Meet a DNC Yosemite Naturalist

Yosemite is a place of true wonder and we have a staff to help you explore the beauty and understand all of its intricacies. We introduce one naturalist, through a letter written to Yosemite, showing her love and passion for this National Park. Meet Ashley McComb:

My dearest Yosemite,

You might know me as the interpretive naturalist that lives and works within the cozy valley formed by your majestic granite walls. Working as a naturalist has been my dream job ever since I was a small child, because you stole my heart at an age that seems so far away now. Though I was 19 years old when I first stepped foot on your precious soil, I have dreamt of you ever since I was capable of dreaming.

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Tears streamed down my freckled face when I first laid eyes upon your heart, and the waterfalls that pour from it. You warm my soul with each breath I take of your fresh air.

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Snow Plant

Your assortment of wild-flowers, woody shrubs, mushrooms, and trees keep me grinnin’ all day long! Your wild raspberries nourish my happy little body each morning, afternoon, and night. I have never known wild berries to taste so good, so sweet, and so fresh. Maybe it is all the love your treasured soil contains. Or maybe it is because you are just pure magic.

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My dearest Yosemite, why are you so good to me? Raspberries, an amazing individual within the rose family, Rosaceae Rubus, grow wild and free; and on my naturalist strolls through the Ahwahnee meadow, park visitors who explore your lands are able to bask in their beauty, sweet aroma, and indescribably wonderful taste! My dear Yosemite, your wild raspberries, Rosaceae Rubus leucodermis, keep all of us sustained and invigorated, as our fingers stain purple and red while picking your delicious little treats.


Rubus leucodermis

My goodness Yosemite, you make me want to steal away to your green meadows and river shores, for we humans are so eagerly interested in everything alive. On my naturalist strolls, we swim in all that is alive, we taste it, we see it, we understand and delve in every aspect of your beauty. And it does not stop there! You have so many wild and untouched horizons upon your majestic lands.

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A view of Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne transformed the carbon compounds that make up my body the first day I saw its glory: open meadows untouched by human toes, gnarled peaks that touch the sky like spines on a dragon’s back, and gaping mountain mouths that reach out toward the heavens. Tuolumne is a whole other world: one that cannot be described by mere words.

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Before you opened my eyes to the immeasurable beauty of open lands I was lost, but now, you have shown me true life, true freedom, and true happiness. I have finally found that our spirits need wilderness to breathe.

Blog 1 Thank you Yosemite. Thank you so much, for everything.

An Interpretive Naturalist who truly adores you,
Ashley McComb

Have you discovered your passion within Yosemite? Join a DNC Naturalist to learn more about Yosemite National Park and uncover more of its beauty!

Fishing in Yosemite

Brook Trout

Brook Trout in Yosemite. Photo by Harry Vanderburg.

Stream and river fishing season in Yosemite National Park begins each spring on the last Saturday of April and continues through the year until November 15th. When the Tioga Road opens in the spring – allowing access to Yosemite’s high country – it’s time to catch some trout. Harry Vanderburg works at the Sport Shop in Yosemite Village – one of two outdoor gear stores in Yosemite Valley – and spends much of his free time fishing Yosemite’s rivers and lakes. Harry’s fishing recommendations serve as a beginner’s guide to fishing in Yosemite.

Yosemite Valley

Harry recommends fishing the Merced River near Housekeeping Camp. With easy access to the water, you can catch brown trout here early in the season. Harry also recommends spring fishing on the Merced between Yosemite Lodge at the Falls and the Swinging Bridge picnic area. Once Yosemite Valley fills with summer visitors, it’s best to fish further downriver between Pohono Bridge and the Arch Rock Entrance on CA 140.

Yosemite’s High Country via CA 120 Tioga Road

Two beautiful spots are easily accessible from the Tioga Road: May Lake and Gaylor Lakes. A one mile hike to May Lake provides you not only with the opportunity to fish, but also some of the Sierra Nevada’s best scenery. Just inside the park boundary at the eastern entrance on Tioga Pass, a one mile hike brings you to high altitude Gaylor Lakes. In both areas you’ll land brook trout.

Fishing at Gaylor Lakes in Yosemite with the Cathedral Range in the background

Fishing at Gaylor Lakes in Yosemite with the Cathedral Range in the background. Photo by Harry Vanderburg.

Yosemite’s Backcountry

Hiking into Yosemite’s backcountry is an experience in itself, but what about catching your dinner too? Among the High Sierra Camps, you’ll find good fishing at Merced Lake, a 14 mile hike from Yosemite Valley. Closer to the Tioga Road are Young Lakes, a six mile hike to three small alpine lakes with stunning Sierra scenery. Also on the High Sierra Camp loop, you’ll find rainbow trout at Vogelsang and Fletcher Lakes, a short hike from Vogelsang High Sierra Camp.

Fletcher Lake near Vogelsang High Sierra Camp in Yosemite

Fletcher Lake near Vogelsang High Sierra Camp in Yosemite


Harry Vanderburg

Fishing and camping supplies are available at the Sport Shop, including spin cast and fly fishing poles. Yosemite National Park has special regulations for fishing (see below) and all legal options are provided including barbless hooks. Most importantly, California fishing licenses are sold at the Sport Shop, good for fishing anywhere in the state of California.

Special fishing regulations for Yosemite National Park include:

  • No fish or roe may be used as bait.
  • Fishing from bridges and docks is prohibited.

In Yosemite Valley:

  • Rainbow trout are catch-and-release only.
  • Brown trout limit is five per day or ten in possession.
  • Only artificial lures or flies with barbless hooks may be used; bait fishing is prohibited.
  • Mirror Lake is considered a stream and is only open during stream fishing season.

Learn more about Yosemite National Park fishing regulations before your visit.