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Returned-to-form Kern River spits out 22-inch brown trout

WON Staff Writer
Published: Sep 27, 2017
KERNVILLE — The Kern River was blown out all summer thanks to runoff from record-breaking snowpack, but trout anglers are back in the upper river taking advantage of ideal flows and excellent trout fishing. Fly and “gear” anglers alike are putting up decent numbers of stocked and wild rainbows and the occasional brown trout, but one angler caught a brownie that will certainly put the Kern back on the radar.

KERN KONG — Ethan Evans of Bakersfield was fishing the Kern River near Johnsondale Bridge when he connected with this 22-inch brown trout. He was casting a black Rooster Tail on a restored 50-year-old Eagle Claw rod that was his grandpa’s.


Bakersfield angler Ethan Evans was fishing near John­sondale Bridge with a half century-old, 5-piece Eagle Claw rod when his spinner came to an abrupt mid-retrieve stop.

“I used a black Rooster Tail in a section of calmer water that I knew would produce some fish,” said Evans. “I was amazed when I felt the first tug, and I initially thought it was a catfish, but as soon as it surfaced, I saw it was a big trout.”

His buddy who was fishing nearby had to dodge a rattlesnake while running over to assist with the landing, and it was soon landed, photographed and released.

“Our scale was dead, and all we had was measuring tape, so we measured it and it was 22 inches long. We looked at a size chart online that said a 22-inch brown is typically 3 to 4 pounds,” he added.

Adding to the cool factor, that old rod belonged to Evans’ grandpa, and he had it restored by Mike McDaniels at Cope’s Tackle and Rod Shop in Bakersfield.

Flows are hanging right around 400 cubic feet per second which is just dandy for fishing and wading. During the peak of the runoff, flows had the Kern roaring down the mountain at a blistering clip of 15,000-plus cfs which not only made fishing impossible, but it claimed multiple lives.

Those low flows are a welcome sight for trout anglers on the Upper River enjoying comfortable and safe wading conditions. Long-rodders are getting them on streamers with some surface activity popping up in the evenings right up to dark.

For the latest info on hatches, conditions and fishing, contact Kern River Fly Shop in Kernville.



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