Lake McClure California

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Lake McClure offers serenity and is an excellent fishing destination

Lake McClure Fishing

Situated in Central California, a stone’s throw away from Yosemite National Park, Lake McClure is the perfect destination for outdoorsmen planning to explore this region of California. The family-friendly lake is open year-round and is brimming with activities. Fishing is at the top of the list, but camping, biking, and water sports are equally fun.

The natural ambient is all inspiring, with a dense forest sprinkled with oaks and pines. Above the tree canopy, bright sunny rays illuminate the landscape by reflecting from the lake’s tranquil waters.

Lake McClure is the perfect weekend fishing getaway!

Plan Your Lake McClure Journey

The horseshoe-shaped lake was formed in 1926 by the New Exchequer Dam and gets fed by the Merced River. Creating a mesmerizing body of water nestled in the scenic Sierra Nevada foothills.

There are 80 miles of shoreline to explore and drop a fishing line. Visitors are welcome to pop over to neighboring Lake McSwain or the nearby massive Don Pedro Lake. And see how the fish bites there.

This beautiful corner of Mariposa County is at an elevation of 867 feet and is located 40 miles east of Modesto. It takes two and a half hours to drive from the Bay Area to reach the lake. While Fresno and Stockton are within a driving radius of under two hours.

It’s a popular destination because of the friendly ambiance and absence of development around the lake, making it possible to get in touch with nature and indulge in a favorite hobby.

Lake McClure Fishing Guides

Lake McClure Fishing with Pro Guide

Lake McClure Guided Trips

Fishing Opportunities at Lake McClure

The 7,000-acre Lake McClure reservoir gets regularly stocked with a variety of fish. And the terrain layout offers great topwater and deep water approaches, accessible from the shore or by boat. Anglers with a passion for fishing black bass and trout will not be disappointed. In addition, there is a vibrant population of kokanee salmon, crappie, and other species.

Fishermen and tourists at Lake McClure are not the only ones enjoying the scenery, occasionally, a bald eagle will swoop down for lunch. And deer, wild mules, and foxes roam the surrounding countryside. It’s extra proof that the lake’s charm is irresistible to all species.

Lake McClure is not the only fishing option in the region, Don Pedro Lake campground and Lake McSwain are equally appealing.

Trout Fishing at Lake McClure

There are pristine shore fishing spots on the inlets of the lake. A few good options are Cotton Creek, Rancho del Oro Gulch, Temperance Creek, and Piney Creek. It’s perfectly safe to be trolling close to the dam when moving west from Horseshoe Bend to Cotton Arm or Barrett Cove.

These areas are full of brown, rainbow, and brook trout. It’s not unheard of for a fisherman to haul an 18-pounder out of the lake. But more realistically, you can expect 10 pounds as the average trout-sized fish in Lake McClure.

Trout fishing is viable year-round. But if rainbow trout is on the menu, visiting Lake McClure in the early season until the start of the summer is the best choice. When the heat sets in, most of the trout, including brown and brook trout, move into deeper waters.

The McClure Point area offers the best shore fishing, and the preferred baits should be salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, and artificial dough baits.

Lake McClure Bass Fishing

Bass enthusiasts benefit from the varied rocky underwater geography that provides year-round opportunities for bass fishing. Expect spotted bass weighing in at 3 pounds, although there are confirmed catches of 9-pounders.

The largemouth bass population in Lake McClure can provide more sizable trophies maxing out at 15 pounds. The Merced River Arm is a productive spot for angles with every level of experience.

Springtime is the best period of the year to catch bass at Lake McClure. You can find bass congregating at depths of 10 to 30 feet. After colder temperatures set in, their tempo of activity will slow down.

Top Targeted Fish Species

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Lake McClure Catfish Fishing

Lake McClure is not known as a catfish destination, but there are whisker fish in the lake that can move the weight scale. Night hours are the most opportune time to corner a catfish.

Although they can be active in the early morning. Baits such as shrimp and mackerel or fresh chicken livers will generate results.

Lake Crappie Fishing

Lake McClure offers a sizable crappie population hiding in the brush and submerged trees. The best chance for success is anchoring at smaller coves and channels.

Once you identify a school, mealworms and tubes will bait a respectable catch of crappie if used in combination with a slow retrieve and a solid twitch.

Kokanee Salmon Fishing at Lake

In recent years, the lake’s ecosystem got enriched with the introduction of the Kokanee, a landlocked salmon. However, it tends to be elusive, with most anglers ending up with rainbows. Some claim the reason is a lack of familiarization with local patterns.

The best advice is to focus your fishing efforts around the dam of the main lake at depths of 50 feet. Modify your trolling speed to a lower level. The best option to entice the catfish to bite is with small micro hoochies and small spoons.

Boating at Lake McClure

The facilities at McClure point campground offer boat rentals at the three marinas with boating floats and concrete ramps. There are also improved ramps near campgrounds but cannot get used if the water line is high enough.

Fishing tournaments are held regularly thanks to the favorable boating Lake McClure infrastructure. But it’s also possible to enjoy pleasurable boating excursions on the lake and rent ski boats.

Camping at Lake McClure

There are several campgrounds at Lake McClure but no specific group sites. If planning a stay with an extended family of friends, it’s possible to reserve a larger space and create a group area.

Alternatively, the cabins on Lake McClure’s western shore, which are part of the Barrett Cove Recreation Area, offer cozy accommodations. Perfect options for a larger group to cluster together.

However, for those after a genuine camping experience featuring tents, it’s assuring to know the campsite provides free hot showers, dump stations, and even laundry facilities. The grocery requirements can get fulfilled at the local store.

Parking an RV is allowed at most campgrounds, including Horseshoe Bend Campground on the north shore of Lake McClure.

Neighboring Lake McSwain provides similar conditions with an event pavilion that offers space to socialize with other visitors.

Both great lakes and the facilities along the shoreline get managed by the Merced Irrigation District. There is no shortage of necessary amenities for a memorable weekend getaway available at Lake McClure, California.

Lake McClure Reviews

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The Unforgettable Lake McClure California

It’s the ideal place to set up base camp when exploring the Yosemite valley. You will have 80 miles of shoreline to play with and enjoy the scenery. Productive fishing spots with large shoals of trout and bass are all over the place. During fishing breaks, swimming, boating, and water skiing are accessible to reinvigorate your energy levels.

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