Kern River Fly Fishing Report 6-29-16


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Kern River Fly Fishing Report June 29, 2016

The Kern River is approximately 170 miles long and has a variety of cold and warm water species to catch on a fly. From the native Kern River Rainbows, Little Kern Golden Trout , our California state freshwater fish the Golden Trout, Large and Small Mouth Bass, Carp, Crappie, Sacramento Pike Minnow, Sacramento Sucker, Chinook and Kokanee Salmon and a variety of Catfish all of which can be caught on a fly. The fly fishing report below gives reports on different species and sections of areas to fish in the Southern Sierra including the famous Kern River.

20 Mile Section of the Kern

The 20 mile section of the Kern from Kernville up to the Johnsondale bridge is the most heavily fished section of the Kern because of the roadside access and heavily planted areas of Triploid trout ( trout that cannot reproduce). This section is also home to wild (not native) rainbow and brown trout. This section is fishing very well with big rainbows being caught throughout the whole section. River flows in this section are around 700 cfs which are perfect for wading.  Best flies to use are attractor flies like the Bead Head Kern Emerger  and the Bead Head Royal Flush. There are hatches coming off like Yellow Sallies and PMD Mayflies. If you can, get on the water at first light to catch the PMD hatch. Are the fish looking up and eating on the surface? Yes, also in the evening around 7pm till dark PED hatch. Water temperatures are starting to rise in this section and are reaching 65 degrees around 2pm. Good techniques to use are nymphing under an indicator, dry dropper or stripping streamers. If you want to have good fishing on the 20 mile section of the Kern, now is the time! Check out the recent catches below.


Skip Barnes on the Upper Kern

Becky Collet on the upper Kern


Elli Rayne Jeans with a nice rainbow from the upper Kern.
Elli Rayne Jeans with a nice rainbow from the upper Kern.

4 mile Wild Trout Section  ( Above Johnsondale Bridge)

This section of the Kern is very popular with folks who want to have a wild trout experience. There are special regulations here and bait or barbed hooks are prohibited. Only artificial lures or flies with barbless hooks are allowed.  Many tickets are issued here to anglers who disregard the fishing regulations. The DFW does not stock the North Fork of the Kern River north of the bridge for 50 miles and those 50 miles are managed as a wild trout fishery. The fly fishing is excellent here because of these regulations. Check your regulations before fishing here!

Water temperatures are usually 5 to 10 degrees cooler here and the fish are very wary to your presence. A stealthy approach is needed to catch these fish. Fishing is excellent as of today. Dry dropper techniques and nymphing are getting the grabs. The biggest Stoneflies in the world reside here and fishing the flies that imitate them can get you some great fights. Click here to check them out.

Forks of the Kern

Can you catch a Kern River Rainbow here? Yes you can, and it will count towards your “Wild Heritage Trout Program”.

Lower Kern ( Below lake Isabella)

A bass fly anglers paradise! The lower Kern winds its way down the Kern River canyon from the Lake Isabella Dam to Oildale, approximately 80 river miles. This section has trout, bass, crappie and other species to catch on a fly. This section is fishing excellent for bass right now.Use big flies like White Jawbreakers or poppers to get into these fish. Guy Jeans’ guided fly fishing for bass trips have become very popular and he does them weekly. Great fly rod to use on the lower Kern for bass is a 9 foot 6wt or 7wt Redington Vapen Black, Redington Behemoth 7/8 Reel and a Rio Small Mouth Bass Fly Line

Kern River Bass Fly Fishing_Jordan Kern River Bass Fly Fishing_Jose

John and Becky Collet with a double hookup on the lower Kern River -Crappie and a Bass

South Fork of the Kern


The South Fork of the Kern River is a special fishery and is home to our states freshwater fish, the Golden Trout. It is also home to the predatory non native Brown trout who considers the small golden trout a tasty treat. Consider using flies that replicate small golden trout next time you fish the South fork of the Kern or use a mouse fly in the late evening.

Can you catch a Golden Trout here? Yes you can, and it will count towards your “Wild Heritage Trout Program”.

Tributaries of the Southern Sierra


Can you catch a Little Kern Golden Trout here? Yes you can, and it will count towards your “Wild Heritage Trout Program”.

The small creeks are great for Tenkara fly fishing. Click on the link to find out more information. Tenkara information and gear!


Lake Isabella

Lake Isabella is fishing well for Crappie, Bass and Carp on the fly! Carp have moved into the shallows as the lake fills up.


IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Many clients/customers have called and asked what organization they can donate to or how they can assist with the “Erskine Fire”. Kern River Fly Shop will not recommend any specific organization to donate to, but instead, will collect VONS/SAFEWAY Gift Cards to PERSONALLY AND DIRECTLY distribute to the families through out the areas that have been affected by the Erskine Fire. People will be returning to their homes where no electricity has ran over the past week and/or will need to replenish their food and belongings over the months to follow. Guy and I feel this is the best way we can help our fellow community members. If you wish to assist, the VONS/SAFEWAY Gift Cards can be purchased online at… and emailed to or mailed to 11301 Kernville Road, Kernville, California 93238.

We greatly appreciate and thank you for all of the calls and messages regarding our well-being and safety. During these times, it is inspiring to see how individuals pull together to take care of one another.

Guy and Kimberly
Kern River Fly Shop

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