Fishing Report Kern River, Owens River and Lake Isabella January 18, 2022

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Kern River Reports – North Fork

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Rob Buhler 01/18/2022
Kern River: The bite continues to be good with beautiful weather!! The warmer, sunnier days have been getting some fish active from 10am-3pm. Fishing has been best from the park in town up to Fairview Dam where water temps get a couple degrees warmer by midday. I haven’t fished above the bridge in weeks, but it may be worth a hike with nighttime temps in the 30’s and daytime temps in the 60’s over the next week. You will definitely have a shot at some wild trout!! Flashy, pink or larger nymphs are still getting the best response. Go small (#18-22) on at least one fly if targeting wild trout. The Slim Shiny Perdigon has been red hot for stocked fish and gives you a shot at a wild trout too!! Electric Candies have been solid. The Blue Wing hatch has been day to day and only in a select pool and runs. Use a long leader and 18-22 Parachute Adams or Cripple Mayfly.

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Kern River Flows: 240cfs above Fairview Dam and below the Powerhouse. 53cfs below Fairview Dam to the Powerhouse.

Kern River Water temp: 36-40 degrees 

Kern River Techniques: I am almost exclusively bobber fishing or Euro nymphing now unless we see rising fish. The water is cold and getting your flies on the bottom will improve chances at hookups. Use thinner fluorocarbon tippet subsurface as the water is now crystal clear. Longer, thinner 5x-6x nylon leaders on your dry fly rig is a must now while fishing to selective risers.


Kern River Nymphs: Slim Shiny Perdigon #14-18, Bucky Stones #12-14, BWO #18-22, Holo Midges #16-20, Electric Candy Yellow and Pink #8, Pink Frenchies #14-18, Kauffie Cup Stones #12, Tungsten Yellow Sally and Black Stones #8-14, Birds Nest #12, Lightning Caddis #14, Fire Perdigon #14, Zebra Midges #16-20, Soft Hackle and Flashback PT’s #14-18, Drag Queen #14-16, Peacock, Purple and Orange Frenchies #14-18, Olive/Orange Perdigon #14, Tungsten Jig Fire Perdigon #14, Tungsten Jig TNT Baetis #14, Red Soft Hackle PT, Red Blue Hares Ear, FlashbackHare’s Ear #14

Shop flies here! https://www.kernriverflyshop.com/flies-1

Kern River Dries: Rubber Legged Stimulators #12-16, Cripple Mayfly #16-20, #16-22 Parachute Adams, BWO #18-24, Griffiths Gnat or Cluster Midge #16-20.

Kern River Streamers:#8-12 Black or Olive Tungsten Wooly Buggers, Micro Finesse and Finesse Game Changers in White, Tan and Olive/Tan


Kern River Guide Tip: If you find rising fish, proceed with caution!! Cast above rising fish and drift fly to them. If fish activity slows, try only 6-10 casts and drifts, then wait patiently for the next wave of rising fish and target appropriately. Do not flog the water repeatedly as this will put the fish down.

Intermediate Clinic January 29, 2022, https://www.kernriverflyshop.com/bookings-003

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Guide Report: Ryan Buhler
 This week with the warm weather the fish got active up and down the 20-mile section. It has been a little chilly above the Johnsondale bridge and reports have the fish being stingy at the moment. Still worth a trip up that way just for the scenic beauty. At this time of year most fish are being caught nymphing with attractor patterns and some stoneflies. Slim Shiny in 14 and Bucky stones in 14 have been the best for me and my clients. Keep an eye on the park in town with the resent stockings. Good place to hook a few if you don’t mind some company while you fish. If that isn’t appealing head upriver and find some solitude. Great time to be on the river with low crowds and sunny days. Get off the couch and get outside. Ryan

Lower Kern

Lower KernTrout fishing has been a good option here with water temps being several degrees warmer than the Upper. Flows are perfect at 150 cfs. Use the same nymphing techniques and flies as listed on the Upper report, but it’s ok to use 3x-4x fluorocarbon tippet when nymphing with darker water. There’s also a better chance at that midday hatch here!! Always a shot at a monster pikeminnow too, especially when fishing streamers!!

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Lake IsabellaBass action finally slowed with recent storms and water temp drops. Use the same minnow patterns as mentioned for the Lower. Hatchery trout are now spread throughout the lake. It’s best to use streamers or attractors under a bobber for the stockers.


Lake Isabella Guide Tip: Long sinking tip or full sinking lines will help get your fly down to where the fish are in this cold-water period.

Book a trip with us on the Lower Owens River!

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Lower Owens

Lower Owens River: Fishing has been fantastic over the last few days with multiple 30-40 fish days for clients. Smaller mayfly nymphs, Walts Worm (on fire yesterday!) and midges size #18-20 continue to get the best response even after a warm spell. Nymphing has been steady in the mornings if you are getting good presentations. The Blue Wing hatch continues to be sporadic, but clients are still getting a shot at some dry action each day and usually netting a couple. The heavy, first generation hatch of size #16 BWO’s should pop any day now and the midday bite will go off!!!


Lower Owens Flows:  101cfs


Lower Owens Water Temp: 40-42 degrees 


Lower Owens Techniques: Two fly bobber nymphing, Euro nymphing and streamers are producing best outside of hatch periods. Bobbers are better in slow, deep runs and Euro is productive in drop-offs and riffles. Slim Shiny slowed a bit with natural colors working better this last week. #18-20 blue wing nymphs, Holo Midges, jujubaetis and #18 Olive Perdigons working well. Daily hatches of Blue Wings from 12:30-2pm, make for a fun shot at some topwater action!! Fish a streamer for your best shot at a trophy.


Lower Owens NymphsRed, Wine and Black Holo Midges #16-20, Walt’sWorm #18, BWO #18-20, Slim Shiny Perdigons Orange and Pink #18, Frenchies #14-18, Olive/Orange Perdigon #14, Blue Blood Midges #16-20, Peacock, Pink and Orange Frenchies #14-18, Wooly Bugger Olive #12, Flashback Hare’s Ear’s and P.T.’s #14-18

Shop flies here! https://www.kernriverflyshop.com/flies-1


Lower Owens Dries: BWO Cripple #16-20, Parachute Adams #16-20, Blue Wing Olive #14-18, BWO Spinner #18-20, E/C Caddis #16-18, Griffiths Gnat #16-20, Cluster Midge #16-18Lower O Guide Tip: If you find rising fish, proceed with caution!! Cast above rising fish and drift fly to them. If fish activity slows, try only 6-10 casts and drifts, then wait patiently for the next wave of rising fish and target appropriately. Do not flog the water repeatedly as this will put the fish down.

Crowley Lake: May 2022

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January 2022 School Dates

Beginner Clinic #1            January 22, 2022 / Kernville

Fly Tying Class                 January 22, 2022 / Kernville

Beginner #2                      January 23, 2022 / Kernville

Fly Fish the Surf              January 22,  2022 / Pismo Beach

Casting Clinic                  January 23, 2022 / San Luis Obispo

Intermediate Clinic          January 29, 2022 / Kernville

Fly Fish the Surf              January 29, 2022 / Newport Beach – Sold Out

Casting Clinic                  January 30, 2022 / Orange County

Online School

Guy Jeans School of Fly Fishing (learnhowtoflyfish.com

Kern River Fly Shop Podcast Episode #19

The podcast is now on Waypointtv !

Guy Jeans talks to fellow Kern River Fly Shop guides Rob and Ryan Buhler about the current conditions on the Upper Kern River near Kernville California and the Lower Owens River in Bishop, California. Topics include water temperatures, flies used, techniques and locations. Also discussed are boots and waders, rods, reels and sun protection. As always, at the end of the podcast roundtable, they talk about different music they’ve been listening to.

Rob, Ryan and Guy

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