Photo of Relief Reservoir, Tuolumne County, CA

Relief Reservoir and Relief Creek

Photo of Relief Reservoir, Tuolumne County, CA

Relief Reservoir

Relief Creek and Relief Reservoir (shown above) near Kennedy Meadows Resort on the Sonora Pass highway offer a variety of great fishing places guaranteed to please nearly every kind of angler. Sporting fishing begins as soon as you set out on the trail and continues all the way up to Relief Reservoir (3.5 miles and about 1000 feet elevation gain). More adventurous anglers will find exciting fishing along the remote creeks that feed into Relief Reservoir.


In My Creel

  • Daredevle Skeeter
  • 3/8 oz silver Panther Martin
  • Acme Kastmaster
  • salmon eggs and hook
  • #16 Tilt Wing Dun
  • #14 Royal Wulff

For the variety of conditions I would be fishing along the shores of Relief Reservoir and the sometimes confined space along the creeks, I carried a plentiful supply of weights, bobbers, lures, flies, and baits.



Making Your Way to Relief Reservoir and Relief Creek

Kennedy Meadows Resort is located at the foot of Sonora Pass on Highway 108, about an hour and twenty minutes (55 miles) east of Sonora. Kennedy Meadows can also be accessed from Highway 395 north of Bridgeport, California (about 40 miles from Bridgeport). For overnight parking use the trailhead parking lot about a half mile before you reach the resort. For day trips to Relief Reservoir or other nearby areas, you can park at the resort.

Photo of relief Creek, Tuolumne County, CA

Stanislaus River near Kennedy Meadows

Set out on the trail early in the morning with your pole in hand for you will probably want to test your luck at inviting stretches along the river every mile or two. A popular stretch for fishing is along the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River just a half mile from the resort. (Farther up this same river is called Relief Creek)

If you continue along the trail for 1.5 miles you will reach the bridge spanning Relief Creek. Numerous deep pools are found all along this section of the creek, but they are difficult and sometimes dangerous to access.

Just a half mile up the trail you will reach the junction of a side trail leading to Kennedy Lake (another excellent destination; see the Sharon Lake trip information). Just beyond the trail junction is the site of the dam tender's cabin, which was dismantled in 2011. If you turn right off the trail there you will find some nice fishing places with easy access along the creek.

Photo of  Relief Creek, Tuolumne County, Ca

Farther up the trail, 2.5 miles from Kennedy Meadows, you will draw even with the dam at Relief Reservoir. For the best fishing continue up the trail another mile to Grouse Creek, cross it, and then turn down to the Relief Reservoir shoreline. You will find great camping sites and excellent fishing.

If you follow the trail beyond Relief Reservoir and turn at the trail junction at mile 4.7 in the direction of Lower Relief Meadow you will soon strike a part of Relief Creek that is much less heavily fished. You can work the small pools all the way up to the meadow and even try your luck on Summit Creek.

Accommodations and Supplies

Lodging is available at Kennedy Meadows Resort and a few miles away at Dardanelles Resort. Farther west on Highway 108 accommodations can be found at Strawberry and Pinecrest. Many National Forest Campgrounds are scattered all along the Stanislaus River around Kennedy Meadows and the Dardanelles. In the summer they are usually crowded. On the east side of Sonora Pass you will find a campground at Leavitt Meadow and more along the Walker River and Highway 395.

Photo of Bridge along Relief Creek, Tuolumne County, Ca

Bridge below Relief Reservoir

Relief Reservoir and the surrounding countryside are part of the Emigrant Wilderness Area. Excellent backpacking campsites can be found along the creek near the Kennedy Lake turnoff, along shores of Relief Reservoir near Grouse Creek, and farther up where the trail crosses Relief Creek about 5 miles from Kennedy Meadows. Pick up a Wilderness Permit at Summit Ranger Station near Pinecrest or at the ranger station on Highway 395 just south of Bridgeport.

For complete information about camping and fishing around the Clark Fork and all up and down Sonora Pass, see Sonora Pass Vacations.

logo saying Sonora Pass Vacations

On your way to Relief Reservoir and Relief Creek you can get fishing supplies at the following places:



Recommended Books and Maps for Fishing in the Emigrant Wilderness





Photo of relief Creek, Tuolumne County, CA

Relief Creek



Other Nearby Featured Trips in Tuolumne County:




High Sierra Trails

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