South Fork American River-Sierra Tahoe

South Fork American River and Silver Creek

Online Store


Fly Box


Tackle Box


Fly Swaps
South Fork American River

Suggested Flies for the South Fork American area:
Sierra Tahoe Hatch Selection

Streamer Flies:
Woolly Bugger #6-8
Marabou Muddler #6-8
Matuku #6-10
Hare's Ear Nymph #12-14
Pheasant Tail Nymph #12-14
Bird Nest #12-14
A.P. Nymph #12-14
Golden Stone Nymph #4-8
Olive Caddis #12-16
Yellow Humpy #14-16
Royal Wulff #12-14
Chernobyl Ant #12-14
Madam X #12-14


South Fork American River Directions

The South Fork of the American River follows Highway 50 out of Placerville. Most flyfishing starts from upstream of Slab Creek Reservoir near Silver Creek fork. You can reach this area by taking Forebay Road at Riverton near Pollock Pines. The South Fork of Silver Creek is reached by Ice House Road from Highway 50. The Silver Fork of the American is reached by Silver Fork Road out of Kyburz. Upstream from Kyburz, the South Fork of the American is followed by Hwy 50 to Strawberry, near South Lake Tahoe.

Union Reservoir: From Pollack Pines, go on Highway 50 east for 42 miles to Spicer Reservoir Road (USFS Road 7N01). Turn South and go 8 miles (across the NF of Stanislaus River) to Utica Reservoir turnoff (USFS Road 7N75). Turn north and go .5 miles bearing right at fork, go .5 miles to reservoir.

Ice House Reservoir: From Pollack Pines on Highway 50, go East for 9 miles to Ice House Road near Riverton. Turn North on Ice House Road toward Crystal Basin and go 10.5 miles to Ice House Reservoir turn-off. 1) Turn East and go 1.5 miles to Ice House Reservoir 2) Stay on Ice House Road and go 5.5 miles farther. Turn West and go 1.5 miles to Union Valley Reservoir. 3) Continue on Ice House Road and go 13 miles farther to Loon Lake Road. Turn East and go 5 miles to fork in road, then turn East to lake.


South Fork American River
The South Fork of the American is a small stream with a mixture of pools, runs, and riffles, as well as some pocket water. It is mainly stocked with medium sized hatchery trout and has considerable fishing pressure from bait-fishermen. Below Silver Creek, the water on the South Fork tends to warm up too much by mid-summer. The better flyfishing is on the Silver Creek fork with Rainbows and Browns in the 8-12 inch class. The portion of Silver Creek below Ice House Reservoir is known as the South Fork of Silver Creek. It is a tailwater with rainbows in the 6-10 inch class and some larger browns 9-12 inches within the deeper pools. Flows will vary greatly depending upon releases from Ice House Reservoir. By mid-summer, the flows are too small for good flyfishing. Silver Creek below Union Valley Reservoir also tends to be at the whims of the dams releases. Often flows are kept to a minimum.
Further upriver, the Silver Fork of the American near Kyburz provides good flyfishing for small wild Rainbows in the 7-12 inch class with access by way of Silver Fork Road which follows the stream. It is a tailwater stream from Silver Lake with plunge pools and pocket water. Further upstream, you will encounter 8-12 inch browns within the larger pools and some brookies. The South Fork above Kyburz tends to escape the bait-fishing crowd and will provide some wild trout action within the pocket water and runs.

Union Valley Reservoir is over 2500 acres. It is best known for it's Kokanee cutthroats but also has good numbers of Rainbows and Brown Trout. A number of creeks enter the lake and each of their inlets is a good location for flyfishing.

Ice House Reservoir is nearly 700 acres and is usually good fishing for Brooks, Browns, and Rainbows. Try the area where Silver Creek enters the east end of the reservoir.

Slab Creek: Slab Creek is downstream of the South Fork of the American where both streams enter Slab Creek Reservoir. It is a Spring Creek with Rainbows 6-10 inches, and Browns 8-11 inches. It runs through a narrow canyon with small pools and runs. Access from Hwy 50 near Pollack Pines or from Placerville on Mosquito Road.

Jones Fork of Silver Creek: The Jones Fork is one of the few places where you can find Sacramento Suckers above 4600 feet elevation. It also supports a kokanee spawning run from Union Valley Reservoir. The creek above the reservoir has a low gradient channel with many large, sandy bottom pools and undercut banks with root wads. These areas contain both Sacramento Suckers and Rainbows. Browns can be found within the undercut banks and Brookies are found in the upper reaches.

Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

American River, South Fork, and their tributaries above Folsom Lake (Placer, El Dorado, Amador and Alpine cos.):

Saturday preceding Memorial Day through September 30th. 5 trout, no gear restrictions. Summer fishing only to protect Spring and Fall Spawning.
October 1 through the Friday preceding Memorial Day. 0 trout, artificial lures with barbless hooks. A Fall to Spring angling opportunity with significant gear restrictions.

All Lakes and Reservoirs:

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

All other creeks and tributaries:

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.


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


Brush Creek Reservoir Slab Creek Reservoir Long Canyon Pond South Fork American South Fork American South Fork American South Fork American South Fork Silver Creek Ice House Reservoir South Fork Silver Creek Union Valley Reservoir North Fork Cosumnes Desolation Wilderness Rubicon River