NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Mammoth Pool Reservoir

Description: A 1,000 surface acre lake when full, but often below that in the fall when the need for hydroelectric power peaks. It is five miles long, and opens in about mid-June and closes in October or November when snow begins to fall. It sits at 3,300 feet (hot in summer) and allows all types of boating with speed limits that vary by time of day. They are 5 mph from 8PM-6AM and either 20 or 35 mph during the day; the latter applies from July 1 to September 10.  Fishing is for stocked rainbow trout and native German brown and brook trout. The lake is closed to water sports from May 1 to June 15 because of deer migrating across the lake, although the campground remains open. This is a pristine place, with no development other than a private campground (Wagner's) on the way in. There is a primitive boat ramp, suitable for small boats. Like with most man-made lakes underwater hazards dictate prudence. If you are considering a trip here see our write-up under road trips for the Sierra Vista National Scenic Byway. The private Wagner's Resort campground has some nice sites along the San Jouquin River and a small store with supplies and nightcrawlers. The latter are recommended as bait, not as an entree. But if you must, pair them with a very young zinfandel from a bottle with a screw top. A dark ale works too.

Location: From Fresno drive Hwy. 41 north to County Road 200/North Fork Road. Turn right and drive 17.5 miles to County Road 222/Auberry Road. Turn north and drive to North Fork and turn onto Mammoth Pool Road/ County Road 225 and drive about 37 miles as it becomes Minarets Road/Forest Road 81 and stay the course to the lake.

Nearest Town: North Fork

Camping: Mammoth Pool: 47 sites for tents or RV's to 30 feet. Picnic tables, fire grills, drinking water and flush toilets. Reservations are accepted at 877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov. Open mid-May thru mid-September. There are about seven other forest service campgrounds in the general area but not close enough to make a daily trip to the lake viable. Two of those have 18 sites and the rest not more than eight.

Fishing: Rainbow, German brown and brook trout.

Boating: All types. 35 mph speed limit. Boat ramps.

Other: Swimming, hiking, pack station.

Information: Sierra National Forest. 559-877-2218.

Lakeshore at the picnic area near the dam.

Click the image to enlarge.