Merced County Times Newspaper
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Six trout in Lake McClure released with $1,000 tags

First prized fish already caught!

Joshua Moua, of Merced, receives his $1,000 prize for catching the first of six tagged trout in Lake McClure on Friday July 12.
Joshua Moua, of Merced, receives his $1,000 prize for catching the first of six tagged trout in Lake McClure on Friday July 12.

As part of an enormous effort to restore fishing in Lake McClure, six large trout were tagged and turned loose in the reservoir. Each is worth $1,000 and was sent swimming among 150,000 pounds of trout that were stocked in the reservoir in early July.

One of the tagged trout has already been caught, netting Joshua Moua of Merced a $1,000 prize.

On Tuesday, July 9, Joshua was fishing at McClure Point using rainbow garlic Power Bait. He had caught his limit and didn’t initially realize his catch included a tagged trout. As he was getting ready to head home, he noticed the tag in a 24-inch rainbow trout.

“I didn’t think much. I took it in to the rangers just to make sure. It was a prized fish. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve done tournaments up here at Lake McSwain but never won anything,” he said.

To his fellow anglers he had this simple advice: “Good luck – they’re deep.”
During the first week of July, more than 150,000 rainbow and brook trout were planted in Lake McClure.

The trout plant included thousands of pounds of trophy-sized fish reaching up to 18 pounds. More than 6,000 trout were planted that were over four pounds and more than 20 inches in length. More than 1,500 were planted weighing at least 8 pounds and measuring up to 30 inches.

The average trophy trout size is about 10 pounds and 2 feet in length.

Each of the five remaining tagged trout is worth $1,000. Anyone catching a tagged trout should contact the Parks and Recreation staff at the reservoir to collect their prize. Anglers can also call 209-354-2954.

“Lake McClure is in full swing and fishing is hot. We have a lot of people catching a lot of big fish. This is what anglers have been waiting for. The lake is full of trout and we have camping and other recreation available,” said MID Parks and Recreation Director Brooke Gutierrez.

Lake McClure and nearby McSwain offer hundreds of campsites with picnic tables and barbeque grills. Several of the RV sites come equipped with electric, water, and sewer hookups. RV sanitary dumping stations are also available. Lakes McClure and McSwain also offer park-model cabins for rent. For more information, please visit

Lake McClure, located in the Sierra Nevada foothills west of Yosemite National Park, had been a premiere trout fishing destination prior to the multi-year statewide drought. Although the reservoir recovered after the drought, the trout population had yet to reestablish itself to abundant pre-drought conditions.

Anglers visiting Lake McClure are asked to support the trout restoration by filling out short survey cards located throughout Lake McClure recreation areas and at the entrance kiosks. The feedback provided will directly support the stocking program.

For more on Lake McClure recreation, visit

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