Fish Species List
Listed are native and non-native fish found in Yosemite National Park.
Native fish are only found in the lower elevations of Yosemite. Native fish—including California roach, Sacramento pikeminnow, hardhead, and riffle sculpin—inhabit the lower reaches of the Merced River up to the vicinity of El Portal. Historic accounts suggest that rainbow trout and Sacramento suckers occurred as high as Yosemite Valley on the Merced River. Waterfalls prevented fish from migrating up the Tuolumne River into the Poopenaut and Hetch Hetchy Valleys and up the South Fork of the Merced River to Wawona. Hence, the majority of waterbodies in what is now Yosemite were naturally fishless.
Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Seven non-native species and two non-native hybrid trout occur in Yosemite National Park. From the first recorded planting in 1877 until 1990, more than 33 million fish were stocked into waters of Yosemite. Most of these fish were trout for sport fishing. Rainbow trout, although native to lower elevations, are non-native to waters above Yosemite Valley. The following non-native fish can be found in the park:
Bullgill (Lepomis macrochirus)
Did You Know?
In Yosemite Valley, dropping over 594-foot Nevada Fall and then 317-foot Vernal Fall, the Merced River creates what is known as the “Giant Staircase.” Such exemplary stair-step river morphology is characterized by a large variability in river movement and flow, from quiet pools to the dramatic drops of the waterfalls themselves.