Balloon Dome

Balloon Dome

Online Store


Fly Box


Tackle Box


Fly Swaps
Balloon Dome

Suggested Flies for Balloon Dome area:
Western Sierra Hatch Selection

Other Local Favorites:

Stillwater Flies:
Woolly Bugger #8-10
Mohair Leech #8-10
Matuku #8-10

Dry Flies:
Parachute Adams #12
Elk Hair Caddis #14-16
St. Vrain Caddis

Nymph Flies:
Pheasant Tail Nymph #12-14
Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear #12-14


Balloon Dome Directions

From Fresno, take Highway 41 north to North Fork Road. Turn right and go 18 miles to the town of North Fork. Turn right on Minarets Road and go northeast to Mammoth Pool Road. Turn left and continue to the reservoir. The reservoir is 42 miles from the town of North Fork.

Notes:Balloon Dome
Balloon Dome is within the western canyonland of the Ansel Adams Wilderness, just above Mammoth Pool Reservoir and towers over the San Joaquin river. The dome stands about 3000 feet above the river. Mammoth Pool Reservoir and all it's tributaries are closed to the public from May 1st to June15th to protect deer migration.Mammoth Pool Reservoir (1,107 acres) at an elevation of 3,330'. Mammoth Pool Reservoir was created by Southern California Edison by damming the San Joaquin River within a steep 3000 feet canyon.The reservoir is a popular recreationist destination with campgrounds, store, and boat ramps. The road to Mammoth Pool is often blocked by snow until early April and the lake is stocked with about 24,000 10-12 inch rainbows and brookies each season. The lake and it's tributaries are closed from May 1st to June 15th for deer migration. It is a popular trolling area during the Spring and early Summer. During late Summer, the lake is drawn down considerably for hydroelectric power. By November, the lake can be at only 1/4 it's capacity. This drawdown greatly affects the fishing. The lake is known for it's large Browns up to 15 lbs. The flyfishing opportunities of the lake a quite limited due to the depth and expanse of the lake. Some of these big Browns do get into the San Joaquin River below the dam and the flyfishing opportunites are quite good there as well as other neighboring streams. Snow is usually keeps the road closed until late April, so the fishing window is only from June 15th to early July. Since the shorelines are steep, your best fishing opportunities are within the creek inlets of Chiquito Creek and Jackass Creek. Chiquito Creek has both Browns and Rainbows.The creek is planted with hatchery rainbows, particularly around the campgrounds. However, large Browns move up into the creek from Mammoth Pool Reservoir in May and October and gather within the deeper pools. Chiquito Creek is open to fishing from the last Saturday of April to Nov. 15th. Granite Creek holds wild Brookies, Rainbows, and Browns.
Taking the Cassidy Trail off Minarets Road, you can reach the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin at the Cassidy Bridge which spans the river at Cassidy Crossing. The river consists of Rainbows and Browns. From there you can work your way downstream. Hell's Half Acre is a region of about 3 miles that covers the San Joaquin from Mammoth Pool Reservoir to the confluence of the Middle Fork and South Fork, which is 5 miles downstream of the Cassidy Bridge. Within Hell's Half Acre, Browns up to 20" move into these waters from Mammoth Pool Reservoir during October for spawning.

Other areas to try are:
Kaiser Creek: Numerous access points along Stump Springs Road. Consists of Rainbows and Brookies.

Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

Mammoth Pool (Fresno and Madera cos.):

Open all year, five trout daily bag limit, 10 trout in possession. No gear restrictions.

Other Rivers and Streams:

From the last Saturday in April through November 15, five trout daily bag limit, 10 trout in possession; and, from November 16 through the Friday preceding the last Saturday in April, 0 trout bag limit, artificial lures with barbless hooks only and trout must be released unharmed and not removed from the water.

Lakes within this area:

Open all year. No restrictions. 5 trout per day. 10 trout in possession.


© 2023 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.


Above Cassidy Crossing Balloon Dome Jackass Creek Kaiser Wilderness Rattlesnake Crossing North Fork Willow Creek Isberg Pass Mammoth Pool Cassidy Bridge Granite Creek Bridge