Fishing French Meadows Reservoir

Fishing results at French Meadows

I haven’t been fishing in probably 25 years  but this year I decided to get my license and give it a try.  I  prefer camping by Sierra lakes and I’ve seen how good the fishing is up there.   So my first mountain excursion this summer was to French Meadows Reservoir over the fathers day weekend.  It’s a bit more remote than my usual camping spots and therefore not as crowded which pleases me immensely, but it is a long windy road down then up the American River Canyon.  Takes 2.25 hours from home in Colfax, including the gas stop.  Of course I had Ben and Biggs with me, while Kate was in Portland visiting her son and grandkids.

French meadows reservoir

When I arrived I was surprised the lake was down so much, this being early in the summer.  It had to be a good 30-40 feet down.  Apparently a record low for this time of year.  The campground was about half full, or less.  Gorgeous campsites, well maintained with flush toilets.   The camp host, Mike, was a terrific very likeable guy, who gave me some tips on where to fish and that they were averaging two fish per day from the shore and five per day from boats.

I had two spinning rods, one set for power bait rig and the other for casting lures.  I had a masterkaster lure and tried that first around 5pm just for practice.  Bam within 15 minutes I had a big German Brown Trout on the line.  What a surprise.  A real nice one measuring 16″ long.

german brown trout
Note Ben rolling on his back in the background laughing at me for being so excited about catching this fish.

French Meadow trout


I ended up catching 8 trout all together and let go 5 since they were too small.  The power bait worked good but the rig kept getting snagged in the rocks until I alleviated that problem a bit by reeling it in faster when done.   Biggs sat next to me nicely while Ben, being the water dog he is, got frustrated when I wouldn’t let him swim out to the bait.  But eventually he just decided to swim by himself going out to the center of the lake and exploring.


Ben swimming French meadows Biggs helping me fish Ben swimming

A beautiful Bald Eagle soared right above me while fishing and of course I had no camera.  It was so low I could see it perfectly.

French Meadows Campground

Author: Geoff

Quick rundown: Grew up in Lombard, Illinois, went to Arizona State University, worked as a CPA with Arthur Andersen & Co, then Laventhal and Horwath, then Rolling Stones, then Heron International, then Goodby Berlin and Silverstein in San Francisco. Moved to the foothills in 1990 and traded futures and designed websites. Married to Kate Stewart, now living in Colfax, CA. We have six grandchildren. I enjoy camping in our RV, hiking, kayaking, fishing, droning and cross country skiing Also conga drumming, photography and dogs.

2 thoughts on “Fishing French Meadows Reservoir”

  1. Saw your blog The pic of the cove….Camped there between 69 and 94 awesomeness Did you hear coyotes at night??? bears and deer???
    The stories I have OMG you jogged the brain this morning Thanks

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