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Upper Kern River: Current top SoCal trout option

WON Staff Writer
Published: Aug 30, 2017
KERNVILLE — Flows on the upper Kern River continue to drop from one day to the next as trout-fishing conditions drift ever closer to optimal. After Southern California’s “Miracle Winter,” record snowpack became unprecedented runoff that peaked at well over 15,000 cubic feet per second and claimed several lives as the torrent roared south toward Lake Isabella. Now at just over 650 cfs, anglers are finally getting a shot at some late-summer fishing for wild as well as stocked rainbows.


FLOWS ON THE UPPER KERN RIVER are finally down to around 650 cfs, and fly-fishing for wild rainbows has been excellent in the 20 Mile Section.

This is the time to start fly fishing this section as water temps are holding around 60 degrees and rainbows are very active,” said Guy Jeans at Kern River Fly Fishing. “There is a PMD mayfly hatch around 7:30 p.m. in this section, and the fish are very aggressive. Streamers are working well casting down and across and stripping back up stream in the seams.”

The bug slingers are really getting the best run at it in the 20 Mile Section. Gear fishermen hitting the popular stocked-trout spots are running into larger-than-desirable crowds, but that should start to improve after Labor Day.

Flows on the lower Kern are still north of 1,500 cfs which is a challenge, but sometimes warm-water fish like bass and catfish can be effectively targeted in side channels and eddies.

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