and Overview Located
in California's Kern and Tulare Counties, the upper Kern River
from Lake Isabella upstream to the Johnsondale Bridge offers
about 20 miles of outstanding trout fishing (check out the
Isabella, at the southern end of this stretch, is roughly
40 miles from the city of Bakersfield via SR 178, and offers
one more fishing option to anglers who want to try their luck
there. The area abounds with campgrounds and hotels offering
easy access to the river.
Fishermen rate the Upper Kern River:
The Upper Kern River
enjoy trout fishing, then the Kern River is for you! Open
year round (with some exceptions - see below), the Kern is
home to huge numbers of rainbow trout. From March through
December each year, the Department of Fish and Game releases
up to 100,000 3/4-pound 'bows, as well as 3 to 4 thousand
more in the 2-8 pound range each year during the spring, summer,
and fall. With this many trout being planted every year, you'll
see a lot of holdovers from one year to the next, which translates
into some very big fish out there. To see the latest DFG stock
reports for the Kern River, check out their website.
of the nice things about the upper Kern is that for most of
its length anglers can simply park by the side of the road
and start fishing - access is that easy. Fly fishermen like
to use both dry and wet flies, while spin fishermen get good
results with Rooster Tails, Panther Martins, Thomas Buoyants,
and other small spinners on 4-6 pound line. Bait fishermen
do well with worms, crickets, Power Bait, and that old standby,
salmon eggs. Use only enough weight to get the bait down to
the fish, and try slower areas downstream from logs and rocks
where the fish like to shelter and feed.
fishing is during the summer and fall, from July until the
beginning of winter, when the river flow slows down after
the spring snowmelt.
Upper Kern River Weather
The weather along the Kern River is nice and mild, allowing
for comfortable fishing all year round. Daytime highs typically
range from the 50's in wintertime to the high 80's during
the summer, with water temperatures downright cold to pleasantly
cool depending on the time of year. Although the weather here
is more predictable than higher up in the mountains, you should
still check the weather forecast before heading out and plan
to see current weather conditions and forecasts for the town
Hotel accomodations are readily available in Kernville
and in the town of Lake
Isabella just south of the lake itself, as are a number
parks. For those who prefer tent or car camping, there
are plenty of opportunities all along the upper Kern, including
improved campgrounds, while several more campgrounds line
the shores of nearby
Lake Isabella. Also, a number of dispersed camping areas
allow anglers to camp along the river for free. For a complete
list of campgrounds in the Sequoia National Forest, as well
as a link to make reservations, check out the U.S.
Forest Service website.
All anglers age 16 and older must have a valid California
fishing license in their possession while fishing. Only one pole per fisherman may be used.
upper Kern River from Lake Isabella upstream to the Johsondale
Bridge is open to trout fishing year-round, with a daily bag
limit of five fish (no minimum length) and a possession limit
of 10 fish.
that portion of the Kern River from the Johnsondale Bridge
upstream to where U.S. Forest Service Trail 33E30 heads east
to join the Rincon Trail, only artificial lures with barbless
hooks may be used. Two trout may be possessed from the last
Saturday in April through November 15, with a minimum size
limit of 14 inches. From November 16 through the Friday preceding
the last Saturday in April, no fish may be kept; fishing is
the point where USFS Trail 33E30 heads east to the Rincon
Trail, upstream to the mouth of Tyndall Creek, trout fishing
is permitted from the last Saturday in April through November
15 only. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be
used, and a two-fish bag limit applies. A minimum length of
10 inches applies to rainbow trout only.
California Department of Fish and Game has all the complete,
regulations on their website.