Look for my Note piece on the Wishon Fork of the Tule River in the January / February 2009 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing
From Fresno From Fresno drive south on Highway 99 to Tulare. Then take Highway 190 east to Porterville. Continue east on Hwy 190 to the town of Springville (about 18 miles from Porterville). Continue east 7.5 miles, then turn left on to Wishon Drive (also called CR 208). Follow this narrow, winding road approximately 4 miles, past the Camp Wishon Campground to the trailhead parking area just before the road ends at the Doyle Summer Home Tract gate. Park in the parking area, hike a short distance up the road, and follow the trail to the left of the sign, Trial To Upstream Fishing into the Tule River canyon.
The North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Tule River
Arising from the high granite slopes of Moses and Maggie mountains in the Golden Trout Wilderness, this segment of the Tule flows south and then west through a portion of the former Sequoia National Forest - now the newly designated Sequoia National Monument.
Tucked away in the deep Tule River canyon are groves of giant Sequoias. The manzanitas, oaks, maples, as well as other deciduous trees blanket the trail along with other conifers. The heavily wooded canyon slopes reaching all the way up to the 10,000 foot peaks offer a scenic backdrop to river's large rounded granite boulders, tumbling cascades, and crystal clear pools.
The Doyle Trail (called the Wishon Trail by some) along the North Fork of the Middle Fork Tule River is suitable for short day hikes and extended overnight trips. The trail begins at road's end. You quickly leave all signs of development behind as you tramp through the Hobbit-like woods, catching occasional glimpses of the cascading river below. Offshoots from the main trail provide access to the river just beyond the private development at Doyle Springs.
Wild Trout on the Tule
The C.D.F.G. plants hatchery rainbows in the Tule River adjacent to the Wishon Campground in the early summer. These plants tend to draw added fishing pressure at the campground section. Taking the Wishon Trail provides the best opportunity for catching wild rainbows and browns.
The trout inhabitating the upper reaches will response to a well drifted dry. General attractor patterns as well as an Elk hair caddis will induce aggressive takes. This section of the Tule doesn't produce many fish greater than 12 inches, but armed with light tackle and a small fly-box an angler can fill a day with beautiful wooded scenary and lots of small, wild trout.