Fly Fishing the Sierra

South Fork of the Middle Fork Tule River
Middle Fork Tule River

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South Fork of the Middle Fork Tule River
Suggested Flies for South Fork of the Middle Fork Tule River:
Southern Sierra Hatch Selection

Other Local Favorites:

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
Prince Nymph #12-14
Bird's Nest #12-14
Zug Bug #12-14

Directions:

Middle Fork Tule Directions

Access to the MF Tule River is by Hwy 190 from Porterville. Porterville is 60 miles north of Bakersfield along Highway 65. Take the Hwy 190 east to Lake Success. Hwy 190 passes through the town of Springville and follows the Middle Fork to it's headwaters at Quaking Aspen.

Notes: Mf TuleThe South Fork of the Middle Fork Tule, also known as the Nelson Fork, is one of the smallest rivers within the Sierra. It is only 12.0 miles long from it's headwaters to the confluence with the NF Tule river. The river is quite thin within it's upper headwaters but there is enough water there year-round to support a healthy population of Brookies. A trail follows the river down to Camp Nelson, a distance of 4 miles. This portion of the stream is heavily wooded as it descends through three Sequoia Groves: Wheel Meadow, McIntyre, and Belknap. It is a freestone stream through this section with numerous small pools and plenty of wooded cover. It is not too closed in, however, to inhibit fly fishing with a small, lightweight rod. At Cedar Slope, Boulder creek adds it's water and the flows can be substantial. Browns and Rainbows can be found within this section. The Browns are all wild fish and the Rainbows can be holdovers from plantings that occur a couple times each season at Camp Nelson and Cedar Slope. Most of the Browns are 7-10 inches and the Rainbows can get up to 14 inches.

At Camp Nelson, there are two campgrounds, Coy Flat and Belknap. These campground areas get most of the planted rainbows. A local fish hatchery is located next to the SF of the MF Tule where Moorehouse Creek enters. This fish hatchery was started in 1949 and continues today. They raise the fish in natural ponds that were created from limestone deposits over a few thousand years. These may be the oldest ponds in the world for the use of raising trout. About 170,000 trout are raised annually within this facility.

Below the Moorehouse Fish Hatchery, the river enters a canyon with a much steeper gradient. The river tends to open up but the canyon has steep walls of polished granite. This section has a number of waterfalls, cascades, and deep pools. Near the MF Tule Powerhouse is access. The best fishing is during the Winter months to early Spring. The flows are low with easier wading and the Browns are actively feeding. You will probably also pick up a few Rainbows. During the late Spring, this water can be treacherous and the USFS often closes this section from visitors. The summer months tend to be hot and this section is used heavily by bathers.

Below the Middle Fork powerhouse, the section of the river is consided the Middle Fork of the Tule until it meets the North Fork just above Springville. A river trail follows the river from the Powerhouse to Lower Coffee Camp. The water in this section is an extension of the same canyon water above the powerhouse but tends to open up as you approach Coffee Camp. Consists of both Browns and Rainbows. Again, heaviily used by bathers in the Summer months. A 40' waterfall is just above Coffee Camp known by locals as Tule Falls.



Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

Middle Fork Tule River:

From the last Saturday in April through November 15, 5 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.

Tule River and tributaries (Tulare Co.):

From the last Saturday in April through November 15, 5 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.

Other Rivers and Streams:

From the last Saturday in April through November 15, 5 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.

All other Lakes:

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

 

© 2021 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.

 

Lower Coffee Camp MF Tule Waterfall Belknap Camp California Hot Spring Upper Kern above Johnsondale To NF of MF Tule MF Footbridge Coffee Camp