from Big Meadow and then reverse your direction and walk down the creek. An interesting side trip is down to Foresta Falls, about 1.3 miles downstream from the old bridge.

Accommodations and Supplies

Lodging is available in Yosemite Valley at Yosemite Lodge, Camp Curry and the Ahwahnee Hotel. Prices are steep and you should make reservations early. Another option is the Wawona Hotel, located 4 miles from the park's southern entrance. You can save money by staying outside the park in nearby El Portal where there are several large motels or outside the park on either Highways 41 or 120. You can rent vacation homes in the area, including some in Foresta.

Photo of Crane Creek, Yosemite, CA

Campgrounds are located all over Yosemite National Park, but finding an empty campsite is tough during peak season. About half of Yosemite National Park's campgrounds are on a reservation system. Reservations for them are essential from April through September. The first-come, first-serve campgrounds usually fill up by noon during busy times. The only non-reservation campground on the valley floor is Camp 4, which fills up by 9 am in the summer. Nearby Crane Flat campground uses the reservations system. It is usually open July through September.

There are no campgrounds at Foresta, and there is no camping outside the campgrounds in Yosemite Valley. Park regulations also prohibit sleeping in your vehicle outside a designated campsite. For backpackers with a wilderness permit there is a Backpackers' Campground where you may spend one night prior to your leaving on your hike the next day. Privately owned Indian Flat Campground is located on Highway 140 outside the park. It has spaces for RVs and tents. Two small National Forest campgrounds (Dirt Flat and Dry Gulch) are located along the Merced River across the Foresta Bridge near El Portal.

California's Best Camping logo

To find the very best campgrounds in the area and all across California, visit California's Best Camping.

On your way to Fishing Yosemite on Crane Creek you can pick up fishing supplies at

Recommended Books for Fishing in Yosemite

Photo of Crane Creek, Yosemite, CA

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