French Meadows Reservoir

Maps and Info
French Meadows Reservoir

Location and Size: The 1,408 acre reservoir is located 36 miles northeast of Foresthill, on the Middle Fork of the American River at an elevation of 5,263 feet. The reservoir is 2.9 miles long and 0.6-mile wide, with 7.3 miles of shoreline. The capacity of the reservoir is 125,601 acre feet of water.

Season: Fishing for rainbow and German brown trout is open year round on the reservoir, but the lake is inaccessible during the winter months when access is blocked by snow and ice. Other regional fishing opportunities include kokanee salmon, mackinaw, brown trout and rainbow trout at Hell Hole Reservoir and brown and rainbow trout on the Middle Fork of the American during the stream trout season.

Activities: Fishing, boating, canoeing, fishing and swimming. Two boat ramps, the McGuire ramp on the north end and the French Meadows Campground ramp on the south end, are available. A variety of hiking and biking trails are found in the surrounding area, including some that provide access to the nearby Granite Chief Wilderness. 

Camping: The five campgrounds are French Meadows Family Campground, Lewis Family Campground, Gates Group Campground and Coyote Group Campground. The French Meadows Remote Sites are Ahart Campground (one mile upstream)
Talbot Campground (three miles upstream)
and Poppy Campground (north shore hike or boat access).

For current fees and/or more information: contact the U.S. Forest District at 530-367-2224 or visit online at www.fs.fed.us. For reservations, call the National Forest Reservation System at 1-800-280-CAMP or visit them online at www.reserveusa.com.  

Picnicking: French Meadows Picnic Area is located on the south shore of French Meadows and has 4 sites with tables and grills, potable water, toilets and a parking area. This is a day use area only.

McGuire Picnic Area and Beach is located on the north shore of French Meadows. This site has 10 tables with grills, potable water, toilets and parking area. This is a day use only site with the reservoirs beach and swimming area adjacent to the picnic area.

Restrictions: French Meadows is located within a State Game Refuge. Firearms or any other implements capable of taking game (including, but not limited to, bows & arrows and slingshots) are prohibited in this area; camping outside designated campground is prohibited in this area.

Articles & Reports
Mathis Scores Big Macks at Union Valley Lake

Written By: Garry Erck,
March 30, 2015

(Riverton) “The mackinaw bite is on at Union Valley Reservoir,” said Ken Mathis of Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service. “We just pulled in a twenty-pound, thirty-seven inch mackinaw and a bunch of smaller ones too. We are working...

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Ice House Anglers Pound Big Browns

Written By: Garry Erck,
March 3, 2015

(Riverton) Fishsniffer.com contributors Brandon and Donna Copleman (aka TroutLife) found a hot brown trout bite at Ice House where they caught and released nice natives on their last trip. 

“We fished through rain and hail, trolling...

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Shore Anglers Pick Up Mackinaw At Dam

Written By: Garry Erck,
January 21, 2015

(Riverton) Shore anglers working worms near the first dam are finding a few mackinaw for the taking, reported Karen at Sly Park Lake Resort. 

“The Narrows is also showing up as a place to pick up a few mackinaw,” noted Karen. “The bite...

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Mathis Scores Big Macks at Union Valley Lake

Written By: Garry Erck,

(Riverton) “The mackinaw bite is on at Union Valley Reservoir,” said Ken Mathis of Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service. “We just pulled in a twenty-pound, thirty-seven inch mackinaw and a bunch of smaller ones too. We are working typical sandy/rocky breaks 50-90 feet...

read more ››

Ice House Anglers Pound Big Browns

Written By: Garry Erck,

(Riverton) Fishsniffer.com contributors Brandon and Donna Copleman (aka TroutLife) found a hot brown trout bite at Ice House where they caught and released nice natives on their last trip. 

“We fished through rain and hail, trolling started at 10 am and we experienced...

read more ››

Shore Anglers Pick Up Mackinaw At Dam

Written By: Garry Erck,

(Riverton) Shore anglers working worms near the first dam are finding a few mackinaw for the taking, reported Karen at Sly Park Lake Resort. 

“The Narrows is also showing up as a place to pick up a few mackinaw,” noted Karen. “The bite is not hot, but anglers are...

read more ››

Coming Soon

Camping/fishing French Meadows

Written By: Forum Member: mikeandkristy,
August 16, 2013

I was so excited to get this end of season trip in! And so great to be going somewhere new. On the road at 6:45am. Auburn around 9am. Even before getting off hwy 80 we could smell the American fire. Got gas and worms and then on to Forest Hill. It was bad. No view just smoke. 

We already...

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Hand  Crafted Tackle of the Finest Quality 

Our mission is simple: To make the highest quality fishing tackle on the market today....

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Tips & Tactics for French Meadows Reservoir
Bank Anglers Should Score Well During Trout Anglers Challenge Event At San Pablo Reservoir Bank Anglers Should Score Well During Trout Anglers Challenge Event At San Pablo Reservoir

Written By: Cal Kellogg

During the winter and early spring month bank anglers often compete with boaters and at times surpass boaters success when it comes to...

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Bank Fishing: Hooking Reservoir Trout When The Water Turns Murky Or Cold Bank Fishing: Hooking Reservoir Trout When The Water Turns Murky Or Cold

Written By: Cal Kellogg

In terms of rain and snow the 2014/15 winter is off to a rip roaring start. If things keep going the way they have been, trouters and...

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Basics For The Bank Bound Trouter Basics For The Bank Bound Trouter

Written By: Cal Kellogg

Prospecting the waters of a lake or reservoir for trout from a boat decked out with downriggers and the latest electronics can be both...

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Weather Report for French Meadows Reservoir

Todays date: Friday May 22, 2015

French Meadows Reservoir Species
  • Trout
  • Trout


Water Level for French Meadows Reservoir

Sorry. We don't have any water level information for French Meadows Reservoir. Our information comes from the USGS.

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Video of French Meadows Reservoir

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