Photo of South Stanislaus River, Tuolumne County, CA

South Fork Stanislaus River Fishing

Strawberry to Fraser Flat

Photo of South Stanislaus River, Tuolumne County, CA

Fishing the South Fork of the Stanislaus River between Fraser Flat and Strawberry in Tuolumne County, California, is hard to beat. You can access the Stanislaus River from either end of this 4-mile section of river- at the Fraser Flat bridge or from Strawberry on Highway 108. An old railroad grade, converted to a hiking trail, parallels the Stanislaus River for most of the distance, providing good access to the river.

Fishing is excellent all along the Stanislaus River. Sometimes a steep bank or dense trees limit access for fishing, but there are plenty of places where a simple scoot down a little embankment and a wind through a couple of trees will put you right on the bank of the Stanislaus River.

This stretch of the Stanislaus River> begins at Strawberry at an elevation of 5,600' and over the course of 4 miles drops to 4,850' at the bridge near Fraser Flat. It is a good early season fishing area since it is often free of snow by early May.

In My Creel

  • Berkley Power Bait
  • salmon eggs
  • # 16 Royal Coachman
  • #16 Adams
  • #14 light Cahill
  • #14 Black Wulff

I knew that trees were going to make for difficult casting in places on the Stanislaus River, so I brought along a little bait to give that a try along with my most trusted flies. They would give me a chance to work on my roll casts and side casts.

Making Your Way to the Stanislaus River

Arrive at the South Fork Stanislaus River by driving east on Highway 108 six miles past Long Barn and turning left onto the Spring Gap Road. Follow the paved road 2½ miles down to the bridge across the South Fork Stanislaus River. Park on the south side of the river. The old Sugar Pine Railroad grade hiking trail begins there. (Ignore Road Closed sign. It refers to vehicles. Hikers and bicyclists are allowed.) You can begin fishing right there and work your way upstream.

Photo of South Stanislaus River, Tuolumne County, CA

Trail along the River

The railroad grade follows the Stanislaus River for about 2 miles before veering up to intersect the Old Strawberry Road. You could walk down the road to rejoin the Stanislaus River at Strawberry to continue fishing. There are also some old roads along the north side of the river but the lower one ends soon and the upper one is some distance above the river.

You can also drive up Highway 108 to Strawberry and work your way downstream on the south side o the Stanislaus River from there. Private property limits access in some places.

Accommodations and Supplies

You'll find lodging at nearby Long Barn, Strawberry or Pinecrest. A little farther down the road in Twain Harte you'll find several good motels and restaurants. Sonora isn't all that far away, either.

Photo of South Stanislaus River, Tuolumne County, CA

Across the Stanislaus River and just a mile down the road is Fraser Flat Campground, a park-like setting with spacious campsites close to the river or tucked back among the trees. It's popular with RV-ers who like to set up for long stays in the mountains. There is even a small riverside fishing platform near the campground.

Up the road at Pinecrest Lake, you can find good camping, but make reservations ahead of time. Farther up Highway 108 campgrounds are located on the Eagle Meadow Road, up on the Clark Fork, and all the way up the highway near Dardanelle.

California's Best Camping logo

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

For complete information about camping, fishing, and recreation along the Stanislaus River,
see Sonora Pass Vacations.

Once you're on the road for your fishing trip to the Stanislaus River, you can stop for supplies in a number of places:

Recommended Books for Fishing the Sierra Streams and Lakes


Good fishing on the South Fork of the Stanislaus River continues downstream from Fraser Flat. By walking up the road toward Highway 108 just a third of a mile you find a connection to the railroad grade going downstream 8.5 miles to Lyons Reservoir.

Photo of South Stanislaus River, Tuolumne County, CA

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