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Spicer Meadow Reservoir and Dardanelles

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Reservoir Information, Spicer Meadow Reservoir
Spicer Meadow Reservoir

Suggested Flies for Spicer Meadow Reservoir and Dardnelles:
Western Sierra Hatch Selection

Other Local Favorites:

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

Dry Flies:
Small Western Green Drake #14-16
BWO #16-18
Parachute Adams #12
Elk Hair Caddis #14-16
St. Vrain Caddis
Kings River Caddis #12-16

Nymph Flies:
Pheasant Tail Nymph #12-14
Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear #12-14
Bird's Nest #12-14
Prince Nymph #12-14
Kaufmann Golden Stone #6-8
Little Yellow Stone Nymph #12-14

Directions: To Spicer Meadow Reservoir, take Hwy 4, 32 miles east of Angels Camp. Turn on Road 7N01 (Spicer Reservoir Road) and proceed 8 miles, then turn right on Service Road 7N75 and continue to the lake. To reach the Clark Fork of Stanislaus, take Hwy 108 east from Sonora, 49 miles to Clark Fork Road.

Spicer ReservoirSpicer Meadow Reservoir covers 2000 acres at 6,418 ft. elevation. It is one of the older reservoirs in the Sierra, built around 1929 when a dam on Highland Creek was constructed creating a narrow and short lake. This dam was replaced in the 1980's which eliminated the natural spawning areas of Spicer's rainbows. The lake is now stocked with about 50,000 Eagle Lake rainbow fingerlings each year although, some years they'll utilize Kamloops and Cuttbow hybrids. Most fish that are caught are rainbows in the 12-16 inch class. Some Browns and Brookies still exist within the lake. The rainbows have now established Hobart Creek for spawning and a healthy population of wild trout reside within the lake. During the late 1960's, cuttbow hybrids were planted and this strain was able to gain a foothold by spawning in Highland Creek and Hobart Creek. Some of these cuttbows can still be caught and can be up to 20 inches. The reservoir is fishable from the shore but it is better with float tubes. The lake can be up to 300' deep when full. Most of the fish will be at 20-50 feet deep during the summer months. During May and June, expect to find the trout closer to the surface and along the shorelines. Highland Creek below the dam is highly productive with deep pools and runs. The creek continues for about 4 miles when it conjuncts with the North Fork of the Stanislaus.

There are two natural small alpine lakes are just south of Spicer Meadow Reservoir, Sword Lake and Lost Lake. These are beautiful deep lakes but are fishless.

The Upper Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River contains both rainbows and browns. It is heavily stocked by DFG with about 30,000 rainbows annually. Most of these plants occur around the campground areas. The outlying portions of the stream contain wild trout in the 9-12 inch class. The river consists of deep pools, riffles, and runs. The Spring runoff makes it difficult to fish until mid June.

The Clark Fork of the Stanislaus River is a small stream with runs and riffles. It is heavily used by campers since it is easy to bring an RV into the two main campgrounds along the river. The river is stocked by DFG with about 13,000 rainbows in the Spring and early Summer. The water gets too warm and thin in the late summer for fishing.

Donnell Reservoir (400 acres) at 4,900' elevation is located in a steep rocky canyon of the Middle Fork Stanislaus River approximately 5 miles upstream from Beardsley Reservoir. The dam was constructed in 1958 as part of the tri-dam project putting three dams (Turloch, Beardsley, and Donnell) on the MF Stanislaus for irrigation needs in the Central Valley. 36 miles on Hwy 108 from Sonora turn onto Forest Road 5N09X, a rough, narrow and winding route where safe travel speeds average 5-10 mph.  Drive 11 miles to a locked gate, park and walk a half mile to the dam. High clearance vehicles are recommended for travel on this road. The steep rocky terrain limits foot access to only small portions of the shoreline.  No developed recreation facilities exist at the reservoir; however, the area is popular for day use, dispersed camping and fishing.  The reservoir is open all year with road access subject to winter closure. This reservoir was last planted in 1963 with 30,000 fingerling trout. The lake contains both Browns and Rainbows by way of the inlet from the MF Stanislaus. These can be of 12-16 inches and the reservoir is best fished from a float tube or Kayak that you will need to pack in.


© 2017 Steve Schalla
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Utica Reservoir Union Reservoir Spicer Meadow Reservoir Spicer Meadow Reservoir Sword Lake Highland Creek Clark Fork Clark Fork MF Stanislaus Donnell Lake Donnell Dam