Courtright and Wishon Reservoirs

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Reservoir Data, Wishon Reservoir

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Courtright Reservoir

Suggested Flies for Courtright Reservoir Area:
West Sierra Hatch Selection

Suggested Flies for the Reservoirs:

Streamer Flies:
Mohair Leech #8-10
Woolly Bugger, Brown and Olive #6-8
Denny's Seal Bugger #8-10
Olive Matuka #8-10
J.Fair's Wiggle Tail #8-10


Directions: From Fresno, go 63 miles northeast to the town of Shaver Lake. Turn east on Dinky Creek Road and go 12 miles. Then turn right on McKinley Grove Road and go 14 miles east. The road forks with Courtright going 10 miles north and Wishon going 3 miles east.

Courtright ReservoirNotes:
Wishon and Courtright are reservoirs owned by PG&E, constructed in 1958 using rock filled dams. Wishon is at an elevation of 6560 feet and has a capacity for 128,00 acre feet. Courtright is at an elevation of 8,192 feet and has a capacity for 123,000 feet. The primary need for the reservoirs is to supply hydroelectric power. Since power needs fluctuate from night to day, PG&E has found it economically feasible to use the two reservoirs in unison so that they allow water to flow to the lower reservoir during the day and create higher priced electricity. Then they use the lower cost of electricity at night to pump the water back up into the higher Courtright Reservoir. Thus the levels of the two reservoirs fluctuate greatly on a daily basis. Needless to say, this creates great havoc for the resident fish. The two reservoirs are stocked with about 20,000 10-12 inch Rainbows each year. Holdovers can range from 16 to 18 inches with the Lake Record being 7 Lbs. 3 oz. at Courtright and 20 Lbs. 11 oz at Washon. There are Browns in the lakes but the numbers caught have greatly reduced over the years. Wishon is your best bet for Browns in the 10-15 inch class. Float tubing on Courtright has access at the ramp near Marmot CG and near the dam on Wishon. At Courtright, try the dropoffs along the eastern shoreline and along the dam. At Wishon, work the south side of the dam and along the northern shoreline. Mosquitos are plentiful in this area, so bring plenty of repellant. Callibaetis hatches occur during the early evening hours, particularly within the inlets for dry fly action. Even though the fishing season is open year round , the road access is closed from mid-November until May due to snow conditions.

The two reservoirs make great stops for flyfishing opportunities into the backcountry. Courtright has access into the John Muir Wilderness and Upper North Fork Kings from the Maxson Trailhead or Voyager CG on the northeast side. You can also access the Dinky Lakes Wilderness along Helms Creek from the Cliff Lake Trailhead.
Wishon Reservoir gives you access into the Woodchuck Country and John Muir Wilderness. You can also try the North Fork Kings below the dam.

Helms Creek: Consists of Rainbows and Brookies.
North Fork Kings: Consists of Rainbows, Brookies, and Browns.
Woodchuck Creek: Consists of Rainbows.
Duck Lake: Elevation is 9,300 feet. Consists of Rainbows and Brookies.
Woodchuck Lake: Elevation is 9,900 feet. Consists of Goldens.
Marsh Lake: Elevation is 9,500 feet. Consists of Rainbows and Brookies.
Chimney Lake: Elevation if 9,500 feet. Consists of Rainbows.

© 2013 Steve Schalla
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