Visited since 11/12/06
Fire Report - Schaeffer Fire - 07/06/17 - PM report
As of 5PM, the fire is currently 10,674 acres and only 8% contained. Full containment currently is not expected until July 31st. See the below link and the links from the 1st for further information on this fire.
Fire Report - Schaeffer Fire - 07/01/17
The Schaeffer Fire, located 17 miles north of Kernville, started June 24th. It is currently 1467 acres with 0% containment. Here are some links with more information
National Incident Information System - https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5285/
Porterville Recorder Article - http://www.recorderonline.com/news/lightning-sparks-the-schaeffer-fire/article_4fbb9e92-5c7e-11e7-9fc6-ef88b826fd1e.html
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 06/28/17
The 2017 death count on the Kern River is six and counting with another person (Rap Artist Michael Ramirez) missing and presumed drowned over the weekend. High temps in the Sierra drove flows to +8,000 cfs and daily flows deviated daily up to 3,000 cfs in a matter of hours. Stay out and stay alive on the Kern River. Thanks to those who are working with families who have lost loved ones to the deadly Kern River to increase awareness in the Sequoia National Forest with increased signage where people often foolishly enter the river. Just stay out and stay alive. Nuff said! Pass along and post on social media to your fly fishing friends. For the ones who always take your favorite spot………
Lake Isabella and Lake Success have been slow on trout, bass, and crappie. Why? A lot fewer fish, record drought mortality related, disbursed in a lot more water this year. Higher elevation streams and meadows are far healthier than the last 5 years. Fly anglers have had some success stalking small wild trout with light rods in areas where the snow pack finally melted and opened access roads. However, the mosquitoes are numerous and nasty. Go very prepared to fight them off, cover up, wear a head net and take your DEET spray with you. There is a lot of standing water in the higher elevations propagating hungry swarms.
Progress on the Kernville hatchery rebuild continues to be slow with little progress and a summer completion is unlikely. No trophy trout program at the Kernville hatchery until 2018 at the earliest. As you can imagine the triple digit temperatures have made it difficult to transport planter trout all the way from the San Joaquin hatchery in one day and is very stressful on the trout. The Upper Kern continues to be planted with foot longs periodically to satisfy many Kernville vendors and high flows have washed them down river. When things become sane later there should be trout disbursed throughout the 20 mile section and good pocket water catching. However, make no plans to wade for a while and don’t expect the Upper Kern Flows to drop below 1,000 cfs until late August at the earliest.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 04/02/17
Huge snow packs statewide are providing challenging water management strategies. The Lower Kings River was closed to recreational activities a few days ago. The Upper Kern is ramping up with summer like temperatures forecasted this week driving unsafe and unwadeable murky flows at over 3,000 cfs and the Lower Kern is also unfishable and flowing above 4,000 cfs. The April 1st snow course measurements are about 50% complete and the numbers today show a HUGE 227% of normal!!! Locally Lake Isabella has been draining to make room for the coming historical run off. The contract for the Lake Isabella Dam Repair Project will soon be awarded. Check out this site to see a detailed description of the huge project and time lines: http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Portals/12/documents/civil_works/Isabella/Isabella_Dam_project_rec_plan_update_presentation_21NOV14.pdf
The latest snow pack data shows a huge snow pack remains in the High Sierras even with the relatively dry March we have had. It appears that most of our favorite rivers are going to largely be unsafe to wade for months to come and the Upper Kern likely will not drop below 1,000 cfs until after Labor Day. In 2011 we had an April 1st snow pack of 195% (much lower compared to this record season)and river flows did not drop below wadeable 1,000 cfs rates until early August in 2011. See the graph to get an idea of likely flows we will experience this summer- albeit even higher than 2011. In that year a dozen people drowned and WE HOPE THAT THE FLY FISHING COMMUNITY WILL HEIGHTEN AWARENESS to avoid any tragedies this season. The huge snow pack will mean severely stressed alpine meadows will be on the road to health once again.
The Kernville Hatchery is still non-operational and little progress has been made recently. It has been inoperable since August 2016 and most believe it will not be operational before Memorial Day. Troutfest 2017, which usually occurs for the trout opener the last Saturday in April, has been cancelled. While it is frustrating to know that the catching won’t be great this year, this facility had structures built in 1928 that soon will be state of the art and will provide the means to finally stock fertile native Kern River Rainbows in a few years. Planting may finally occur in April, a long haul from the San Joaquin hatchery, but we think it wiser to wait until things become safe in late summer. In the mean time strong flows should distribute the planters more widely further down river. Plantings will come directly from the San Joaquin Hatchery which makes for a long 14 hour day for hatchery personnel and stressed trout. The total CDFW pounds for 2017 have been held to 45,000 lbs which is down from 2016 as last year had a bonus of about 10,000 lbs of trophies that were fed by funds raised by Friends of the Hatchery. Their main fund raising event Fishstock will again happen in September to drive trophies for 2018. The Friends of the Hatchery report that a trophy trout program will be restarted once the hatchery reopens. However, it will take a year or more to beef up footlongs to 4 lb trophies like we had in 2016. So if you want size on the Kern it looks like 2018 will be hog heaven for us. Local BFL lakes trout stocking ended last month but warming temps are bringing the panfish alive here and Lake Isabella.
The Lower Kings is now closed to recreation and high flows (+9,000 cfs recently). When flows drop (months from now?) there will be a lot of +4lb trophies worth safely targeting on the Lower Kings after over 10,000 lbs of them were introduced into the catch and release section this past winter.
The CDFW conducted a fish survey on Hot Creek 8/25/16 which concluded that the fish populations are much lower than surveys from 10 years ago. This past fall the CDFW stocked fertile “12,000 sub-catchable fish, of which 8,000 were Hofer-strain rainbow trout and 4,000 brown trout”. The fish had to be sub-catchable size because the river is a designated wild trout stream. Some details here http://caltrout.org/2016/10/restocking-plan-hot-creek-wild-trout-waters/
The CDFW will also now stock diploid (fertile) fish in the Mono Basin and other Eastern Sierra watersheds that do not have native trout in them. These will come from the Hot Creek Hatchery. Will other areas in the state be considered? Stay tuned.
This is big news that environmental groups have realized that a “sterile trout only stocking policy statewide” for years has likely negatively impacted trout populations. More study is required, but early evidence suggests that sterile male triploids have often pushed out fertile trout from trout hens laying their eggs. Perhaps more waters, like our own Kern River below Fairview Dam, might be considered for fertile plants once again before the Kern River Rainbow project is implemented years from now?
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 02/19/17
The unprecedented 5 year drought has morphed into a historically wet winter. Huge snow packs statewide are providing challenging water management strategies. The big question is how best to capture the all of this water and mitigate flooding at the same time. Locally Lake Isabella will soon reach the peak safety level of 63% capacity established by the Army Corps of Engineers a few years ago after leakage was discovered. Once the safe limit is reached, any day now, one would think they would need to release as much water from the dam as is inflowing. Some of the storms this winter have fed up to 25,000 cfs into the lake and releasing that much water would be unprecedented and destructive. Many remember releases touching 5,000 cfs six years ago that resulted in the collapse of some portions of highway 178 in the Kern Canyon that closed it for several weeks. The next few weeks will be interesting to watch. We think, “A River Runs Through It” in Bakersfield all summer long.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 01/21/17
Several of us have done very well tangling with the trophies planted on the Lower Kings. Members and others have been consistently landing trophies from 17” to 24” from the San Joaquin Hatchery and they will continue to be planted through the end of February. To make sure you pick the best conditions, make sure you check TWO different water flow charts before you go. While the outflow from Pine Flat Reservoir has remained low (65 cfs) and fairly constant, unregulated flow from Mill Creek (normally dry most of the year) has been huge at times since 1/7/17 with these latest monster storms. Mill Creek enters the Lower Kings about 2 miles downstream from Pine Flat Dam. Check out these flow charts before you head out especially after a recent rain. While the water clarity has been poor most of this winter (<2’ visibility) that has not hurt the catching but high flows (up to 3,800 cfs) can make it difficult and UNSAFE to access the best water. Total flows from both charts below 300 cfs are best according to Sierra Fly Fisher guide/owner Jimmie Morales. Best flies are flashy nymphs size 16 – 20 BHFBPT, Red or Green Copper Johns or micro mayflies, and dark streamers. Dries come out between 11 am and 1 pm and small 22 BWO can get grabs.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 01/08/17
Huge weather events are rocking our world this week. The NOAA and other forecasters really blew it as the predicted longer range winter drought appears to be well over. Here in BFL we will likely hit our average annual rainfall total before you get your W-2s in the mail. Last year we actually hit average rainfall totals in the valley but the snow pack ended up much lower than normal and the snow pack is what gives us trout friendly temperate river conditions in July through September. The storms hitting the Sierras today are very warm and heavy rain levels are moving up to +9,000’ so extreme flooding is going to occur where reservoirs do not exist . Will we have a super snow pack above 9,000’ or will the amounts below 9,000’ that melt offset? Time will tell and at this time it is very hard to predict what the summer of 2017 will look like on the Upper Kern. The river in BFL is flowing for the first time in years and Lake Isabella is filling up gradually but is still below average for this time of year. We all are eager to see the latest snow pack plots but none are available at this time. Check here in a week to see the snow pack impact of these recent massive storms http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/PLOT_SWC The Upper Kern reached 15,000 cfs last night wow!
The Lower Kings continues to be stocked with 3-5 lbs trophies at a rate of 1,000 lbs/wk even with the drop in water clarity. Flows still remain well under 100 cfs on the Lower Kings below Pine Flat Reservoir. Check out Bill’s latest trophy (one of many) he recently landed on smaller zebra midges, streamer tugging also gets hook ups too.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 12/24
Santa delivered a welcomed deluge of rain and snow in Southern California. Snow levels got down below 4,000’ and a second cold snap will follow. The last stocking for a while happened on the Upper Kern just before Christmas and a fresh planting of foot longs went in to section 4 below KR3 to town. River temps are in the low 40’s and dropping as flows begin to rise (so that will mean stocking can’t happen up here for a while). It is doubtful flows will retest the 3,000 cfs of a week ago because most of the precipitation is snow for a change but could murk things up again? Lake Ming was planted closer to home on Wednesday with foot longs.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 12/16
Riverwalk and Brite Lake (Tehachapi) were planted Wednesday and it was good catching for a short time, however, the last 24 hours has dropped off dramatically, perhaps related to the drop in temperatures associated with the latest storm.
The Lower Kings is the place to be as it has been stocked with lots of 3-5 pound brood trophies that will continue well into February. These piggys will not be planted here in Kern County Sad smile . The catching has been good on the Lower Kings and flows below Pine Flat Lake are around 100 cfs
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 12/02
Brrrrrr……baby it’s cold outside. Frigid temperatures arrived after Turkey Day to upper elevations and snow levels below 4,000’ have put the trout down on much of the Upper Kern. There was a fresh stocking on section 4 close to/in Kernville that made a few anglers happy just in time for Turkey Day. As usual future winter stockings will be dictated by the CDFW temperature limits and the ongoing construction at the Kernville hatchery. Locally the last stocking of the year for Bakersfield local lakes will occur just before Christmas when trout will be driven directly from the San Joaquin hatchery. CDFW planting is not allowed when moving water temps are below 45 degrees and still waters below 42 degrees. You can view at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Hatcheries/Criteria
The Kernville hatchery likely will be inoperable through March provided there are no more unforeseen construction or weather delays. We hope the hatchery will be functional by opening day in late April and that a trophy trout program can be initiated again. However, it will take many months (or year) to beef up half pounders to match summer 2016 trophies and sadly there appears to be lethal river temps again for summer 2017 beginning in June – more on that below.
The best fishing of the winter season soon looks to be found just a short trip north of us. The Lower Kings River will be stocked with trophy brood stock rainbows beginning the week of December 19th. These trout will be in the 3 – 5 lb range. Not quite as big as previous years (check out member photos from Jan/Feb 2013 below) due to the extended Southern Sierra drought but definitely some rod bending trophies for sure. Be mindful of the special regulation barbless, catch and release section that is patrolled heavily by CDFW wardens. The fly fishing community has raised over $80,000 over the years to provide additional Kings River patrols on the stretch to combat poaching. This is a low elevation tail water fishery which requires different tactics but has some big rewards for the observant and persistent fly fisher.
NOAA and Accuweather forecasts still point to a low snow pack (= drought) for the Southern Sierra this winter. However, NorCal has been blessed with a very wet fall so far, here are some of the rainfall totals for CA cities so far as of 12/2/16
City Total (in) Percent of Normal
Eureka 17.9 221%
Redding 12.7 188%
Sacramento 5.84 187%
Bakersfield 0.62 65%
San Diego 0.68 42%
Going forward, extremely stressed trout habitat again appears to be in store for waters in the Southern Sierra for the summer of 2017. Hopefully measures will be taken to help mitigate these impending severe conditions and organizations, agencies, and communities are developing plans in advance to effectively address years of prolonged drought to help sustain healthier trout populations.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/27
I decided to go and try and fish the Upper Kern today before the first rainstorms muddy up the river. Flows were just 61 cfs on section 5 and 100 cfs above Fairview Dam. So it is easy for birds to pluck bows out of the river even with the low fishing pressure. I had low expectations because the catching has been so poor for sometime now. As I turned the corner near Lake Isabella it became apparent that there was a lot of smoke in the area. I had no idea that the newest fires had created so much smoke. I considered turning around but coming this far I just thought I'd stop by the hatchery to see the latest construction.
But with decent water conditions for the rest of the year likely to end this weekend, I decided to give the catching a try and drove all the way up to JDB. I did not see one single car in the pull outs along the Upper Kern on the 20 mile section. I can't remember an October when I've observed this so it appears most folks have given up? I spent most of my time on section 6 where I thought I'd have the best chance of catching trout that survived the high water temperatures of this summer. I targeted my four favorite wild trout spots on section 6. Over the course of three hours I did not get one take and was really surprised to not get any action at all. The water temperature was 49° at 9 AM when I started and didn't change.
I thought for old time sake I might try one of my spots I like to target wild trout on section 5. I expected to ake a few casts into the best water I know there and call it a day but to my surprise I landed five rainbows in about 30 minutes all definitely were wild and two of them actually had faint orange thumbprint sized spots on their bellies, the largest trout was 14 inches. They liked my red #12 BH Arnerd nymph and I did land two on a size 18 FBBHPT. The water temperature never changed and it remain at 49° when I stop fishing just before 1 PM. I was willing to try another spot that might hold some wild trout on section 5 but all of the wading in the smoky air was irritating my eyes and throat so I called it a day earlier than usual.
I stopped by the hatchery on the way home and they are moving ahead but had some delays because the shallow water table bubbled up into the excavations so they're having to pump water out before they can do more concrete work. I snapped a few pictures and had a great conversation with the hatchery manager as they are making a lot of upgrades to the incubation house with brand-new plumbing and state-of-the-art equipment that should provide the first wild trout to be planted in the next few years. At this time it appears that construction will extend beyond February so here's hoping that the hatchery may be functional by March - an important time frame before we see high spring melt flows (IF there is an unexpected decent snow pack this winter).
There is no planting that will occur for the next few weeks but could be a possibility for Bakersfield lakes for Turkey Day. Currently lake temperatures are cool enough for trout now. There will be some rain coming very soon increasing flows significantly and bringing soot and ash from the fires up river that occurred this summer and are in progress today. Hopefully the rains will be put out fires because the locals in Kernville are tired of the smoky conditions of the last week.
FIRE ALERT - Jacobsen Fire - 10/23
The Jacobsen fire started around 5PM on Thursday (10/20). The fire is currently around 950 acres and is burning north east of Sequoia Crest, which is near Camp Nelson. More information can be found at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5073/.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/16
Many of us fished for monster trout on the Lower Kings River not so long ago. Last year because of the severe drought the San Joaquin hatchery was emptied and there was no winter trophy trout program. Fortunately the SJ hatchery brood stock easily survived the summer (hatchery intake water comes from the bottom of Millerton Reservoir) and that winter trout trophies will be planted again. These trout will be between 3 and 5 pounds and the first should be planted in the Lower Kings River hopefully around Turkey Day. The Lower Kings currently has been getting some weekly plantings of footlongs at this time. A KRFF outing to the Lower Kings might be in the cards sooner than later.
One other important development is that worth sharing. There is growing sentiment that limited fertile (diploids) planted trout may occur again. Many environmentally sensitive groups are changing their minds as there is more and more evidence that wild trout populations are being negatively impacted by triploids(sterile) rainbow trout being in the fisheries. You may have read that CalTrout helped spearhead a fertile fingerling rainbow trout planting recently on Hot Creek to revive a very depleted fishery there. There may be expanded fertile plantings, hopefully closer to home, in other areas that provide the right conditions.
The Kern hasn’t been planted for months. Locally we usually have BFL lakes planted in mid-October but high lake temperatures, toxic algae, Kernville hatchery construction, and low winter planting pound allocations mean local fall and winter stocking will be substantially delayed/reduced from last year. The construction at the Kernville hatchery is underway and will mean the hatchery will be inoperable through February (provided no further delays). The high cost to drive all the way to the SJ hatchery and then back to BFL and Kernville makes biweekly plantings very expensive. So probably it won’t be a great winter season in our local waters this year.
Trophy trout plantings on the Upper Kern likely will be much smaller from 2016 as the hatchery will be inoperable for the early part of 2017. It takes TIME, effort, and extra trout pellets to raise bigger rainbows. The 2016 +4lb crop was raised from eggs over a two year period. There will be a much shorter window to lengthen and fatten the 2017 trophies by summer. We praise all of the efforts made to make the trophy trout program for next year – we are waiting anxiously.
Old Kernville hatchery races demolished recently (hope to be finished construction by Feb 2017)
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 09/16
The fishing report for fall 2016 is not encouraging. The hatchery was under duress during the recent Cedar Fire but came out fine thankfully. Nearly all of the trout allocated by the CDFW to be planted this year have been planted already. So there will be a little stocking for the rest of the year. Planting of Bakersfield lakes will occur much later this year because there are far fewer pounds and likely won't be stocked until Turkey Day and Christmas week. The 20 mile section above Kernville has not seen significant planting in almost 2 months and will likely not be planted for quite some time. The continued drought, demise of wild trout (especially below Fairview Dam) and the non-fertile planters on the 20 mile section combine to dramatically reduce the catching within a couple of weeks once CDFW planting ceases. Sadly another lower than normal snow pack is forecasted for 2017. On a positive note the CDFW trout pound allocations for next year are the same as this past year, although dramatically lower than previous years, it is good to to hear it won't get even worse for 2017.
Fishstock overcame a lot of obstacles with the Cedar Fire and unfortunately raised far less than in 2015.Considering all of the difficulties the people of Kernville endured this is a remarkable achievement and hopefully will help supplement the stocking with trophy trout for 2017. The hatchery construction has been delayed and likely won't start until October now. Planting will be significantly affected until the construction is completed. This will be a negative impact on the catching but in the long run will get us closer to native fertile trout being planted with the Kern River Rainbow trout project (still years from planting large numbers on the 20 mile section). Funds (about $80,000) to provide an inlet water filtering system were finally approved from the SoCal Edison Trust.
If you are interested in hearing about the latest for the Kern River Rainbow Trout project the next committee meeting for the Upper Kern Fisheries Enhancement Fund will take place on in Bakersfield Monday, September 26 at 11am. The meeting will be hosted at Kern Community Foundation (3300 Truxtun Ave., Suite 220, Bakersfield). If you are unable to attend in person, the conference line is 661-616-2616.
Documentation to provide more information can be found
Please respond to this invite as to whether you will attend, in person or on the conference line. If you have any questions, feel free to contact:
Rachel M. Evey | Coordinator of Development and Donor Services
River Conditions - Rich Arner - 08/25
It really has become very concerning for several reasons on our favorite water. Today all of Kernville is holding its breath as the Cedar Fire is being driven down the mountain slopes towards town by the NW winds. The hatchery and many residents have been evacuated. There is less than a 1/4 mile visibility and the smoke is bad on the 20 mile section. Thoughts and prayers are sent their way. The grasses in the Bull Run Creek drainage are of particular concern as the fire will move rapidly through them (now in progress). It is reported that the fire is now near the Kern River at Halfway/ Camp3/ T-bird campgrounds. The western fringes of Kernville are bracing for the worst. It really sounds like a war zone up there. See the links below for the latest and Eyewitness news http://bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/cedar-fire-containment-up-to-10-percent has been carrying the most thorough coverage daily and reports on its website often. Containment is now hoped for by September 15th. Sadly there has been very little monsoonal shower activity as well to help dampen fire risk.
FIRE ALERT - Cedar Fire - 08/24
As of this evening, the Cedar Fire has burned 23,239 acres and is only 10% contained. The forest service this evening has announced a partial closures on the Upper Kern. Campgrounds will be closed for overnight camping but some day use will still be allowed. Some ember, and a lot of ash and smoke, have been covering the Upper Kern Areas. Parts of Kernville have also been put under a precautionary evacuation alert. For more up-to-date details, please visit the links below.
http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4964 - National Incident Information System - Cedar Fire
http://rockyags.cr.usgs.gov/dashboards/WebCam.htm - Southern Sierra Fire Lookout web cams
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 07/29
The last trophies were stocked more than a week ago and the very low flow coupled with numerous +100 degree days prompted me to try one last summer trip to the Upper Kern today. 110 degrees were likely over the weekend so I wanted to see for myself what conditions were like on the 20 mile section and if they matched the low catch rates reported lately. I first tried an upper section 5 spot. Water was 66 degrees at 8 am and the first tubers were already floating down the river as air temps were in the 80’s. I couldn’t believe all of the tents already erected early on Friday morning. Some of these overflow campgrounds must have had 40-50 tents crammed onto less than a 1/2 acre of space with just one porta pot(yikes!). Forecasts of +100 degrees appears to have little affect on the the amount of camping. I can’t imagine what it was like sleeping in the hot stagnant air filled with boom box music and intoxicated revelry. Not my style of camping for sure.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 07/25
Upper Kern flows have dropped below 2015 (worst flows ever recorded) lethal levels and river temps at the hatchery meant that the trophies were emptied into the 20 mile section last week (7/17).
By noon river temps are above 70 degrees on most of the 20 mile stretch. Most trophies were taken on section 4. Some may still survive on sections 5 or 6. There are a few sub footlongs that can still handle the hot hatchery conditions for now but will have to be planted very soon. To take advantage of the hatchery down time work on the hatchery upgrades has been pushed up the calendar earlier since no trout can be held during construction. Later this fall as water temps remain below 70 degrees all day, plans are to bring planters directly from the San Joaquin hatchery to resupply the 20 mile section until construction is completed. If flows remain below 2015 levels no significant stocking will occur until October.
Members have been catching a lot of squaw fish as they appear to be thriving. Squaw fish are now the dominate fertile fish on the 20 mile section of the Upper Kern River. If you are lucky enough to catch a wild trout (most < 10”) make sure it goes back in the water asap. Larger trout are far more susceptible to exhaustion death due to heat stress. Remember that river temps are above 70 degrees for most of the day and trout simply just try to stay alive in water that warm and often don’t have the energy to even feed. In the morning there is a short span of time when temps stay just below 70 degrees and is the only time they can feed. Please give them every chance to take advantage of this time undisturbed so they can feed enough to survive. It would be nice to have some decent trout make it to fall if possible. Consider fishing other waters much higher in elevation. NorCal and state north have had a great water year. Think about those places to cast a line instead.
There will be another Fishstock fundraiser September 3rd to raise funds to raise trophy trout going forward. The 2016 trophies we targeted the past few months were raised from eggs spawned in April 2014 so it takes about two years to bring rainbows from eggs to +3 lbs. Here’s looking to 2018!
When you do fish during this stressful time remember the CDFW recommendations should be followed to make sure as many wild trout survive this drought. They currently are the only trout (fertile) that can provide long term sustainability for trout populations. Make sure you carry an accurate thermometer. We need to make sure we take care of them; the criteria is below:
Protective measures for catch-and-release fishing during the drought include:
• Avoiding fishing during periods when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit (likely afternoon to late evening)
• Playing hooked trout quickly and avoiding extensive handling of fish
• Keeping fish fully submerged in water during the release
• Utilizing a thermometer and checking water temperatures every 15 minutes when temperatures exceed 65 degrees Fahrenheit
• Stopping angling when captured fish show signs of labored recovery or mortality
• Utilizing barbless hooks to help facilitate a quick release
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 07/08
Had an itch to fish the Upper Kern as flows on section 4 and 6 have dropped quickly below 400 cfs that means safer wading and the potential to cross the river on those sections for the first time in months. I talked with the hatchery manager to see how things were doing before I headed up. He said they had stocked a lot of bows on Friday, Sunday and Monday (July 4th) but were stocking the Lower this week for the last planting until late fall. He also said that the trophies can not be planted with the footlongs because the trophies are much more delicate to move around and particularly as river temps exceed 65 degrees which is occurring daily now. So that is why last Friday no trophies were seen or caught by anyone I talked with or observed. However, a lot of campers wedged into the campgrounds for the July 4th weekend had a great feast on Sunday and Monday as the CDFW worked the weekend to keep the tourists happy.
I was pretty tired from wading in 350 cfs but it was 60 degrees (water temp; 95 air temp)up here at noon on section 6. So I decided to chug a liter of water and go back to section 5 where I had good numbers a week ago. The first two spots I revisited only provided 2 grabs from footlongs I likely landed and moved last week. So I tried another spot I hadn’t visited since last year before I called it a day as I was pretty tired and had a sore shoulder. That is where things got great. I found a stretch that had many active feeders both on top and bottom. Trout ranged from 13” to 20”. I landed 3 more toads here and had 3 other toads on that went aerial and threw my flies. The #12 Hills BLT tan and orange and yellow bellied stone ( several in stock at https://www.hillsdiscountflies.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product_details&view_productID=3168&search_deptID=1&search_categoryID=0 )was hit hard and often both drifted and twitched. Landed the largest trout I have ever tagged on a dry fly. I had my first double hookup this year and I was lucky to find this stretch that some how wasn’t harvested over the holiday weekend?
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 07/01
Wanted to check out conditions for some friends and family that were coming up for the July 4th holiday so I thought I might have some water to myself before the crowds arrived. I definitely didn’t beat the crowds! The free over flow camping areas were packed full on Friday morning at 8:00 am when I arrived. Water temp was 64 degrees on lower part of section 5 and triple digits have and are going to be around for a while. The first hour was casting practice and I decided to head way up river. Campers said that the catching was slow all week. I moved on and stumbled onto a spot that locals said was stocked less than an hour before I got there. I managed to land eight quickly and could sight fish to them. None looked over 13”. Then tried several other spots that likely would be stocked today. Most spots were already pressured hard when I got there and I just used the time to watch and chat with the bait fishers that all were camped around the small pods of fish trapped between power bait rigs. Most sites reported three buckets or about 20 trout per site. They clearly weren’t going to survive the day given the number of anglers. I stopped at a half dozen spots before I came upon a site I had to myself. I quickly hooked up on my #18 BHFBPT and brought a 16” bow to the net. That was the biggest trout anyone landed I had talked to today. I had expected that some trophies would have been planted but I don’t think that happened on Sections 5 and 6. I enticed 7 more on the same spot with a #12 Arnerd and #18 bhfbpt before they seemed to tire of it. Then switched to #10 olive crystal flashy buggers on a sink tip to land several more. I took care to spread my trout around after netting them. I did try to find trout beyond stocking locations and came up empty. It was easy wading on Section 5 at just 140 cfs. Above Fairview on section 6 the wading was still unsafe and near 800 cfs so I didn't spend much time there.
Fire Report - Erskine Fire - 6/29 PM
The Erskine fire is currently 46,684 acres in size and 70% contained. There are approximately 1,300 personnel fighting the fire, along with numerous other agencies assisting the residents. 257 structures have been destroyed. Continue to monitor the links previously provided below for updates on the fire.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 06/27
The flows finally have dropped below 1,000 cfs and stayed there this week. Prior to today Section 5 which benefits from power diversion was moving from a low of 300 cfs to +700 cfs in just hours making it unpredictable and unsafe to wade effectively. Flows now appear to be much more stable and should drop off provided no thunderstorms change things. So a safe trip up to the Upper Kern was very promising today. In the past landing +50 bows in 6 hours of casting has been the norm after the melt subsided. The Upper Kern continues to be planted by the CDFW even though high melt flows make it difficult for land bound fishers (wisely staying out of the dangerous current) to harvest trout. When the river recedes there are a lot of trout concentrated in much less water and hopefully the trout will have been dispersed well beyond the routinely planted locations.
This week lower sections of Section 5 flows were 200 cfs, gin clear, and water temps at 8 am were 62 degrees. While water conditions were great the expected numerous trout scattered throughout pristine pocket waters was not evident. Double hook ups usually occur at this time and none were had. Landed 14 bows between 8 am and 2 pm until the heat hit 105 and water temps hit 67 on the lower stretches of section 5. The numbers just aren’t there as in previous years and given that total pounds have been reduced from over 90 tons a year to 25 tons a year you would expect a 72% reduction in the catching post melt. If you do the math one could have predicted a catch of exactly 14 bows compared to the 50 post melt trout caught in years past. Amazing how predictable this math turned out to be?
The best part, I hooked four trophies, landed three that were all around 18” and they were lacking the hatchery fungus and fin rot that trophy trout landed in early May exhibited. According to the hatchery manager trout will heal quickly after being planted in the river. These trout were very strong having swum in strong current for weeks and took quite a while to net. Trout like this require a 5wt weight or better I will leave my trusty 4wt at home next time. All were taken on nymphs #12 Arnerd and #18 BHFBPT. There was some top water action too but mostly smaller fish that had a hard time swallowing a #10 foam golden stone imitation (Hill’s golden BLT). More surface action should occur on hopper patterns soon. There were midges, caddis and may flies showing but not much sipping going on.
Traveling up the canyon was not a problem and I passed a lot of fire trucks and Kern County officers heading back to Bakersfield. The burn area did not look that bad from the highway 178 and 155 intersection. Except for the red fire retardant blanketing the hills, I would not have guessed there was extreme carnage there. Thoughts and prayers go out to all of the people of that area.
There will be heavy planting for the 4th but the hatchery is seeing inlet river temps in the upper 60’s already in the afternoons and given the +100 degree long term forecasts the whole hatchery likely will need to be emptied sooner than later. Stay tuned......
Fire Report - Erskine Fire - 6/26 PM
As of mid-day Sunday (6/26), the Erskine fire was up to 36810 acres in size, with only 10% containment. At least 150 homes have been destroyed with another 75 home damaged. Damage assesment teams are still making their way through all the communities impacted by the fire. Highway 178 is closed from Highway 155 to Sierra Way. Current wind directions have the smoke moving North through the Kern River Valley.
Fire Report - Erskine Fire - 6/24 PM
This fire started about 3:51PM on June 23rd. The fire crew extremely rapidly to several thousand acres, with 50+ homes lost in just the first few hours. As of 6:30PM Friday (6/24) the fire was at 30,000 acres and only 5% containment. Approximately 100+ homes have been lost, but this number is expected to rise as assessment crews are able to enter the areas. Multiple roadways are closed in this active fire area as well as power outages to a large portion of the valley. Below are links to some of the fire websites. All Bakersfield and Ridgecreast news outlets also have information and pictures.
National Incident Information System - http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4806/
Kern County Fire - http://www.kerncountyfire.org/
Kern County Fire Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/kerncountyfire/ - Along with updated information, there are several videos posted, including a 1 hour video shot live Thursday evening.
Kern County Fire Twitter Page - https://twitter.com/kerncountyfire
Fire Report - Chimney Fire - 06/03 Mid-day
As of mid-day today, the fire was holding at 1826 acres with little movement predicted for the day. Containment was at approximately 33%, with full containment expected Tuesday (6/7). Some resources from the Chimney fire were sent to a fire in Monterey County.
Fire Report - Chimney Fire - 06/02 PM
Here are some more links to sites providing information on the Chimney Fire:
http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4757/ - National Incident Information Website
http://www.ridgecrestca.com/news - Ridgecreast Daily Independent News
Fire Report - Chimney Fire - 06/02 AM
According to the Ridgecrest High Desert News Facebook page, the fire is burning in the Owens Peak and Chimney Peak Wilderness Area, near Kennedy Meadows. The first is reported to have started in the Chimney Peak Campground. See more on the story and pictures at: https://www.facebook.com/HighDesertNews/. Also visit the Kern County Fire Facebook page for more pictures: https://www.facebook.com/kerncountyfire/
Fire Report - Chimney Fire - 06/01
A fire started Wednesday afternoon (6/1) about 15 miles North of Kernville. As of 5:30pm on Wednesday, the fire was listed at 200 acres. At 9:30pm the fire was listed at 1000 acres in size. The fire may be visable from some of the Sequoia Fire Lookout webcams at http://rockyags.cr.usgs.gov/dashboards/WebCam.htm. More information will be posted as is becomes available.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 05/13
The melt is on and fly fishers will be challenged for a while. A good fly fisher contact reported yesterday,”The river was completely blown out, muddy… logs floating downstream. It was dangerous. Didn't even take the rod out of the case.” Check out the recent trend and what an average year looks like below. Likely we will be well above 1,000 cfs for the next few weeks until July. Time to stay safe and tie flies and dream of post melt opportunities.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 05/04
Today 5/4 was a much better day. I saw T storms to arrive Thurs/Fri so realized that today was my only window before things could deteriorate for a while. Got on the water at 9:30 am and was warmer at 54 degrees. Been hot the last few days. Flows on the low flow stretch (section 5) were 160 cfs when I left the house. Wading was easy and water was clear. I was surprised to have several on the hook and spread out in pocket water. Exactly the way I like to fly fish. Had the whole run to my self too. Same flies worked as usual. I tie the Red Arnerd with a #12 Daichii 1153 and weight the fly too. Had about a half dozen in the net the first hour hoping to tag a trophy trout. The trophies now average just over three pounds according to the hatchery manage and about 500 were sprinkled along the 20 mile section Friday. Near hour two I hooked the first one and I had a 10 minute fight with my 4wt and 4lb Vanish tippet. Must have weighed 4 lbs and measured 20”. I moved upstream and gave that spot a rest after all of the splashing and chasing. Had a few more grabs over the next 30 minutes and went back to see if there was another trophy hanging out. I snared and landed another 3 lb trout and released where I think they had a chance to last a while (try to release your trout on the west side of the river please). I moved on to 3 other spots up river (many more fishers were now parked in the turnouts) and was able to land 3 more trophies !!! Four on the RH Arnerd and one on BHFBPT. At about noon I noticed the water level coming up and water getting dirty. My guess is that T storms up river or a change in power diversion was occurring. Only had one take/landed after that. Total was 15 to the net all before noon. Section 5 flows came up to 230 cfs (40% increase)during the day. Typically if flows go up just 20% I observe clarity issues. First time I have been in double digits in a long time. Five chunky rainbows between 17”-20”, been years since I’ve seen bows that big on the 20 mile section of the Upper Kern. Enjoy the pics.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 04/29
Last week the CDFW planted 2,000 lbs (see Trout Nerd Data below to put in perspective) for the traditional “opener”. I had my last Trout in the Classroom trout fry release trip to support on Friday 4/29. Great group of students that got a lot out of being beyond the Kern Canyon mouth. I left Upper Richbar at about noon and arrived on the Upper Kern at 1:00 pm. Water temp was 50 degrees. There was quite a bit of fishing pressure but I found a spot to myself. Landed 2 skinny trout in the first 30 minutes but not where they usually stock. I raked over water that should have had strikes if they planted but neither streamers or nymphs produced a hit? I headed down river and stopped at 4 spots giving them about an hour each. Saw no one catching fly or bait angler. Talked with several folks who had seen the stocking truck but no one was catching. I did manage to land 4 more trout away from where all of the pressure was. Found out they stocked the river on Tuesday so I managed to catch some that managed to migrate a bit. I hadn’t fished to 6 pm in a long time and was hoping to catch a late afternoon hatch but saw nothing today. Totaled 6 bows in the net 8”-13” . Liked the red Arnerd and #18 bhfbpt.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 04/26
The final April 1st snow pack numbers are in for California. The good news is that Northern California had a good year. The bad news is the Southern Sierra fell well below normal snow pack for the fifth straight year. Here’s how many of your favorite watersheds did below:
2016 SNOW PACK BY RIVER BASIN (April 1st snow course measurements)
For our own Kern River the July, August and September temperate river flows are critically influenced by the snow packs above 10,000’. As of 4/1 those measurements ranged from 49% to 78% before some very warm days earlier this month. So it is likely we will see lethal Upper River temperatures return for the last half of the summer and the hatchery will be challenged to operate again.
Click here for details: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow_ss/COURSES.201604
Reports from fly fishing contacts fishing runs on most of the 20 mile section of the Upper Kern River continue to have very low catching. That may change soon as the first of the trophy trout reared on Fishstock contributions will finally be placed in the river this week. However, flows soon will become dangerous to wade, so be safe if you choose to go. Call the flow phone at 877-537-6356 to see if the low flow section is running below 400 cfs (currently 220 cfs); above and below the low flow section flows are about 800 cfs and cold. Hot temperatures forecasted next week and this will really kick up the flows in May.
In the past catching well into double digits this time of year was the norm but it is hard for the CDFW to keep up with the harvesting with plants. Typical prime time stocking has dropped from 5,000 lbs/wk down to 1,000 lbs/wk over the last few years. If people can legally take 5 trout per day every day on a Friday thru Sunday weekend and there are +500 fishers (25 fishers/mile or more) on the 20 mile section that means at least 7,500 trout or 3,750 lbs of half pounders(foot longs) can be harvested on a weekend legally. As we all know many people exceed the legal take limit. So in the past a 5,000 lb/wk stocking (10,000 half pounders) at 500 trout/mile could keep a lot of trout fisherman happy. In 2016 when just 1,000 lb/wk is being stocked (2,000 half pounders/wk) or about 100 trout/mile on the 20 mile section the catching has dropped off dramatically per angler. Additionally, most of the locals have learned to camp on the stocked locations and harvest in short order before trout can migrate.
In addition none of the stocked rainbows are fertile, the ones that survive can’t reproduce. This is creating a very precarious impact on the Upper Kern trout populations and also on many other “put and take“waters in the Southern and Eastern Sierras as we experience more drought years.
Many concerned and forward thinking fishers believe that the CDFW should take measures to address these trends to protect trout populations and improve the catching as well as protect the interests of those that rely on fishing for recreation and their livelihoods. The CDFW should consider reducing legal daily take limits, enforce them, actually shut down drought stressed waters to fishing that meet their published heat stressed guidelines, raise and stock fertile native trout species, and consider closing or implementing “catch and release only” stressed trout waters during the spring spawn. Smart communities have funded additional stocking through fund raisers like Fishstock and purchased trout from private hatcheries.
We realize that these measures would create some short term turmoil at the outset but the long term benefit could be huge for a river with amazing potential like the Upper Kern. It has been done in many western states like Montana and others that no longer rely on massive trout planting programs to sustain great trout waters.
Kernville Hatchery News
The hatchery is getting a $ 750,000 face lift! Should start in August. New races to rear Kern River Rainbow someday……. Average trophy trout now more than 2lbs and will be stocked Friday 4/29; also a heavier than normal stocking is in progress as I type. Tight lines!
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 04/01 & 04/16
Given the paltry catching close to home we decided to venture north where the rain and snow pack has been more than generous this year. On April Fools Day several from the club took on the Lower Sac and the Upper Trinity. The Lower Sac was fishing great. The sucker spawn usually extends from mid-March until June on the Lower Sac and bright yellow egg patterns got a ton of grabs on the Lower Sac, Also #6 sinking girdle bugs yielded the biggest rainbows. We averaged about 80 grabs per boat and netted about 50 as well. Trout were all healthy and 15” – 20”. The Lower Sac is in great shape at 5,200 cfs, our guide said on a scale of 0-10 the clarity was running about a 4. The river was up at 20,000 cfs the prior week and was beginning to clear up 2 or 3 days before we arrived.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 03/31/16
On 3/31 I fished the Upper Kern while I was supporting Trout in the Classroom with Liberty HS. They were a great group of students. I also got a peak at the new plans for the $1,000,000 redo of the races. It is an excellent well thought out plan by Danny Zide. Construction scheduled to start in August. So future plants for Aug to Nov likely with be impacted. The +7,500 lbs trophy trout are hogging up nicely to an average of 1.8 lbs/ea. Danny says that for every pound of feed he applies he usually gets one pound of trout mass produced at this time of year. In another month they will be huge. He should be very proud of what he has accomplished as these are the first large trout raised from eggs at the Kernville planting base in years under very trying drought conditions. None of the trophies have been stocked yet this spring and he won’t stock them until the opener which is the last weekend in April. I did manage to get some time on the water today and was skunked in spring for the first time ever. Looks like the drought continues on the Kern with just 70% of normal snow pack. Will lethal July water temps return again this year? Focus on the +10,000’ elevation measurements because that is where the mid/late summer water will come from, final numbers will be posted next week http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/COURSES
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 03/24/16
On 3/24 I fished the Upper Kern from 9am to about 3pm, they stocked the Upper last Friday 3/18. I hit every primary stocking site on sections 5&6 without a single strike on 8 different spots. Talked to at least 10 baiters and 1 fly guy, only one person hooked one trout all day. They were all disappointed to learn the stocking happened a week ago because they planned their trip from LA around what was posted by the CDFW on the stocking website (should have been stocked this week). CDFW business prevented the stocking to occur Easter Break week. I did manage one 11” wild on a remote run. One stretch that I landed a dozen same time last year from HQ to Halfway didn’t yield a strike and none of the runs that hold wilder fish had any scurry out as I waded through them. I haven’t caught a wild trout below Chemise Flat since last June. They will stock the Lower 3/25 so the skunked were happy to hear that.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 03/17/16
I spent some time today with two Trout in the Classroom schools at Upper
As I drove up north of Kernville I didn't see one fishermen on the water so
The Spring melt will soon be in full force as 80° temperatures are going to
Water on the Upper Kern was pretty clear (a bit tannin stained) but that
Snow pack for the Kern Drainage has not been updated with March numbers yet
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 03/06/16
Reports from fly fishing contacts fishing sections on the Upper Kern continue to be poor. For Whiskey Flat Days Feb 12/15 weekend nice trophy trout stockers were planted and quickly caught in Kernville and section 4 below KR3 in a matter of days. No CDFW planting is planned in March as water temps on section 5 and 6 remain very cold, also this is keeping the bite down since last November. Three years of sterile trout stocking and drought has eliminated the annual February spawning lunker trout that used to move up out of Lake Isabella. Will annual trend ever return? We doubt it until endemic fertile Kern River Rainbow are planted by the CDFW years in the future. Flows on the river have come up quite a bit (melt started)so wading is now much more difficult above Fairview Dam and above JDB, however, flows between Fairview Dam and KR3 power generation station are just 50 cfs today. That’s as low as we can remember. Any trout left (very few survived 80 degrees temps last summer)on that stretch are going to find it hard to avoid being taken by natural predation and other harvesters.
Lake Isabella is at 8% capacity about 33% of normal this time of year.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 02/02/16
Over the past month there has been local stocking of Bakersfield lakes, however, the cold water temperatures made trout sluggish and few anglers using fly fishing or spinners were successful in landing any of the trout planted. Additionally, Kern River water temperatures remain below 40° and that means very little activity for the dwindling numbers of trout in the river that survived the most severe drought recorded.
So the timing is perfect to go to Bishop, CA and fish the many waters there that have an abundance of wild trout that survived this severe drought because they are at a higher elevation or tail waters that could maintain healthy water temperatures for brown and rainbow trout.
The Lower Owens produced a lot more grabs on dries this year, tiny flies worked best and we found that changing flies out every 20 minutes or so usually produced more strikes. All productive flies were size #20 or smaller using fresh 7x tippet. Size #22 Griffith gnat fished behind a larger indicator fly with a parachute to help see where my tiny flies were. The hatches of tiny midges were coming off between 9 AM and 1 PM consistently each day. Not much BWO happening this year?
Our group of five did very well also on Hot Creek fishing small nymphing. The dry fly fishing here was poor but all of us got well into double digits with nymphs we tied at the last mentorship tying session. Unfortunately, late on Friday a large rainstorm up on Mammoth Mountain drove a surge of water into Hot Creek and it became chocolate milk for the rest of the weekend so we concentrated on the Lower and Upper Owens River. We all agreed that Hot Creek really needs a good flushing as many of the few deeper holes are silting up. The mostly spring feed water temp before the surge was 51 degrees.
A couple of us were able to fish the Upper Owens special regulations section during the annual migration of large Crowley Lake Snow Bows moving up river to spawn. The techniques to catch these big fish are different and it requires patience and willingness to endure some tough weather conditions but it was well worth it as you can see. Make sure you handle these hens and bucks carefully as they are the only remaining fertile rainbows in the system - the CDFW now only plants sterile rainbow trout statewide the last 3 years.
We are encouraged to see that the snow pack has been favorably affected by the El Niño this year and that our snowpack is a little above normal for the first time in years. Hopefully this trend will continue throughout April stay tune......
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 12/19/15
Cold water temperatures have kept the trout on the Upper Kern basically dormant since early November. No stocking on the Upper Kern can occur for some time. The CDFW stocking criteria states, “Catchable trout shall not be stocked in lakes or reservoirs until water temperatures reach 42°F or higher most afternoons, or in streams until water temperatures reach 45°F or higher most afternoons.” At the hatchery near Kernville the Upper Kern River has not exceeded 40 degrees for quite some time and January likely will be even colder. However, there will be one planting for 2015 in Bakersfield Lakes, Ming and Riverwalk early next week. No trophy trout are planned to be stocked but maybe Santa will bring some nice bows to good little girls and boys? Have great Christmas and Happy New Year.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 11/13/15
It has been a week since the Upper Kern was stocked (+ – 800 trout) the afternoon before the FFF 11/7 fly fishing tourney. It was reported that only 6 trout were landed by the 50 participants all day. Why was that? Was the water murky after the rains? Did harvesters get to them before the tourney started? We decided to take a trip up the canyon to find out.
CDFW Town Hall Download - Rich Arner - 10/30/15
For months the lack of stocking from the Kernville hatchery as a result of the devastating drought the last four years got a lot of people in Kernville and Lake Isabella concerned about the financial health of their area. Fred Roach, who organizes the huge trout derby at Lake Isabella every Spring, recently found out that the CDFW just won't have large numbers of “catchable trout” available for his annual tournament.
This is a result of the San Joaquin hatchery which supplies the Kerrville hatcheries losing all of their trout to high river temperatures. Greg Kollenborn of the CDFW says that no catchable sized rainbows can be grown fast enough to stock until at least May 2016. For this reason town hall meetings were requested of senior CDFW personnel to discuss what could be done to improve the planting of sizeable rainbow trout in our favorite waters. There were three different town halls set up in Weldon, Tehachapi, and here in Bakersfield. There were over 50 people at the Bakersfield event. What we found out is that the dramatically reduced stocked pounds statewide are being driven by the high cost of trout food. Apparently trout pellets cost almost as much as labor and the price of pellets have gone up 70% in the last year while the revenues from fishing licenses that support the budget for the hatcheries has going up just 3%. It would seem that there must be a way to find a different lower cost supplier? The “Friends of the Hatchery” already has, let’s hope the CDFW can do likewise.
Sadly it appears there's no plan to stock fertile trout again below natural or manmade barriers on the Upper Kern River to revive wild trout numbers below Fairview Dam any time soon. The Kern River Rainbow Project was not discussed at the meeting here. Only 45 minutes was allocated to Q&A and hunting questions filled half of that time. If nothing has changed, we can assume that KRR are still going to be stocked as fertile sub-catchable trout. The first stockings will be planted in isolated high elevation areas where a secondary supply of KRR brood stock can be accessed should another drought or sediment event failure occur at the Kernville hatchery. The plantings of sub-catchable KRR that grow to over 12” in the Kern River below JDB are still years away.
There is some good news on the hatchery front in that CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief Stafford Lehr promised the hatchery to make significant ($800,000) capital improvements very soon. They will redo the ancient raceways so the new raceways will actually be circular in shape rather than the existing long rectangular races. Circular raceways use less water and are much easier to clean so it will become a more efficient hatchery.
For now the $30,000 raised for trout feed from “Fishstock” is dedicated to the one race of 5,000 trout set aside for a trophy trout (they are about 12” now) program. That sounds like a lot of fish. However, just two or three years ago the hatchery would stock almost 5,000 fish this size every week in summer. For now these 5,000 fish will have to be spread out over the next six months. Those trout will be concentrated toward special events like tournaments, Whiskey Flat Days, and major holidays so that at least there will be some sizable trout worthy of a photograph on the wall of the James Sierra Gateway Market. This will help to bring more people up into the Kern River Valley to fish for rainbow trout and hopefully buy more licenses that can provide more revenue for more sizeable planters going forward. No trout plants are planned in Bakersfield lakes this year. Where will all of the cormorants get their dinners now?
Fishing News - CDFW townhalls - Rich Arner - 10/21/15
Apparently there are a lot of people upset with the new CDFW trout stocking policy (mostly small 8” sterile trout). Also many of the Spring trout derbies are being told they won’t have foot long and larger trout supplied for their events because both the San Joaquin and Kernville hatcheries had to be emptied of trout because of lethal river temperatures. Decent sized trout in significant numbers can’t be raised fast enough it seems or a strict adherence to the small trout policy? One thinks they could import from other hatcheries not affected by the drought? In any event we keep paying more for fishing licenses and the CDFW is providing far less for our buck. No stocking of local lakes is planned any time soon. No stocking of the Upper Kern in months even as water temps have dropped to healthy levels. Economies of recreational focused communities are suffering dramatically.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 09/21/15
The historic drought continues to deliver historically poor water levels. Flows now have dropped below 65 cfs and falling...
If you want to see underwater structures on the Upper Kern that haven’t been exposed in over a century now is the time to take a camera and record for yourself and posterity. There is an enormous El Nino brewing in the Pacific that suggests huge rainfalls are just around the corner. One wonders if that will mean extreme erosion to come? As they say when it rains it pours.
At the Kernville hatchery there is good news that Danny Zide has been finally appointed hatchery manager. He was the acting manager for over a year and budget uncertainties delayed his appointment. Danny has been extremely communicative and proactive in managing the hatchery in some very trying budgetary and extended drought conditions. He has blazed a trail to get the hatchery rearing trout from eggs that hasn’t been done successfully in years at the facility. It also has been done on well water that presents new challenges as well. Danny will speak at our club in November to review the history of the hatchery and what comes next.
Water levels so low your grandkids may never see again?
The September 5th Fishstock event successfully raised $25,000 ($500 came from the KRFF) to provide fish food which is crucial to the quality of the catching on the Upper Kern River. There is only one remaining trout race at the Kernville Hatchery surviving on well water. It is the only supply of trout for the rest of 2015. Why? The CDFW San Joaquin hatchery (which supplies the Kernville Hatchery with trout) had to be emptied of all trout because Millerton Reservoir could no longer provide cool water to the facility. In addition the SJ Hatchery has spent all of the trout food budget for the rest of this year so not even ¼ pounders will be supplied to the Kernville operation or other areas served by the SJ hatchery.
At this time, even with improved Fall water temperatures, there is no scheduled planting going forward until it is decided what is the best course of action with the relatively small number of planters remaining. This one race of trout will need to be spread out over several months. My guess is few if any will make it to Bakersfield Lakes. Normally local planting starts a couple of weeks before Halloween. Plan to be spooked often this year.
Cabin Fire - 08/10/15
The Cabin Fire is reported to be at 96% containment at 5,871 acres. Areas of the Golden Trout Wilderness will remain closed through this coming weekend for the safety of any back country hikers. Check the National Incident Information link below for further details.
Cabin Fire - 08/02/15
The Cabin Fire was reported to be at 2,619 acres as of 11AM Sunday morning. Some rain helped firefighters while they built containment lines. Areas of the Golden Trout Wilderness are closed. The fire is visible from some of the Forset Service Web Cams. See Link below.
Forest Service Fire Lookout Web Cams - http://rockyags.cr.usgs.gov/dashboards/WebCam.htm
Cabin Fire - 07/31/15
The Cabin Fire started on July 18th due to lightning. The fire was remainin in a two acre containment line until July 29th. The fire is currently at 1900 acres. Due to the area where the fire is located in the Golden Trout Wilderness, mechanical equipment and fire retardant is not allowed. Crews are currently walking into the area to battle the fire. More information can be found at the below links.
National Incident Information System - Cabin Fire - http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4423/#
Fire in Golden Trout Wildernes rages on - Porterville Recorder - http://www.recorderonline.com/news/fire-in-golden-trout-wilderness-rages-on/article_8733a4de-3799-11e5-ab6a-b34006e9e22d.html
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 06/10/15
A big drop in air temps from the triple digits this past weekend made me want to try and get some trouting in before things get lethal. Flows dropped to 210 cfs above Fairview dam and 110cfs below it. Got on the water at 8:30 am and water temps was 64 degrees on section 5. Catching was slow and water still murky here same as last week. Really thought visibility would have improved on the low flow section 5 but it did not. We landed 3 bows in 2 hours (including a large 23” squawfish)and headed far up river. Slow on three different spots there and talked to campers who said no stocking had occurred this week. Moved up on section 6 and found several footlongs after dry dropper not working and switched to a fast sink tip and stripped an olive crystal bugger with a #18 BHFBPT behind it. At 1:20 pm I landed a 14” trout and quickly returned him to the river. He went belly up. Took a minute to revive him and I think he made it. Took a water temp (on section 6) and it was 68 degrees so I quit for the day as I didn’t want to lethally stress any trout. Was very surprised that the river temp came up that fast when the air temps were just at 80 degrees. Landed 15 bows today (non on dries). Triple digits ramping up again for a while. I likely am done fishing the Upper Kern until October.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 06/04/15
Upper Kern River peaked at 520 cfs on 6/2 just after the heat streak. Was hoping for clearer water than last week with flows dropping fast. Our first stop on section 5 was murkier than last week? Fished water planted earlier in the week as told by some campers. No one catching including us. We head up river a lot further and water was a bit clearer and 65 degrees at noon. Picked up seven bows over a 1/2 mile stretch but had to find them again well away from stocking locations in a two hour trek. We then went to section 6. We covered a lot of water on two areas again covering a good 1/2 mile of river with just one landed between us. Far fewer squaws today (zero) for some reason (friends on Saturday all were landing more squaws than bows)and the water was a bit cooler today. 65 degrees on section 6 at 2 pm. Air temps around 80 degrees and very pleasant. River still high up here just above 300 cfs and was 110 cfs on section 5.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 05/28/15
Spoke with the hatchery manager about the Kern River Rainbow project and the public feedback solicitation yesterday. More on that later. I asked him about how things were at the hatchery and he said the river temp is climbing fast with the first triple digit heat wave in progress. He was able to pack the Upper Kern with trout for the Memorial Day weekend and he said the campgrounds were packed full and fishing pressure was extreme and there was lots of catching with the large plant. He had planted this week too. However, he said river temps were pushing 70 degrees late afternoon. He feels he can only stock 2 more weeks. The flows are coming up again and he said water clarity had begun to get murky. I decided to try anyway even with the poor results I had last month when flows bumped up just 100 cfs. Flows on section 5 this year will be far lower than last year because last year no flows were diverted for power generation as the flume was under repair practically all year. So I decided to give this stretch a try because flows would still be wadeable, contains my favorite pocket water, and likely will be lethally warm very soon. I arrived on the river at 8:30 am and river temp was 65 degrees. Air temp about 70 with a predicted high of 90. River was cloudy with about 3’ of visibility. There were many campers on many sites and BFL schools are out for summer. I decided to concentrate on wilder areas because the river was hammered on the weekend and stocked areas have been harvested quickly the last month.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 04/29/15
Returned to the Upper Kern after a great week last week. Covered the same water with much different results. Landed just 6 trout even with flashy flies? Was there a lot of harvesting on opening weekend? Or was it because water visibility less than 3’. Few others catching we talked to. Flows were 240 cfs above Fairview (section 6)and 120 cfs on the low flow section (section 5). Just a 100 cfs bump in flows really clouds things up. There is a lot of silt built up over the last 3 years of minimal flushing. So just 1/10 of the trout landed this week. None appeared to be wild. No top water action today. Likely peak flows will be far below 1,000 cfs and occur very soon. River temp on section 6 was 62 degrees at 2 pm. Soon you will need to carry a thermometer to know when to stop fishing. My guess is the first 100 degree days in BFL = lethal water temps above 70 degrees on the Upper Kern Below JDB.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 04/23/15
Another great day on the Upper Kern today. We were concerned because of all of the thunderstorm activity we could see from BFL the last few days but the river was clear and warming. 54 degrees at 10 am on section five. We had action on the Hill’s golden foam stone, red hooked Arnerd, and #18 fbbhpt. Landed 28 in the first three hours. The best part............. I was landing +80% of those in isolated pockets, pools, and runs over a 1/2 mile stretch. Wild and planted trout between 10” and 15” and toward the bigger end!
The Kernville hatchery is looking for fly fishers and tiers to be a part of Troutfest 2015 that will be held this Saturday April 25th from 10 am until 2 pm. If you’d like to get involved with Troutfest let the hatchery know asap at (760)376-2846.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 04/16/15
Stocking is now focused on the Upper Kern until river temps become lethal in June. I fished two dasy before Easter last month (didn’t report) with odd results after finishing Trout in the Classroom sessions with some great kids. On the first day we found two spots freshly planted and we landed 30 trout in less than 2 hours. The next day we tried different planted spots and only manage 2 trout in 4 hours. People told us the river was stocked the first day and the second day few were left to catch.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 03/13/15
Had a chance to talk with the hatchery manager recently and he said that the catching has been dismal even though he has been planting the Upper Kern for weeks but there has been little catching. He believe the cold river temps below 42 degrees have made trout lethargic. He was scheduled to plant this week of 3/9 but couldn’t because of mechanical issues with his vehicles so he planted all sections the week of 3/2. With river temps cold I waited until today to give it a try as a heat wave is on. We arrived on section 4 at 9:30 am and water temp was 49 degrees (a very good sign). However the catching was dismal. We covered a ton of water working our way up to section 6 on seven different pieces of wild and planted water as river temps warmed to 52 degrees at 2 pm. We saw a lot of bugs hatching, Caddis size #16, march browns, and midges. Managed just two takes from two 9 inch wilds on a dry. Landed one. My buddy got no takes all day. Stripped streamers in deeper runs, nymphed, and dried. Walked through a lot of runs that usually would hold wild trout and nothing scurried out. Not sure what has happened to all of the planters??? Is the water so low that the trout just aren’t moving around and they were harvested earlier this week when river temps increased. Are birds getting them? We saw just one heron all day. Who knows but we saw quite a few spin fishers and some fly guys but not one catching. No trout rising either. The sterile trout stocking and lethal summer temps really have ravaged the Upper Kern below JDB. Weather was excellent, wading easy, practiced casting a lot.
Information on 2015 planting reductions - Rich Arner - 12/11/14
I was troubled to hear that there will be significant planting reductions for 2015. I see that pounds state wide will drop to 1,600,000 pounds in 2015. That’s 50% less than 2014 poundage at 3,200,000.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 11/13/14
Many people have told me that there are very few wild trout on sections 4 and 5 over the last 2 months. Also the catch totals were very dismal at the recent fly fishing tourney held 11/8. Many of the region’s best fly fishers were involved and they dropped the stringent international rules to improve the catching. As one participant put it, “ While they somehow were able to provide everyone outstanding weather and water conditions, someone forgot to put fish in the water. “
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 11/06/14
Headed up to the Upper Kern with high expectations because of the great conditions provided by low gin clear water and 80 degree November highs. We tried 3 spots on section 5 with no luck. Headed to section 6 where we found nearly every turnout with a vehicle on a Thursday? We poked around 4 different spots for 2 hours and I managed 2 nice 13” wilds well off the beaten paths. We helped stock (didn’t fish)an area two weeks ago with +80 trout two weeks ago and didn’t get a bump there after covering it very methodically? No rises seen and no trout seen scattering. We then revisited a different spot that I landed 30 in an hour two weeks ago and you could clearly see +100 hunkered down. Not one trout there either just two weeks later. Harvesting and/or natural predators on sections 5 and 6 apparently are extremely effective. The paucity of catching really was unusual for the outstanding wading conditions. Some midge activity going on. At one camp site we saw one baiter pluck a couple but 6 others including ourselves were skunked. We observed and chatted with more than 3 dozen other fly/bait fishers today and we learned the river was planted earlier in the week. We finally tried 3 different normally planted spots in Kernville area hoping to get our nets wet. Same disappointing catching for both baiters and fly guys. What’s up? Bakersfield lakes to be planted week of 11/10 and we’ll try UK again week of 11/17 when it may be planted again. Cobalt blue sky and golden trees made up for the lack of catching for sure today.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/24/14
Talked with hatchery manager earlier this week. He indicated that he is still waiting for authorization to place where he will plant trout on the CDFW planting web page. He said that he planted Brite Lake in Tehachapi recently and will begin planting BFL lakes the week of October 27th. Pounds will be alternated each week between BFL lakes and the Kern River for the next several weeks. He planted the Upper Kern this week for Whiskey Flats Fall Days. We covered quite a bit of water and found two trout willing(few in the river is my guess) on section 6. We tried 6 different spots and talked with others who had fished over the last week with very low takes. However, the stocking truck was sighted today. At about 2 pm we finally found a spot with trout and landed 30 in an hour and a half on the same run. It was fun for a while but not my kind of catching. Too easy. Most took the #16 BHFBPT some on the Arnerd. There was no way to spread trout around where we were so we may retry next week to see how many remain to get some idea how quickly the river is harvested on an October weekend. Stay tuned for the follow up. River temp at 8:30 am was 48 degrees.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/16/14
Given the cooling trend we though we would try fishing on Sections 4,5, and 6. Catching was way down from 2 weeks ago. We first tried two section 5 spots. Waded over 1/ 2 a mile on the first stretch. Only landed two in 2 hours (trout were 1/2 mile apart from each other). Skunked on 2nd stretch both nymphing and tugging streamers. No wilds to be found on our flies or scooting through normally great runs. Given what I’ve learned from my own adventures and others reports there are, few wilds that survived the summer below Goldledge. Then went to Section 6 and covered 3 spots with much wading again landing a dozen bows in 3 hours. Some wilds, some planters I think.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/03/14
Got word that the recent cooling trend has finally made retaining trout at the Kernville Planting Base possible early this week. We headed up to check out where some of them may have been planted. We skipped section 4 because we noticed a fair amount of pressure on those spots including folks fishing at the Riverside Park in Kernville - a good sign that decent sized trout are being planted near town and the fly shop. We saw some 5 wts casting to them but unsuccessfully
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 09/24/14
Heard that interim hatchery manager, Danny Zide, was going to try to plant for the first time since 4th of July. He has been regularly recording river temps to make sure he is in compliance with CDFW planting regulations, “Catchable trout shall not be stocked in streams when water temperatures reach 75°F and it appears that such temperatures will continue to occur regularly” On 9/18/14 he finally recorded afternoon waters temps that didn’t exceed the maximum limit above Fairview Dam. In addition +100 degree days were not in the foreseeable forecast. So I decided to head above Fairview Dam today with two goals in mind. Find out if the river was planted and how are the wild trout doing?
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 09/09/14
Been very few reports of club members since mid-July. Trout are few and far between and none above 9”. Smallish squaw fish are being caught in greater numbers where the warmer the river flows. There is news to report that will help understand what is and will be going on the Upper Kern. We have been trying to contact the hatchery for two weeks and finally got an update today. The Kernville hatchery manager retired recently and the water temps are still hitting the mid 70’s at the hatchery even with the cooling trend the last few days. Triple digit air temps are forecasted later this week. At this time hatchery personnel don’t project any stocking will occur for another two weeks at the earliest. They intend to restart planting Bakersfield Lakes in just over a month starting in mid-October like years past. So planters will be divided between BFL lakes and the Upper Kern to about Turkey Day and then most of the planter pounds will be allocated to the Lower Kern and primarily BFL lakes. Looks like we still have to wait some more for decent sized trout catching to return.
"Way" Fire - 08/25/14
The "Way" fire is currently at 96% containment and sits at 4045 acres burned. While all evacuations and road closures have been lifted, fire fighting personnel are still in the area. Please keep an eye open for their vehicles when driving in the Wofford Heights/Kernville area. This will be the last update on this fire unless there are significant issues that arise.
"Way" Fire - 08/20/14
The "Way" fire sits at 3,367 acres as of 4PM Wednesday. The fire is only 15% contained. It is in some rugged terrain, making access difficult for firefighters. All evacuations have been lifted but fire equipment continues to patrol Wofford Heights and Kernville. Currently it is believed that 8 residences and 10 out buildings were damaged or destroyed but firefighters won't be able to confirm the numbers until the area is safer.
KGET NBC News - closer look at Way Fire damage - http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/local/story/d/story/closer-look-at-the-damage-the-way-fire-caused/31875/2ziKNHe0QUqLdz07Ap6aiA
"Way" Fire - 08/18/14
The "Way" fire started around 3PM on Monday August 18th in, or near, Wofford Heights. By 10PM the fire was at 3000 acres and growing. Evacuations are in place in portions of Wofford Heights and recommended evacuations are advised for portions of Kernville. Portions of highway 155 are closed. Please read the information posted on the National Incident Information website (Inciweb) link below. Also, provided below, are some links to news on the fire.
Inciweb Way Fire information - http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4086/
Bakersfield 23 ABC news - http://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/way-fire-burning-in-wofford-heights-081814
Kern Valley Sun - http://www.kvsun.com
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 07/07/14
Today I had a discussion with the hatchery. All remaining adult trout at the hatchery were planted before the fourth of July and there was significant harvesting over the holiday weekend. The last week has been very hot in Kernville and will be over 100 degrees for the foreseeable future. Inlet temperatures at the hatchery now hit 78.5 degrees in the afternoon therefore conditions have become lethal and likely no more stocking will occur until Fall at the earliest and trout are very stressed on the Upper Kern after 3 years of historic drought conditions. The CDFW only plants sterile rainbow trout, so essentially any wild trout left in the river are the only rainbows that can sustain future generations and must be protected. Stressing trout in these warm conditions often prove deadly. For this reason I will wait until Fall before I cast a line on the Kern.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 06/26/14
The Upper Kern flows finally have come down to a point where crossing the Upper Kern is doable in several spots. I decided to take advantage of a short term cooling trend (high of just 85 predicted today) and make one of my last trips to the Upper Kern until October as water temps rise.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 06/05/14
The first day where flows have dropped below 400 cfs occurred yesterday so we decided to give it a try. Hit the water at 9 am and water temps 59 degrees. Water was not clear but we had about 4 ft of visibility and the water is a tan color below Fairview Dam. Wading at 400 cfs makes covering a lot of water difficult and crossing the river can only be done at a handful of spots. We found foot long trout in many places where water was slow and the Kern Murky caught nearly all trout. Tried Arnerds, small FBHPT’s, and even used a Kern Candy I found on a stick but they did not land a fish except for one 15” trout that took the RH Arnerd.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 04/10/14
The tepid melt is on and nasty. I went to the Kernville hatchery with about 100 high school students for Trout in the Classroom today. Great teachers and students (many had never even been to the mouth of the Kern River canyon). Our first stop was the raft launch area down stream of KR3 to release trout fry the students had raised in their classes. The Upper Kern River which has been murky for the last 3 months is now dark chocolate with less than a foot of visibility. Flows topped 400 cfs (rising)and river is about 52 degrees. Conditions for fly fishers have really gotten tough. On Saturday the Kernville fly fishing club held their annual tournament and the best fisher only landed 7 measurable trout all day to win top honors. The biggest caught was just 14”. There won’t be a trophy trout program this year at the Kernville hatchery as there has been to little water (high water temperatures to come) to give them confidence that bigger trout can be sustained/raised. The hatchery manager speculates that river temps this year will reach lethal levels even earlier and that he may be lucky to stock for Memorial Day weekend. So don’t count on any stocking for the whole summer this year.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 03/28/14
Got to fly fish with a couple of experienced fly fishers today. They haven’t had a lot of hours on the Kern so I took them up to the same spots as last week. Noticed many more vehicles at the turn outs this week all the way to Limestone. According to the CDFW stocking occurred between Kernville and JDB. Water levels and temps were the same as last week. However, the increased fishing pressure clearly had an effect on the number of bows we landed. I put my friends on the 3 hottest spots from last week and they only managed one trout each for the day using different presentations. I covered a ton of water 1/4 mile up or below them managing to land 14 (less than half as many as landed last week). No trout over 13”. A few wilds taken above Fairview Dam. Talked with several baiters (all skunked) and fly fishers above Fairview and no trout over 10” and they were few and far between. For me a #16 BHPTFB got 3 wilds to hand above Fairview Dam. The 11 chunkier planters taken in the murk below Fairview were all on the #12 Kern Murky. A few March browns were spotted hatching but little other insect activity noted. More rain coming soon! A gorgeous day to be on the river and was punctuated with 10 fly by’s from the jet jockeys based at Edwards!
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 03/20/14
Finally finished tax returns and honey do’s and had a chance to try the Upper Kern on the last day of winter. Flows have come up a bit in the last month to around 200 cfs. I didn’t have high expectations because I didn’t know anyone who had gotten close to a double digits day since last November. My trip last month was for just hour and there was poor water quality which was rumored to persist. The last two years there have been almost no reports of people landing decent sized lake rainbow spawners in February on Kernville area stretches. I hope this isn’t the new norm but the very warm summer lake/river temps plus the new CDFW policy of only stocking sterile rainbows may be ending this annual chance at a good sized rainbow lake spawner in late winter?
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 02/13/14
Was up in Kernville to drop of trout eggs for Trout in the Classroom this afternoon. I got a late start but had enough time to sample the Upper Kern before Whiskey Flat Days. A small army of carney’s were setting up for the weekend. I was amazed to read in the BFL Californian that 50,000 people show for this festival! I called the hatchery to see if they planned to stock above Kernville as recent reports suggested the Upper Kern River temps were below allowable limits. Turns out the river is up and murky. Air temps hit 78 today and headed over 80 tomorrow. There is melt starting and not sure where the murk is coming from – perhaps the Soda Fire drainage way up river? River temp was 51 degrees at 4:00 pm and gauge says 160 cfs but seems much higher than that to me. The hatchery confirmed that the river was stocked up to Limestone but fly fishers are going to be at a disadvantage in the murky water. I tied on a#12 BH red hooked Arnerd and one of my Kern Murkys under an indicator foam stonefly. My 1st cast hooked a 16” on the RH Arnerd, but then had to work hard to get two others in the next hour over quite a bit of wading. One was 15” on the Kern Murky. So 3 to hand in about an hour. No surface hatch or feeding observed. Warm weather will likely raise flows and murk the water further. Wading was definitely more difficult than my last trip in November as it is hard to see bottom below 3’. Go bright if you want to try.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 11/14/13
Wanted to take advantage of the great weather we’ve been having. No Upper Kern River stocking this week. We covered the exact same water as last week. Conditions were no different with water temp still 47 degrees. Catching was far lower on the stretches we fished last week. We caught 1/8th the bows as last week and none over 13”. I also trudged through water trying to make fish scoot with no action so I really think fish are either being harvested or the herons are feasting. The shallower pocket water doesn’t provide much cover. Numerous video and web postings of successful catching helps identify for more C&R and harvesting fishers the stocked stretches, unfortunately they will soon be purged once stocking is halted.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 11/07/13
Been itching to fish the Upper Kern but the latest data hasn’t been encouraging. There were two big fly fishing tournaments in the last month and the actual catching was very low. The winners caught just 7 trout (10/5)and 2 (11/2) trout in the one day tourneys. Many skilled fly fishers participated and they were challenged. Normally only trout +9” inches are considered scoreable trout. The rules had to be relaxed to allow any trout caught counted to the participants score. Most of the summer there was no stocking due to high water temps and wild fish were stressed to water temps exceeding 80 degrees at KR3. Nearly all trout that can bend a 4wt between JDB and Kernville were planted twice in October and many have been harvested. Additionally water clarity has suffered putting fly fisherman at a disadvantage too. when you walk the sides of the Upper Kern you really murk things up so be aware of down stream fishers below you.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/11/13
With good weather predicted again headed up to see if the fishing would be good even with the storms Wednesday. We went above Fairview Dam and the water had cleared some more. We felt sure we would land even more than last week. Water temp was 5 degrees cooler than last week at 47 degrees around 9:30 am. The conditions looked much better but the catching was way down. We covered the same water as last week and I only landed two 10” bows where I had landed 26 the week before. Talked to 6 other fly fishers who were skunked at noon. Where did all of the wild trout all go? Is the clearer shallow water easier for raptors to hunt? Are more harvesters lured by the news of restarted stocking taking wild trout if planters aren’t available? Who knows?
Lake Isabella is very low
USFS portapots closed by privately constructed available
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/3/13
Kernville Hatchery Update - Rich Arner - 9/8/13
Fire Report "Angora Fire" 9/8/13
Updated mapping overnight dropped the number of acres for the Angora Fire to 109 acres. The fire is spotting outside of the main fireline. See the National Incident Information website below for updates on the fire.
Fire Report "Angora Fire" 9/8/13
The "Angora" Fire was notice Sunday morning (9/8) in the Golden Trout Wilderness. The fire is progressing uphill on Angora Mountain and was approximately 150 acres by 7PM. The cause is lightning from several weeks ago that didn't appear until today. Currently 150 firefighters are battling the fire, which is north of the Fish Fire. See links below for additional information and news articles on the fire.
Sierra Fire Lookout Tower Web Cameras - Fire visible from the Sherman Peak Cameras #1 & #2 and Bald Mtn Cameras #1 & #2
Fire Report "Fish Fire" 9/1/13
As of Sunday morning (9/1), the "Fish" Fire was reported to be 2060 acres in size and 75% contained. Some helicopters and crews were released on Saturday to fight a new fire on the Tule Indian Reservation called the Windy Fire. A B.A.E.R. team is already working on rehabilitating the fire lines of the Fish fire. Click on the National Incident Information link below for further updates on the fire and foreset closure.
Fire Report "Fish Fire" 8/28/13
As of Wednesday evening (8/28), the "Fish" Fire was reported to be 2050 acres in size and 25% contained. The fire managers of this fire believe there is still a potential for significant growth of this fire. Additional news reports are listed below:
Fire Report "Fish Fire" 8/25/13
This "Fish" Fire was reported on Friday 8/23 in the Golden Trout Wilderness about 50 miles East of Springville, just NorthEast of Ponderosa. As of Sunday (8/25) morning, the fire was reported to be 1000 acres in size and 5% contained. The fire was being worked by 125+ firefighters, including 3 helicopters. See links below for additional information and news articles on the fire.
Sierra Fire Lookout Tower Web Cameras - Fire visible from the Sherman Peak Camera #2 and Bald Mtn Camera #2
Also please be aware that the Shirley Complex of fires in the Greenhorn Ranger District are still being worked. More information below:
Fishing Report 06/06/13 - Rich Arner
Saw that triple digits were forecasted today and that the Upper Kern flows bumped back up to 550 cfs above Fairview Dam. The flow phone indicated that the low flow section was running 120 cfs so headed up early to get there before the furnace kicked in. In the water at 7:30 am and I was pleased to see the river at 66 degrees on the lower low flow section. Water clarity had dropped since last week to about 4’. Fished for four hours with 19 trout to hand but all under a footlong. I fished over a mile on 3 section between KR3 and Fairview Dam. I wanted to avoid the higher flows above the dam as that area is not crossable until it drops below 250 cfs or so. Lots of action on the foam stone but no hookups on trout under 12” that can’t seem to get stuck on the hook. I did need to wade in areas off the beaten path because there were a lot of cars (school’s out for summer)on the turnouts for a Thursday. I was very tired and thirsty. Gulped a liter of ice water and drove down river. Stopped by a stocking hole to chat with a half dozen baiters stacked on it. They did have some success (trout planted earlier that morning) but said that the trout had stopped biting after 11 am. I could see 30 trout in waist deep water but they weren’t feeding. I headed much further down river to get solitude. I picked up the best trout of the day on the dry at 13” brought him to the net. The hook popped out and I flipped him into the river. He went belly up after 4 seconds out of the water???? I scampered down river after him and netted him. Tried 5 minutes to revive him with no luck . I took a water temp and it was 72 degrees at noon! Who knows how hot it would be at 4pm? I wasn’t going to stress/kill any more trout so I packed it in. Got home and saw temps hit 104 in Kernville today. I knew it was hot but was surprised to see that.
Fishing Report 05/30/13 - Rich Arner
Made sure I got on the Upper Kern one last time before the triple digit temps become the norm. Noticed there are now a lot of porta pots placed on the road side. It appears that campers are avoiding the NFS campgrounds and using the free areas more. Hope the NFS can keep up with the coming mess. Few folks fishing the river at the Kernville park so not sure if it is fished out quickly or stocking has been reduced. Landed 33 trout in about 4 hours. Stopped at several spots. Did best when I bush wacked. Finally seeing stonefly shucks on river boulders. Landed 3 trout on the Hills BLT Foam Golden Stone/hopper. Lots of action on it after 10am but few of the trout landed/tempted today exceeded 12 inches so they aren’t big enough to get their mouths around the #12 stonefly. For the first time hooked a squaw fish over 13”. It was 20” and was surprised a fish so streamlined didn’t fight much nor did it try to run. Felt like a 14” rainbow head shaking. Nearly all trout landed on the #12 BHRH Arnerd. Gorgeous day and very temperate. Saw an osprey today! River running clear.
Fishing Report 05/16/13 - Rich Arner
My favorite time of year to fish the Upper Kern is after the spring melt is over and flows are dropping below 1,000 cfs. In years past I could count on landing 10-15 trout/hr in this prime time. Trout would be in every piece of holding water I could wade to. This was because during high water the river is banked with 1,000’s of trout per mile as high flows dramatically reduce the harvesting while the river is consistently stocked. The period usually lasts 10 weeks or more. Typically the river, with turbulent flows, scatters planters throughout the river and they get a chance to add an inch per month while they are being banked. Each year, like clockwork, I could count on 50 – 70 landed trout in 4 hours of wading to spots that were inaccessible for weeks and evens months between April and July.
Fishing Report 04/11/13 - Rich Arner
A wild day for sure. I thought with an extended warming trend I could make one last trip to the Upper Kern before the spring melt commenced. I ran over four different runs covering 1.5 miles of river. Landed 19 in 3 hours and they were all wild fish between 4” and 12”. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t catch a single stocked trout? I was fishing well above KR3 and was on the way home and noticed a lot of cars parked in a spot near Kernville. I dropped by to chat with the spin and bait fishers and talked to 4 guys who were landing “3 for 1”’s every other cast. They said the river was stocked today and apparently mostly below KR3. Three for one’s are 3 trout when weighed together equal 1 pound. They were pleased to put them on a stringer but I have to say a string of 5 wouldn’t feed two people. There were far fewer cars in the turnouts this week on the low flow section. It is amazing how quickly the locals know where harvesting has occurred and where the newest plants are.
Fishing Report 04/04/13 - Rich Arner
Hit the Upper Kern at 9:30 am. Had 18 in the net in the first hour covering a 200 yard stretch. Trout all 5” - 12” with the exception of one 15” bow that munched my foam #12 Hill Stone Fly. Water temp 55 – 58 degrees. Not much hatch activity. Was expecting more stone fly cases on rocks. Didn’t see one. We covered 4 other runs over n 11 mile stretch. Landed 26 on the day but am pooped from all of the wading required to find fish. Quite a few fishers in the turnouts for a Thursday. I landed 5 on the foam stone. and the rest on nymphs. Half on a #16 BH FB PT and the others on #12 RH BH Arnerd. Few March browns today? River a bit dirtier. Flows up to 120 cfs on the low flow section so there is 50% more to hold fish so they aren’t as concentrated as the last month. Median trout weight definitely les than half of the rainbows caught in March. Friends fishing the Lower Kings have told me they are still catching 6lb – 10lb lunkers there even with flows up to 700 cfs.
Fishing Report 03/19/13 - Rich Arner
This morning I met with a great group of students from BHS. Afterward I made a trip up to the fish the Upper Kern and checkout the incubation room at the hatchery. They have 250,000 new trout hatched! They really had to hustle last week and they got it done. They are very excited to be raising trout for the first time in many years. However, they aren’t sure how long they will have the babies and when and if they might be transferred back to the San Joaquin hatchery. Hopefully we will find out more soon.
Fishing Report 03/13/13 - Rich Arner
I got a chance to visit the KR3 area with two schools participating in the Trout in the Classroom project on Mon and Wed where they released trout fry. I thought I might have a chance to get some decent fishing in because the CDFW showed on their web site they finally planted in the low flow section again last week. The recent good rain this weekend did not affect flows. I assumed the moisture was deposited as snow and it didn’t have a chance to melt yet. When I got up there Mon morning it was chilly and river temp was 42 at KR3 but little snow on the peaks around Kernville even though they got flurries in Kernville on Friday? So where did the moisture go? In the ground I guess. I had an hour to kill and fished a lot of the area near the powerhouse and didn’t get a bump covering a lot of water. No surface activity seen either. I had a doe and yearling walk across the river during casting practice. After my session with the school I decided to head up river as several cars were parked on the hot spot at the cemetery and looked crowded. I covered about a mile of river on the low flow section (just 80 cfs) and netted 13 in a couple of hours on Mon 3/11. I have to say half the trout landed were 14” – 17”and very strong.
Fishing Report 02/12/13 - Rich Arner
The Kings River continues to be good for KRFF members. Smaller nymphs fished through holding water have yielded Hog Heaven for nearly all who have traveled up to the Fresno Fatty Factory. With help from the Visalia and Fresno fly fishing clubs there have been approximately 1,200 trout between 5½ to 6 lbs. each, for a total of approximately 7,200 lbs. of trophy sized trout that have been released in the Kings River on the catch and release section below Pine Flat Dam. A word of thanks is due to the members of the Kaweah Fly Fishers and The Fresno Fly Fishers for Conservation who assisted in the release of the fish. Without their assistance, the fish would likely have been released in far less of the river. In addition CDFG wardens concentrate patrols on the catch and release section to strictly prohibit harvesting – a model for what is possible on other waters we’d like to fish more productively.
Fishing Report 01/28/13 - Rich Arner
Great fishing was had in both the Bishop Area and the Kings River by club anglers. Lower Owens hatches have made dry fly fishing outstanding especially early and late in the day and when overcast skies prevail. Flows on the Lower Owens dropped again to 100 cfs the last day of the club outing 1/27/13 concentrating fish and making for ideal wading conditions. The scenery is fantastic as well.
Fishing Report 12/07/12 - Rich Arner
Catching above KR3 to the JDB has been down significantly with reduced stocking and river temps. The cause for the lack of stocking was reported in the Californian today in the trout plants section, “Trout plants in the Bakersfield area have been temporarily suspended because the Kern River Hatchery had a pump fail, and the hatchery has been unable to hold fish. There have been no plants for the past three to four weeks and the hatchery's reopening date has not been set.”
Fishing Report 10/18/12 - Rich Arner
The CDFG updated their stocking schedule for the rest of this month early this week and they decided to stock the Upper Kern this week and will begin stocking BFL lakes the week of 10/22. River temps were up today and started at 57 degrees at 10a. Landed more fish in the 12”-15” range this week in 5 different areas. They were also chunkier from the slim boys last week. We had to walk a lot more this week but the searching paid off with 30 landed in about 4 hours of fishing. Arnerd #12 RHBH fished deep landed every single one of them. Even with the warmer river temps there was a lot less surface activity than last week. River hit 64 degrees at 2p. Air temp around 90 degrees. Very sunny and light winds. A lot more fishing pressure this week compared to a week ago. The best fishing for the next few months likely will be closer to BFL as more pounds of trout are going to be planted in the still waters here. Also it is forecasted to get cold quickly this coming week. In the past the first real chill of the year usually puts fish down. Given the increased pressure, high gas prices, reduced stocking pounds, and cooling river temps soon to come our focus will be closer to home.
Fishing Report 10/11/12 - Rich Arner
Saw that the CDFG stocking website indicated that they will stock for two weeks beginning last week. The catching has been pretty slow the last two months so I was itching to see how it was before the first rains of Fall got here. I was amazed how low Lake Isabella was as I dropped into Wofford Heights. Never seen it this low. Also the Lower Kern was at a near trickle as I drove up the canyon. Hit the water at 9:30 am. Landed a 12” rainbow on the first cast. Water temp 54 degrees. Landed 19 in 2 hours scattered over a half mile of river. Then covered 4 more likely spots until 1:30 pm when the sky got dark, winds picked up, and rain started. Total 25 to hand. All but 2 on the #12 RHBH Arnerd. Lots of action on the foam stone most couldn’t get it in their small mouths I guess. The first trout was the largest. Most skinny, aggressive and 9”-12”.
Fire Report 09/08/12
As of Friday, Sept 7, the Slides Fire is 95% contained. The fire size remains at 254 acres. The trails listed below remain closed at this time. Please see the Inciweb.org web link below for more information.
Fire Report 09/03/12
On Sunday, Sept. 2nd, a fire started on the East Side of the North Forks of the Kern River. The fire is north and east of the Johnsondale bridge. The fire is currently about 246 acres with 10 percent containment. Fire crews are having to walk in about 1 and one-half hours to get to the fire. At this time, portions of the Rincon OHV Trail (33E23), the Cedar Canyon OHV Trail (33E26) and the River Trail (33E30) have been closed. For more information please check the link below:
National Incident Information System website - http://inciweb.org/incident/3229/
Fishing Report 08/28/12 - Rich Arner
There is good news and there is bad news, first the bad news. The late July and August fishing has been tough with the high river temperatures driven by warm weather and low flows. Temperatures at the hatchery became lethal last month and the hatchery was forced to dump all of the trophy trout (larger fish are more susceptible to heat stress) before they all died. Half of the trout went belly up when placed in the river as the stress of transporting and stocking was too much for the hogs. By mid-August the standard foot long trout were succumbing to +80 degree water temps. Hatchery personnel were challenged just to keep their smaller trout alive. Trout stocking was suspended entirely for the month of August to preserve the foot long inventory. Unfortunately, fishing pressure driven by favorable reports like those in the Bakersfield Californian kept many anglers in a harvesting mode even though trout clearly are suffering. Naturally, this has reduced pan sized trout density along the 20 mile stretch.
Fishing Report 07/26/12 - Rich Arner
There’s good news and bad news. Spoke with the hatchery manager Monday and he said he would be stocking early this week (good news), but that river temps at the hatchery were hitting 74 degrees in the morning when the air temps hit +100. Therefore he will not take any more trout deliveries until September if river temps improve. He will not stock after this week (bad news). We had high expectations today. I assumed he was going to empty the hatchery and that would mean good catching before things really go south next month. I was helping a friend learn to fly fish so I thought I’d get him on to fresh stockers early in the morning. Well after trying 7 different spots that should have been stocked we caught none in any of them. I spoke with one camper that said they had stocked this week but the catching was slow. I only saw one hook up all day that wasn’t ours. We netted 11 in six hours for the two of us but had to find spots way out of the way. All fish but one was sub foot long. Many of my favorite runs had no trout scurry when I walked through them. Not sure where most of the fish stocked this week went (into Lake Isabella perhaps?) Had some action on the foam stone fly. At 2 pm the river was 74 degrees and still climbing near Kernville.
Fishing Report 07/12/12 - Rich Arner
We had great cool June but now the heat of summer has arrived in July. Higher river temps have been reported so I thought I’d give it a try today even though a high of 104 degrees was forecasted for Kernville. I was glad to see cloud cover in the Sierra as I headed up the canyon. Drove by the river park in Kernville and was told by harvesters the river was stocked this week. Drove up in the low flow section.When I stepped into the river the river smelled a bit rank (not the crisp and clean of last month). I read 71 degrees at am on the low flow section. Yikes! The catching was zilch on a spot I landed 62 in 90 minutes two weeks ago. Four baiters were skunked too. Two men said they saw fish stocked earlier in the week and that the trout were in shock when they were planted and that kids were scooping many of them up with their nets rather than fishing poles????? I saw several whole dead trout lying in the river. So I moved up river a ¼ mile and picked up 9 in an hour but all were less than 11”.
Today the catching was ridiculous. I thought I’d try to fish the Upper Kern before 7/4 as people had told me the CDFG stocks heavily before the holiday week. A stop at Riverside Park and a chat with numerous harvesters suggested that there had been heavy stocking recently. Last time up was two weeks ago and I was helping a beginner land their first dozen rainbows on my #12 Arnerd nymph. I got to land another dozen too in 4 hours.
Fishing Report 06/08/12 - Rich Arner
Got up on a Friday and there was a lot more pressure on this weekday than I’ve seen this year. A hint of forest fire in the morning air. Campgrounds weren’t very full even when I got off the river around 2 pm but turnouts were usually stacked with multiple vehicles. I drove way up river until I finally found a secluded spot. Picked up a dozen in the first hour, then I got a big tug. You know when you set and the head shaking starts you are into a big trout. This hen stayed deep so I couldn’t get a good look but my line was singing in the current. I played her for easily 10 minutes and finally she started to tire. A couple of jumps and a down river run I just let her run. When I got her in the net she barely fit. The lb. Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon tippet ($5/110 yards and about 4x at Wallyworld) held up on my St Croix Legend Elite Ultra 4wt again and I was glad that the red hooks on my #12 Arnerd didn’t bend (now tied with Daiichi thicker gauge hooks). Landed 32 today in 5 hours and half were stuck on the Hill’s #12 BLT foam Stonefly. I also missed a lot of trout today. You have to hunt much harder to find trout. Again most 8”-11” but one fatty can make a season. This was the first +4lb trout I’ve landed on the Upper Kern in 3 or 4 years. She taped out at 23” length and 24” girth. Had to be 6lbs and easily the fattest looking rainbow I’ve ever landed. Oink oink.
GEORGE Fire Information - 06/08/12
The George Fire is currently at 1800 acres and 70% contained. Lloyd Meadow Road (FS22S82) north of Lower Peppermint Campground, the Freeman Creek Trail (32E20) and both Jerky Meadow and Forks of the Kern Trailheads are currently closed. See the links below for further information.
GEORGE Fire Information - 06/03/12
The George Fire was found by visitor about 4PM on Friday, June 1st, in the Sequoia National Monument near the Freeman Creek Giant Sequoia Grove. The fire has grown to approximately 1000 acres by 5PM Sunday evening. Lloyd Meadow Road (FS22S82) is currently closed, including the Jerkey Meadow and Forks of the Kern Trailheads. For more information, see the links below:
Fishing Report 05/31/12 - Rich Arner
The low flow section on the Upper Kern is now under 150 cfs. Water temps 60 degrees at 8:30 am and with the air temps in the 90’s wet wading should be fine. Water now gin clear with low flow section very wadeable. Fishing was very good again but harder to find trout than a week ago. Looks like there was significant harvesting in typically heavily pressured areas over the Memorial Day weekend. Landed 36 in 5 hours. Most 8-11” but did have two 15” torpedoes around noon. Several on the hopper and had to change out the #12 dropper every 10 fish because they were falling apart. One double hook up.
Fishing Report 05/25/12 - Rich Arner
The near record low Kern snow pack has resulted in the earliest and lowest peak spring flows in decades. Additionally the record low Memorial Day weekend temps meant the best chance to catch this year is now. It also is the first gauge of how the catching will be this summer/fall. We hit the upper river just before 9am and it was good to finally see the soot layer deposited last September on the Upper Kern scrubbed off.
Thought I’d try to fish the Upper Kern one last time before flows topped 1,000 cfs. When I left this morning the low flow section was at 330 cfs. Just a couple of weeks ago the low flow section was perfect and fishing great at 100 cfs. Unfortunately the river is now dark chocolate with less than 1’ visibility all the way up to Johnsondale Bridge. Landed 3 sub-footlong trout in 5 hours of casting practice. Tried lots of techniques nymphing, streamers, dries to little success. River temp 52 degrees at noon. Good amount of insect activity but no rises seen. Best fly was Kern Murky and Cabelas red glow bug. Hard to find slow water. I’ll be staying away from the Upper Kern until flows drop well below 1,000 cfs and wading is much safer and more productive. The lean snow pack indicates flows will peak by mid-May and sub 1000 cfs flows should occur mid-June. August river temps likely will be lethal to trout > 12” and the hatchery will be challenged to keep their stock alive. Crappie bite on Lake Isabella should pick up very soon.
Fishing Report 03/29/12 - Rich Arner
Headed up to the Upper Kern after the last Trout in the Classroom event for this year. We hit the water just before noon. Tied into several hefty bows again all on the dropper. After 5 to the net I saw the CDFG putting trout in the river. I took my time wading toward them. When I got there I was surprised to find dozens of trout huddled in ankle deep water. They wouldn’t take my typical foam stone and Arnerd dropper. Finally got them to take a size #20 bh zebra. All stocked trout small 8 – 10 inches. Not much of a challenge. First time in years I’ve been on the river when trout were being planted. Went back to the #12 Arnerd but just placed it a foot below the top fly. Quickly landed 17 bows and tossed them into deeper water to spread them around and give them a chance to survive the weekend. We headed up river to a spot where not stocked often. Fishing was even better. Lots of size variation, pointed nose wilder fish 8” – 16”. After 2:30pm lots of surface activity. Red hooked Arnerd more effective than traditional steel hook. Caddis hatch going. Water temp 53 degrees at 3:30 pm on low flow section, flows holding at 80 cfs and you could wade practically every where. Lots of F-18’s thundering over head. Excellent day with 52 to the net in just over 4 hours. 8 on the foam stone fly. Most fish stronger than normal? My fishing buddy did great on the opposite side of the river. Covered a bunch of water today, we’ll both sleep well tonight. Lost a couple of +17” wilder fish too. A trout plant happened this week on the Upper Kern even though not scheduled on the DFG website. Heavy winds today on Lake Isabella and I’d guess for the upcoming trout tourney.
Fishing Report 03/21/12 - Rich Arner
Back up on the Upper Kern again today after spending time with a large group of 4th graders from a Lake Isabella elementary school and another well behaved group of Trout in the Classroom students! We got on the water just after noon and I was glad to see a substantial warming from yesterday. River temp 44 degrees (5 degrees warmer than yesterday’s skunk tour) well up river from Kernville. Saw caddis and may flies flying around today as opposed to none yesterday. We hooked up often in both spots we tried today. I landed 18 in 3 hours and half of those were chunky strong 14”-15” rainbows. The first 15” fish of the day slammed my Hill’s #12 BLT stone in a hard to reach area. The rest were taken 40” deep on my #12 bh Arnerd (tiemco hooks). Brian A. got into double figures as well on his nymph rig and had a great day even with the limited mobility that prevented him from getting to a lot of water he’d normally wade with ease. Gorgeous day with F-14’s and F-16’s screaming overhead 6 times to break up the zen. LOL! The flows in Kernville (570 cfs peak today) are beginning to ramp up with the melt commencing. The low flow section was still very wadeable below 100 cfs but once the river exceeds 700 cfs flows will have to begin rising quickly on the low flow section because the maximum diversion SoCal Edison can make at Fairview Dam is 600 cfs. Water below KR3 visibility (about 4’) is half of what it is on the low flow section today. Watch the flows when you go as things warm up and another rain is predicted for this weekend.
Fishing Report 03/20/12 - Rich Arner
Had another date with a good group of Trout in the Classroom students from Arvin High today. Broke away around noon to try the Upper Kern River again. Things looked promising when I walked up on the river and was pleased to see the Upper Kern running clear and at about the same level as last week after the heavy storm this past weekend. Unfortunately as soon as I stepped in the river it became obvious that things would be different today. The river was very cold. I measured 39 degrees which is 10 degrees cooler than last Thursday in the same spot. Went over some new water and some that produced lots of bows last week. After 2 hours not a single bump and absolutely no bug activity at all. Headed home early. May take a while to warm things back up and get bugs hatching again. Lots of new snow dusting the mountains but we need a lot more.
Fishing Report 03/15/12 - Rich Arner
I was doing volunteer work with Trout in the Classroom today and met with some well behaved North High Students. I took my fly gear with me because the conditions should be very good finally. For the first time since November the Upper Kern has been stocked weekly. Flows below Fairview Dam are just 80 cfs and that usually means great fishing. I wasn’t disappointed. Landed over 7 trout/hr for four hours. The average bow was 14” with just two under 12”. The Hills #12 BLT Stone with the #12 Arnerd underneath worked all afternoon. I landed 5 trout in the first 25 minutes all on the red hooked Arnerd but every hook was bent when I got the trout in the net. All very strong and around 14” Not sure if I got a batch of weak red hooks but switched over to Tiemco Scud hook ties and didn’t have an issue with bending hooks afterward. Many of the fish landed were grey hued. A sign that trout were spawning. Some were hatchery bred but others I’m not sure. Five were hook jawed. All were strong, water temp 48 degrees. Fished between Brush Creek and Kernville. A lot more pressure the closer to Kernville I moved. Conditions felt like October but the fish were in different spots. Many times fish were stacked up in areas that provided barriers to up river migration. I suspect the river spawn urge is still present in many fish. Since we really haven’t had a big rain this winter to trigger the normal February up stream trout migration, I believe that the spawn is running later this year. The river still has a bottom silt layer and clarity was good but not gin clear. Big rain to show up this weekend so conditions probably will murky up and flows may become much more treacherous. Call the flow phone 1-877-537-6356 before you go and flows below 200 cfs at Fairview mean great fishing and wading this time of year. I have to say the average fish length and heft was the most I can remember. Maybe my measure net shrunk over the winter?
Fishing Report 11/03/11 - Rich Arner
Had a chance to talk with the hatchery manager this week. He confirmed that there has been and will be less stocking this Fall and Winter. He took nearly all of his weight allotment this summer when the upper river was running cooler this summer because of the high flows. Often in August when river temps hit the 70’s he’s not given trout but this year he took more pounds in August because the river was cool. He is very weary from all of the calls he’s been getting. Not much he can do about it now. Going forward he said he planned to only stock the Upper Kern one more time before Turkey Day. He did stock the lakes in BFL late 10/27/11 but will not be stocking bi-weekly this winter like last year but every third week or monthly. I hope next year the stocking plan does a better job of allocating trout to the Upper Kern in Oct/Nov when flows are much more wadeable and safe!
Fishing Report 10/28/11 - Rich Arner
Hoping to finally get a newbie friend on some decent rainbows for the third straight week. We thought we’d finally catch the Upper Kern after the river was resupplied with trout. As we pulled through Kernville again no one was fishing in the park. Is it possible they hadn’t stocked again? We found out quickly that our suspicions were confirmed. No easy trout finding again. Had to cover about a mile of river on three runs to land 15 rainbows between 8” – 12” above KR3. Didn’t see any one else catching (baiters included). We thought we’d head down to Kernville and maybe fish would be stocked in the afternoon. We noticed a lot of fly fishers pulling into the turnouts all along the road and on popular runs around Kernville. Most just getting to the river (must be a fly club outing this weekend?). No one catching and no one even fishing Kernville park at noon. We stopped by the hatchery to inquire as to why there hasn’t apparently been stocking for a while. No one home at the office but the hatchery is full of fish. Not sure why they don’t seem to be stocking them. We thought perhaps they were stocking BFL Lakes and the Lower Kern today (scheduled on the stocking web site)? As of 10/27/11 BFL Lakes were not stocked. So for now finding fish is still tough below Fairview Dam and Kernville. Wonder what is going on? We didn’t even try above Fairview today. The Upper Kern primarily is a put and take fishery and for now there’s not been much putting it appears. We are running out of prime time weather/flow conditions; it’s too bad the catching hasn’t matched the idyllic setting. Color change starting on the trees. Rain in the long range forecast for next week. Hopefully it won’t muddy the Upper Kern again. Water temps 48 – 55 degrees, fewer Caddis hatching this week. Little surface action seen and only one bump on the dry today. Bring wading fleece if you go.
Fishing Report 10/19/11 - Rich Arner
With flows dropping slowly to 500 cfs and the hope of more stocking on the Upper Kern we headed up on a Wednesday. When we drove through Kernville there was no one fishing the park – always a bad sign. Last week according to the DFG website stocking was not scheduled nor did we see any evidence it was planted either when we fished it. We stopped at the first spot and talked with some locals and they said there had not been stocking this week and that the fishing was really slow again for the second week. We headed to another spot and prepared ourselves for a lot of wading in hard to reach spots. Our second stop had a few fly fishers on it in the prime holding areas but they had no success. I went down river 1/4 mile and hooked into fish right away with the #12 Arnerd. Had three to hand in the first 15 minutes but none over 11” all were skinny. That was true of nearly every fish I landed the rest of the day with both wild and planters. Waded another 1/2 mile at least and picked up 3 more. Very tough finding fish. Water temp 56 degrees. Lots of October Caddis in the air both this week and last. No sign of surface feeding between 9am and 2pm.? We stopped at some more places on the low flow section (easily wadeable around 100 cfs I’d guess) with the same results. Given that the river above Fairview Dam is down to 500 cfs and that it has been very high for months and hard to fish we decided to head up there to find trout. Water temp was 51 degrees up there at noon and most of the river is moving fast and there are few slow spots holding bows. Crossing the river is still out of the question on most of this stretch. I landed a bit more frequently but again fish skinny again? I’m guessing the soot/ash layer on the river bottom must be negatively affecting the aquatic insects in some way? Wrapped up the day near Kernville and picked up one lone footlong (biggest of the day) after traversing a large area. Total 13 landed today and I slept well. One on the surface. Checking my records this is definitely the slowest October I’ve experienced in the last 10 years ( with the exception of the stocking ban year). Perhaps the DFG will stock later in the week for this weekend and revive the fishery? Next week 10/24 Bakersfield lakes scheduled for the first plants of the year. River Walk Park is pretty weedy at this time. We were hoping that the solar powered circulator that has been in place all summer would reduce the weeds, not sure it had much effect compared to last year.
Fishing Report 10/13/11 - Rich Arner
Fished the Upper Kern for the first time in 3 weeks after flows peaked at 2,000 cfs last week. Was hoping the rains would have flushed the Upper Kern but it is in about the same shape as three weeks ago with fewer trout in the river. A thin layer of soot and ash still is present and is easily stirred up. Hard to read the bottom in spots as it is dark most places where the is slower holding water. No sign of significant stocking noted anywhere? Trout spaced out over long distances. Bait guys not around Kernville stocking spots either. Most camp sites nearly empty. I landed 15 today and had to cover lots of water. Had one +18” red striped lunker on for 5 minutes that I got within 2’ of my net twice but finally pulled out on a downstream run. Wading pretty tough and limited to much less of the river outside of the low flow stretch with flows around 750 cfs (mini snow melt occurring right now). I’d guess a comfortable 120 cfs on the low flow stretch. Gorgeous day to be on the river for sure. Think next week catching should be better with needed trout plants. Water temps in the low 50’s, air temps pushing 90 degrees. Saw several other fly fishers on the river today. We were the only ones catching. Red Arnerd still producing. This time of year finding the fish is the key.
Fishing Report 9/23/11 - Rich Arner
Heard things were clear on the Upper Kern and with diversion again at Fairview Dam ( flows back down to 120 cfs)seemed like a good idea. The upper river has changed quite a bit from 2 weeks ago. The water is dark and has 3’ – 4’ of visibility at best. The bottom has a coating of dark brown soot/ash. You kick it up when you wade (so don’t wade up stream of some one you like). We checked out 7 different spots and covered a lot of water. It is clear that the Upper Kern River has not been stocked for a while. Last week trophy trout were not stocked due to conditions as reported by KVCCCF . Two of us landed 35 in 5.5 hours and we had to really focus on hard to get to places to hook up. The red hooked Arnerd landed 80% of the trout, we tried BH: red copper johns, Kern Murky's, brassies, princes with some success. Not much top water action. We hit spots between Fairview and Kernville. Saw no bait guys catching and very few of them. It is clear the locals know something about the tough fishing and lack of stocking it appears. Usually the DFG stocks the Upper Kern above KR3 bi-weekly after October 1 and it appears they may have started early this year? Kernville wasn’t very good either. My last fish of the day was a thick 17” on the red arnerd and it was a challenging test to get him out of strong current and to the net after 2 aerobatic leaps. Water temp 63 degrees at 2 pm. Lots of cars in turn outs as pressure definitely up from two weeks ago. Pumped stomach of a wild 14” trout. They are nibbling on some very small nymphs. San Joaquin hatchery robbed of trophy trout last month http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=8323067
Fishing Report 9/01/11 - Rich Arner
Fished Upper Kern today and I landed 29. My bud into double figures. The surface takes were markedly less this trip from last week. Landed 3 on #12 foam stonefly. Did loose a big boy on the dry though. Few stonefly cases observed on rocks near water level. Surprisingly light pressure for a Friday. T-storms moved in at 1:00PM and we packed up. Not sure what they will do to water clarity. Started fishing after 9 am. Lots of clouds to keep us cool. I bet I had +40 LDR’s. Saw an Osprey dive in and take a trout 50 feet in front of me. Way cool. One hog bent my red hook on the #12 Arnerd and popped off after 1 minute of a lot of runs. Was great day on the river but fish definitely harder to find each week over the last month.
Fishing Report 9/01/11 - Rich Arner
The Upper Kern had the most pressure I’ve ever seen on a weekday today. To give you an example over 20 cars were at T-bird, and between 6 and 10 vehicles were at Old Goldledge, Salmon Creek, Half Way. Nearly every turnout had vehicles in them. Ironically campgrounds HQ and Hospital Flats weren’t even 1/3 full? Since two weeks ago the catching dropped off dramatically as I did land 41 rainbows in 6 hours. I landed 1/2 the fish/hr as two weeks ago and I bet I waded twice the runs as well to catch those 41. Best action on the Hill’s #12 BLT I’ve had ever with every other trout landed on the foam golden stone/hopper imitation. Lots of newly shucked stonefly casings on rocks on the river. Also the size of this foamy stone imitation prevents a lot of dink hook ups and all of the fish slamming/landed on the foam fly were 12” – 15” The low flow section was at just 120 cfs. If this Thursday before the Labor Day weekend is any indication there will be a ton of harvesting this weekend. Lets hope the CDFG stocks well after the weekend to sustain a decent population of trout for the rest of September.
Fishing Report 8/18/11 - Rich Arner
Today was the first day I was on the river where you could wade nearly every where since last November. Low flow section 220 cfs at 6am and stayed in that range all day. I concentrated on areas I know no one has fished since flows rose above 1,000 cfs months ago. Predictably the fishing was awesome. Landed 79 bows between 8 am and 2 pm. Several between 14”- 17” Many pointy nosed and clean indicating long term hold overs and/or wild fish. The further away from stocking spots the better the fishing. Lots of surface slams and landed 14 (12” – 16”) on the Hills #12 BLT foam stone fly https://www.hillsdiscountflies.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product_details&view_productID=3168&search_deptID=1&search_categoryID=0 , the rest on the #12 weighted Arnerd red hook. Arnerd hung 3’ below dry. A lot more insect activity than last week and smoke much better but still present. Twice had double hook ups landing 28” and 27” of fish at a time . Water temp up 5 degrees from last week. Fewer autos in the pull outs Get up there before the harvesting gets in full swing.
Fishing Report 8/11/11 - Rich Arner
Up early today and made it on the Upper Kern around 8AM. Very smokey in the air and I imagine air quality is well over 200 until noon. The flow phone said 450 cfs below Fairview Dam so below Tobias and Salmon Creek I'd guess it was +500 cfs. Had a good day considering I could only cover 1/3 the water I normally could reach at 200 cfs. So I worked the banks at 6 different spots and landed 31 bows in about 6 hours. Some surface takes after 11 AM, few insects airborne? Hung red hooked Arnerd 4' below foam stonefly. Missed a lot of fish and had to mend a lot to maintain drag free drifts. Two bows were +17" - one probably would have been 20" if it had all of its tail :-) Water clear but not gin clear. No stocking this week yet as of today (Thurs). Water temp I'd guess was around 60 degrees. This time next week I would think much more water would be wadeable and twice the fish can be had? Quite a bit of pressure for a Thursday on the low flow section. I did not attempt above Fairview because flows there still +1,000 cfs.
Lion Fire Information - 08/01/11
The Lion Fire started as a lightning fire and was allowed to burn to help reduce the fuel load in an area that had not burned in about 90 years. Over the last week or so the fire has grown to a little over 19,000 acres. The fire is now in the Sequoia National Park, Sequoia National Forest and the Golden Trout Wilderness. The recent weather patterns have pushed a lot of the smoke into the Kern River Valley and Lake Isabella area. Several wilderness roads and trails have been closed in the area of the fire. Below are some links to information on the fire.
Needles Lookout Burns Down - 08/01/11
Many of our members, and people from Kern and Tulare Counties, are familiar with, and have even hiked to, the Needles Fire Lookout near Ponderosa in Tulare County. This historic structure overlooking the Upper Kern River Valley, burned down on July 28, 2011 after the roof caught fire from an ember from the stove. Here are a couple links to information on the fire.
Fishing Report - 7/26/11
FLOWS STILL WELL ABOVE 1,000 CFS
The Upper and Lower Kern River continue to flow well above normal levels. The rafters and kayakers are in heaven! Sadly we are on a record pace this summer for drownings on the Kern River. The first fisherman was claimed earlier this month. Fortunately for our club members nearly all of us have stayed out of the river even with the increased marketing by Kernville vendors that have encouraged folks to enter the river at treacherously high flow levels in direct conflict with public safety official's recommendations to "stay out and stay alive".
Fire Season 2011 Declared - 5/23/11
The Kern County Fire Department, BLM & Forest Service declared the 2011 Fire Season to be started Monday May 23rd at 12:00pm.
Please remember as you are out on the area lakes, rivers and streams to stay aware of your surroundings and make sure you know what your escape routes are.
Fishing Report - 04/01/11
January through March flows on the Upper Kern continued to be much higher than average since the huge rains of December making for the most challenging March wading in years. The snow pack continues to build to excellent levels and recent storms appear to be setting off the biggest spring/summer runoff we’ve seen for quite some time. Restrictions on Lake Isabella storage capacity will provide an interesting challenge for water management teams and suggest very heavy flows on the Lower Kern into Bakersfield and beyond this year.
Fishing Report - 11/19/10
Flows remain over 300 cfs for the last month on the Upper Kern. Fortunately flows have remained clear and there has been no diversion at Fairview Dam observed. Wading is no longer easy in most of the Upper Kern. More rain is on the way this weekend. Stocking above KR3 is scheduled to end after Thanksgiving week. River temps are now under 50 degrees and fewer holdover planted footlongs remain. As in past years by December a great deal of effort and knowledge is required to catch double digits on the Upper Kern by the most experienced anglers above KR3. Stocking will occur in the Kernville area; however, you will likely have lots of company to fish with you.
There is disturbing news to report; recently 7 accounts of vandalism have been reported against vehicles parked near the Upper Kern River. The locations were Salmon Creek, Camp 3, Rodeo grounds, and the Airport parking areas. None of the vehicles had items taken from them and they just had windows bashed. One vehicle had fly rods and shot guns left untouched? Law enforcement believes that fly fishers are being targeted. They are taking measures to increase security. As this letter goes to press the perpetrators had not been caught.
With lower water temps at lower elevations local Bakersfield Lakes are now being stocked regularly. This means fewer fish for the Upper Kern but more on the Lower Kern. River Walk Park Lake often has KRFF members tossing a line. Small bead head streamers seem to work the best early in the day.
Fishing Report - 9/16/10
Drove up through the smokey canyon and once you get west of Lake Isabella the smoke dissipates. The Lower Kern will definitely be running black with the first autumn rains. I had a few friends do very well yesterday when they focused on a recently stocked spot on the upper. I was more interested in getting a perspective on how the overall 20 mile section was fishing since flows dropped below 200 cfs and air temps were well below triple digits.
Canyon Fire - 9/15/10
The Canyon Fire was at a little over 6000 acres this morning and was only 10% contained. Old Kern Canyon Road remains closed. Highway 178 is now open but please be aware that fire fighters and equipment are still stationed and patroling the Highway. All river activites have been closed for the Kern River between Keysville and Democrat. See the below links for further updates.
Canyon Fire - 9/13/10
The Canyon Fire started Sunday afternoon (9/12) near Delonegha and quickly shutdown Hwy 178 and Old Kern Canyon Road. Highway 178 reopened this morning but there were still some lane closures in the 4 lane section of the road. The road could be closed again if the wind shifts direction. The forest service has setup a phone number to call for updated inforation. It is (760) 379-5646 x564. You can also monitor the following websites for updates on the fire:
Brekenridge Lookout Web Cam pointed towards fire - http://sierrafire.cr.usgs.gov/camHist/viewer09.pl?camera=breckenridge_2&lastFrame=true
Fishing Report - 9/2/10
Catching today was excellent, however, rainbows are no longer scattered throughout the Upper Kern River. I haven't fished the Upper Kern in 3 weeks and now trout have been harvested throughout the drainage. We picked up fish in more concentrated pods this week and other fishers we talked with said the river was stocked heavily earlier in the week for the Labor Day weekend. Both of us found great holding spots with many fish pounding our foam yellow bellied stoneflies between 9am and 2pm. The best top water action yet, but few fish were over 13" and could get the mouthful of foam in their lips. I wish www.Hillsdiscountflies.com made them in a size #14. Around 10am a nice fat 14" trout snapped a BLT off my tippet and I caught him again 20 minutes later. How he thought he could get another BLT foam stone fly in his gullet I'll never know but it was a good laugh and great to get my fly back as these are becoming harder to order as the summer progresses.
Fishing Report - 8/26/10
The confluence of conditions that create the best trout fishing of the year occurred the week of August 9th. When flows drop below 200 cfs nearly 90% of the Upper Kern River low flow section can be accessed by wading. Many of the fish stocked since flows exceeded 1,000 cfs back in April that managed to avoid near-to-the-bank harvesting are now accessible.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 08/12/10
Checking the flows we noticed upper flow rates have come down below 500 cfs now and the flow phone indicated flows below Fairview Dam were in the 200 cfs range. We had seen thunderheads earlier this week above the Sierra to the east so we weren't sure what to expect. Normally the first week that flows drop below 200 cfs on the Upper Kern guarantee +50 fish days. When we got on the river at 8:30am flows were noticeably lower than a week ago and clear. Given that temps will increase over the next few days T-storms are going to be more likely and no doubt will murk things up downstream of Springhill campground so we decided to cover that water because it may be unfishable sooner than later.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 08/05/10
The trip today was very encouraging. From what we could see the Bull Fire did not extend north (upriver) of the Goldledge Campground. The campgrounds were closed in the morning but were opened when when we left :-(. That means a lot more fishers. Cleary the river will be murky weeks/months after the first rains below Goldledge when they occur but for now the river is gin clear but not easy to wade. Flows above Fairview are around 600 cfs and I'd guess around 400 cfs below. There are few spots you can cross the river on the low flow section and I wish I had not brought waist waders and no wading staff. Trout were caught all over the place you just had to find some slow water and fish deep. My modified Arnerd nymph worked great with some taken on the #12 foam BLT stone fly from Hills. One strike was magnificent by a fat +16" buck 10' from me and a lengthy battle in the current was required to net him - just perfect. My buddy was tossing a yellow bellied Chernobyl ant and was getting strikes every five minutes. Most fish were LTH (long term holdovers) very clean, noses not very blunt and all fins intact. Clearly the drop in flows has concentrated planters stocked the last 3 months into a reduced volume of water.
8/4/10 - 8:00 AM - Kern River Valley Fire (Bull Fire)
The Bull fire is about 96% contained. Roads are open in the area but please keep an eye out for fire fighting equipment still patroling the fire area. We will not update anymore about the fire on this site. Please monitor the links below for any further updates.
8/2/10 - 6:00 AM - Kern River Valley Fire (Bull Fire)
The Bull fire is currently about 85% contained. The Forest Service is expected to lift the restrictions in the Bull fire area except for campgrounds within the fire perimeter. Mountin 99 is expected to open completely around 9AM today. Monitor the Forest Service, Kern County Fire and local news outlets for the latest updates on the closures.
7/31/10 - 8:00 AM - Kern River Valley Fire (Bull Fire)
The Bull fire is currently 81% contained at 16,460 acres in size. Mountain 99 is still closed between Brush Creek and Headquarters camp. The river is still closed in approximately the same area due to fire fighting helicopters taking water from the river. The forest service has closed a portion of the Kern River Ranger District within the Bull fire. See the link below for more information.
The Kern County Chapter of the Red Cross is currently supplying support to the victims and firefighters of both the Bull fire and the West fire near Tehachapi. You may visit their website to see reports on what they have been doing during these fires.
7/28/10 - 8:00 PM - Kern River Valley Fire (Bull Fire)
The Bull Fire is currently reported as being just under 16,000 acres. Mountain 99 is still closed between Brush Creek and Headquarters camp.
7/27/10 - 5:00 AM - Kern River Valley Fire (Bull Fire)
The Bull Fire is currently around 4200 acres in size. Hard road closures are in place around Kernville including Mtn 99 between Kernville and Fairview.
7/26/10 - 7:00 PM - Kern River Valley Fire (Bull Fire)
There is a large fire burning north of Kernville in the Bull Run drainage area. It is being called the "Bull Fire". As of 7:00PM this evening (Monday) it is reported to be 2000 acres and growing. Parts of Kernville and River Kern are being evacuated. We will provide links to information on the fire as they become available.
May 2010 - 2010 Fire Season Declared
The BLM, USFS and Kern County Fire Department have already declared the 2010 Wildland Fire Season to be in effect. We would just like to remind our everyone to be aware of their surroundings while you are on are lakes, rivers and streams. Wild fires can start at any time and move very fast, as the McNally Fire showed us in 2002. We want to see everyone come back from their fishing trips safe and sound.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 05/01/10
The first stocking for the Kern occurred last week since the mechanical failure at the Kernville Planting base March 13th. Nearly 10,000 pounds of planters were loaded into the Upper Kern for the trout opener. This is the first planting for sections of the Upper Kern River between Johnsondale Bridge and KR3 in more than a year and a half. Finally significant numbers of plus foot long fish will be catchable in this section. Most wading fly fishers will have to wait as the spring melt is on and the river is now + 2,000 cfs on its way to +5,000 cfs by June 1st.
Most safety minded fly fishers will not venture back up on the Upper Kern until flows drop below 1,000 cfs again probably sometime in mid to late July. We received a good amount of rain and snow in April and the snowpack is well above average for the first time since the summer of 2006. Repairs have been made to the Kernville hatchery and it should be back to normal operations very soon. Local city lakes have not been planted in weeks because of the hatchery mechanical issues and warming water temperatures in the valley. No more planting locally until Turkey Day.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 04/01/10
More stocking issues for the Kern have surfaced because of a mechanical failure at the Kernville Planting base March 13th. Fish at the hatchery began going belly up and the hatchery was forced to plant every fish it had. Most of those fish went into the Upper Kern at the bridge in Kernville and by KR3. There was great catching and lots of pressure on those stretches. Trout were hitting anything colorful placed 1 foot off the bottom for several days and the harvesting was on. The spring melt has begun in earnest as flows on the Upper Kern have exceeded 1,000 cfs in Kernville and +700 cfs below Fairview Dam. Wading is difficult on most stretches of the Upper Kern as a result. Unfortunately, no stocking was made between Fairview and KR3 which would have given the river a much needed infusion of foot long trout in this scoured section of the river which has not been planted in a year and a half. The hatchery manager indicated that the repairs should occur in a couple of weeks provided repair funding can be acquired in a timely manner so we'll keep our fingers crossed for now.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 02/11/10
Thought I should try the Upper Kern today on the second day after stocking resumed. Got a late start and arrived at Kernville Park around 10am . A dozen happy guys were there stacked along the river. It was good to see catching again but not the crowd. I guess it's a good problem to have. The Upper Kern is flowing clear (400cfs) and cool at 42 degrees. I had to poke around a while to find a secluded spot above Kernville Bridge. I settled in where I saw some rising. I looked around and saw no bait cups or any trash. I figured this was the spot for me. Boy was it. In just the first hour I landed 28 rainbows 12" - 15". Thankfully no other fisherman had seen me or I would have had a lot of company I'd guess. Over the next 2 hours I landed another 35 rainbows mostly on the Arnerd BH nymph I tie on a #12 red scud hook ( I think a BH PT or BH Prince would work too). I redistributed trout as best I could as I fished to give them a chance before others got in the area. Takes were subtle often and and every drift hesitation produced a hook up. No surface hook ups today. My arm is sore and I'm glad I took a pain reliever before I started! A gorgeous day on the river with a serene spot to myself. I'd guess there won't be many like it now. Best fishing day since '06. Trout do bite when it's cold ;-)
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/01/09
The Kern River has not been stocked since Nov 2008 and the summer harvesting season has now been completed. The quality of the catching has been down significantly based on reports of many different fishers in and out of our club.
Upper Kern Fishing Report (A lot of Firsts) - Rich Arner - 08/06/09
I nearly fainted when I saw that the weather forecast called for sub 80 degree temps for early August. Flows have dropped below 250 cfs on the Upper Kern so I thought I should give it try.
Fire Report - Rich Arner - 07/05/09
Two fires have been ignited in the Golden Trout Wilderness. The extremely dry conditions in the Southern Sierra mean you must be extremely cautious if you intend to head into those areas. For more detailed information, see the following web site links below.
Shotgun Fire Links
Lion Fire Link
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 5/28/09
The Upper Kern's trout fishing short term future has gone from bad to worse over the last month for several reasons. Currently flows exceed 2,000 cfs and peaked around 3,400 cfs on May17, 2009. No stocking above Kernville Park north to the Johnsondale Bridge has occurred since early November as a result of the environmental law suit agreement. Many fly fishers have reported that many harvesting fishers continue to fish the Upper Kern unaware of the no stocking policy and continue to take legal trout out of the river. Clearly if this continues remaining holdovers will dissipate in short order post-Memorial Day.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 12/11/08
I think this is the best fishing of the year for the Upper Kern. Never thought I'd be saying that. The canyon walls are green on the drive up. Air temps still near 70 degrees. Water temp 39 degrees at 9AM and 43 degrees at noon. Water clear on low flow section and still less than 100 cfs. NO ONE IS FISHING!!! Landed 21 between 9am and 2pm. Some on the surface. Fish are 10" - 14" and wild or very long term holdovers. They are very aggressive on takes - I think I missed 2 fish all day. I'll leave my catch and release net at home next time. I doubt few if any stockers are left. These fish are all colorful torpedoes with pointed noses. It is 3wt and 4wt fishing with many aerials. I can pick and choose where I want to fish but they are not easy to find making it more rewarding. All the scrambling over boulders will make sure I'll sleep well tonight. It has been 4 years since I caught double digits in December and was able to achieve this the last two weeks. The pressure is definitely off now that stocking has stopped and the harvesting folks are staying home. The usual set up working like a charm. Hope forecasted rains for Saturday don't murk things up ;-)
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 12/4/08
How bad has the fishing gotten since stocking ceased on the Upper Kern? We'll I wanted out of the fog and headed up the canyon. I fished the Upper Kern yesterday and landed 16 wild fish. Much better than I expected as the Turkey Day crowd usually depletes the upper river of pan sized and greater rainbow trout above KR3 every year as planting ceases in this area. The river hasn't been stocked for almost a month. In the past they would continue stocking in the Kernville area below KR3 powerhouse and the catching was still good regardless of water temp. You just had to beat the crowds who congregate around the stocking points on stocking day ;-). Not my idea of wonderful fishing conditions, in fact, I avoid it. I landed four fish at 13" that were heavily colored and a real treat to land. They weren't anything like the fat 14" - 16" stockers of a month ago, but clearly a more satisfying challenge. Fish this size will be considered trophies on this stretch if stocking isn't resumed. #12 bh Arnerd nymph works year 'round. Water was clear and very low below Fairview on the low flow stretch, I'd guess 80 cfs or less. We were the only ones fishing but fish were very hard to find. 68 degrees sunny, clear, and warm. Water temp 44 degrees at noon. Not much hatching before 2pm.
Stocked and Will Not Be Stocked Lists from DFG
Click the below links to download PDF files from the DFG.
Judge Approves Trout Stocking Ruling Made Friday 11/21/08 - Nov 22, 2008 - From R. Arner
Below are some articles to inform you on what has been decided. The detailed listing for which waters will be stocked again will be posted on the California DFG website early this week.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - Nov 20, 2008
Just got off the Upper Kern River. The fishing has dropped off considerably. This is typical when stocking drops off. While I netted 18 between 8am and 1pm. I had to try 7 spots and bushwhack to get to most of them. Most fish were 8"-10" wild fish in very out of the way spots I'd not fished before. The 3 spots I tested in the Kernville area were much slower this week. I did land 2 @15" that likely were planted last week. Fishing pressure was high for a Thursday as practically every turnout to the Johnsondale Bridge had a vehicle parked on it.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - Nov 13, 2008
The forecast for today was a warm 79 degrees in Kernville. In mid-November that means do what you can to go fishing on the Upper Kern. As I drove up 178 in the canyon things were foggy on the river from Richbar all the way to Kernville. Lake Isabella was covered in a 500' thick white blanket. At about Kernville it dissipated. The first 2 runs I stopped at in Kernville were already taken before 8am. I went to a third and tossed a dry dropper and tugged streamers for an hour without a bump.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - Oct 23, 2008
The weather continues to be warm and conducive to wading on the Upper Kern this week. I covered the same water as last week and there was a marked drop in fish in the river over the same two 1/4 mile stretches of river I fished last week. Last week I took 30+ and on the same stretches this week took just 6. So we trekked over some new water on the low flow section. I found a 1/4 mile stretch that produced a dozen fish in an hour but only 2 were over a foot long most were thin 8" -10". I assumed that stocking has been reduced above KR3 as is usual after mid- October. We decided to head toward Kernville and went to try a favored spot that usually produces in winter. I went over it thoroughly with out a bump. We looked way down stream and saw some baiters having some luck. Had a great conversation with two of them and they are part of the Friends of the Hatchery and they said that stocking this week was below the town of Riverkern and will likely be that way through spring :-( We poked around a new area for us and found a great little stretch with aggressive fatty's taking dries and nymphs.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - Oct 16, 2008
With a drop in gasoline prices and air temps I decided to head up and had the best day of 2008. Landed 50 rainbows in about 5 hours. The average fish is heavier and longer this year. The last few years 12" was the median and now I think it is 13.5" or maybe my measure net is shrinking? The largest was 18" and another dozen 14" -17". The water below McNally's has cleared to 5' again and water temp 50 degrees at 10AM near Kernville. Hatches started coming off at 11AM. Not much surface feeding action observed and I only took 3 fish on the surface. This is normal heading into late October.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - Oct 2, 2008
Fished the Upper Kern today and landed 36 in 4 hours. At least 10 fish 15" - 16.5". Very few fish under 13". My buddy landed his biggest two fish ever today on the Kern. Air temp around 80-85. The river below Fairview is getting much murkier. Visibility less than 2'. May be some storms recently dirtied things up again? Hard to wade. I did very well on my KernMurky. Fishing pressure less below Fairview but many folks still hammering above Fairview Dam where it is clearer (6' visibility) . Water temp was 55-60 degrees. Pumped stomachs and fish were taking #20 -#18 baetis nymphs where I was. My #12 bh KernMurky worked just great; few hits on the surface stonefly today.
Fishing Report - Brian Adams - Oct 2, 2008
I spent 5 days last week in the Mammoth area. I fished the lower Owens the Big Springs, Rush Creek and Hot Creek. Hot Creek by far the best with 14 fish landed and 4 over 16 inches. I did some side trips to Mono Lake, Bristlecone Pine Forest and up to Whitney Portal Road for some great photos. My fishing partner was the fish dog Cricket.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - Sept 28, 2008
Broke away on Thursday hoping to avoid crowds on the Upper Kern because high air temps+95 degrees were forecasted. It was hot above the water and so was the fishing. Finally a good fishing day closer to what normally occurs in September. I was able to find a couple runs below Fairview that had few fishers on them. Landed 35 in about a 4.5 hour time frame. Averaged 8/hr. At least 6 bows were +15" and chubby so recent plants no doubt. Had to cover a lot of river but was picking up a trout every 20 yards or so on both stretches. Lots of top water action on a foam stonefly after 10:30 am. Missed one 4 pounder who smacked my indicator fly; he just didn't snag the hook :-( Got the blood pumping for sure. Water temps around 67 below Fairview. Above Fairview around 63 but lots more pressure and harder to find a quiet place. #12 bh stonefly nymphs working as usual hung deep. Still no diversion by SoCal Edison to generate power in months. That is very good for the fishery because flows below 100 cfs would likely be very bad for trout below Fairview Dam. Water not crystal clear below Fairview but flashy flies not required to get lots of hookups.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - Aug 21, 2008
I thought I'd fish the Upper Kern expecting markedly better conditions (based on some web postings) than what I observed 3 weeks ago while rafting below KR3. As we drove passed the KR3 powerhouse few cars were pulled in the turnouts and I thought, "Wow no one knows how good it is". No one parked at Thunderbird in August in low flows?"
River Report - July 19, 2008
Heavy thunderstorms above the Piute fire, and above areas on the upper Kern affected by fires a couple of years ago, have turned both the upper and lower river into a silty/sooty mess. Water clarity on the upper Kern River was under 1 foot early this week. The power plants shutdown due to the high volume of silt in the water, so no water was being divereted between Fairview Dam and Kernville meaning higher water in the low flow section of the river. The hatchery reports that they are still operating and the fish are fine. They have a dirty mess to clean up though.
Click on the link below to see footage shot by Kern County Fire Department's helicopter. They were diverted from working the Piute fire when the thunderstorms started and shot video footage of the first flash flood coming down the creek into Lake Isabella. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GX4TFBAuL3s
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - July 1, 2008
I took a trip up on the Upper Kern today because flows dropped to 900 cfs at Kernville and I assumed that electricity was being generated to power all of our AC units. SoCal Edison usually diverts 600 cfs on the low flow section and that would drop flows to 300 cfs below Fairview to KR3 Powerhouse. Well I got to the Upper River around 8:30 AM and it was pretty clear little or no diversion is occurring today. I did a great deal of searching to find any slow water but when I finally found some trout were willing. I had to fish very deep to +4' below an indicator foam stone fly to begin hooking up. Water visibility was less than 5'. I hooked fish on my brown #12 bh stonefly imitation and I added a more visible # 14 bh red copper john. It worked to get me 5 bows/hr to the net but I LDR'd more than I netted. With flows this high the nymphs were swirling around below and I think that made it hard to detect strikes and set the hook. My stonefly got bumped 6 times around midday but I couldn't hook them.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 11/15/07
Went up today to scout the river for my Turkey Day guests next week and enjoy the great warm weather. Unfortunately the fishing has gone south quickly. The last two trips netted 41, 23 and 19 today. However more of my fish were wild fingerlings 6" - 8" this trip. I've never caught so many wild fingerlings over the last 3 weeks which is a very good thing. I've been fishing between Fairview Dam and KR3 and this area got very warm in July-Sept but these fish survived. One thing to keep in mind is that because of the low water conditions SoCal Edison has not diverted any water for months off of this stretch so it has received >120 cfs all year. The last 3 years flows typically dropped below 80 cfs on the low flow section stressing the natural reproduction in this area. It appears even with the higher summer water temps the extra water flows over compensated for the warm water temps.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/21/07
Weather perfect and water conditions still perfect (temp 52 degrees at noon). Landed 31 in 4 hours. Started before 8:30am to beat the pressure. First hour was great 22 landed. We estimated 50 hook ups in an hour for 2 of us. Fish dispersed over 200 yard section. Then 4 other car loads showed up. Went to next spot few fish over 3/4 mile stretch. Third spot above Fairview loaded with vehicles. Covered 1/2 mile and picked up 6 fish in 50 yard stretch. Three fish 15 -16" and fat here. Others fly fishing there did the same. The area above Fairview is still getting extreme pressure even on a Friday? I'd guess people who were successful this summer(the only place the DFG could stock) are still drawn to the upper area even though stocking is halved now that lower and BFL lakes being stocked. Many fish taken on the surface. Few insects in the air. I'll be fishing Mon - Thurs from now on. Fri - Sun just too crowded - even in Oct?
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/18/07
Fishing on the Upper Kern has been excellent the last 3 weeks. Beginning this week the DFG is planting rainbows in Bakersfield in Lakes, Ming, Hart Park, Truxton, and the Lake at River Walk Park. For more details on stocking that is updated weekly check the web site below:
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/12/07
Finally could get away for a day this month and try and fish the upper. Fishing was much better. Between 9:30am and 1:30 pm I landed 47 and my buddy landed 18. 2 weeks ago (+30 landed) we could only find fish in two pods in 4 different spots we tried and after wading 2 miles. Today fish were more scattered around the river which for me is much more enjoyable/challenging fishing. I was concerned because in July and August the lack of stocking and continued fishing pressure during the low flows and high temps had made a big negative impact on the fishery below Fairview to KR3. Today waded 1/2 mile. The fish were also thinner so I'd guess they were in the river a while. All fish fought hard and lots of aerials. Takes were very subtle and most of the nymph takes were not noted at the indicator fly. Because the upper Kern is running so clear I saw almost all of the subsurface takes before the indicator fly twitched.
Fishing Report -Rich Arner - 9/27/07
Conditions on the Upper Kern have finally turned for the better but not great especially compared to this time last year. Cold weather has dropped water temps back to a range where more areas of the Upper Kern can be stocked below Fairview Dam into Kernville. The DFG started planting this stretch on Sept 20th in time for the "California Free Fishing Day" on Saturday, September 22nd . If you weren’t aware there are 2 days each year that no license is required to fish in California. Fish are finally being taken again on our favorite "low flow" section but not in great numbers. Planting ceased for the last 2 months on this
FISHING REPORT 8/28/07
Conditions on the Upper Kern are still very tenuous, as flows have dropped to 120 cfs. Water temps have dropped a little since July but are still in the 70-degree range after noon. No stocking has occurred below McNally’s to Kernville in weeks as the DFG is focusing on cooler stretches - few fish have survived this stretch. Above McNally’s stocking continues and both baiters and fly fishers have concentrated in those areas so be prepared for close company if you go. Some trophy trout were added recently and caught. Well sort of. Ron G. netted a 28” bow but his story illustrates the river status. He had walked to the river and saw a large fish barely able to keep itself facing upstream and upright. He netted it and spent several minutes trying to revive it. Ron released it near a deeper hole, but doubts it survived very long. I was on the river last week when I spied a pod of planters that wouldn’t take anything. I walked right up to them and they didn’t scatter? I was able to easily net 2 and they barely were moving. I put them in deeper water away from the roadside of the river where they would be less likely to be hooked by baiters. I assume they were recently planted and were stressing over the recent transportation and the warm water (71 degrees at 1 PM). They were only able to remain in a suspended state to avoid overheating and they were near complete exhaustion? I did land 25 fish in 2 hours over a half-mile stretch but I’d guess most of those fish were planted days or weeks before and had acclimated to these warmer conditions. Air temps are forecasted to reach near records for Labor Day weekend and there will be a lot of pressure as well. Several thunderstorms have muddied the kern to visibilities less than 1' as of 8/30/07 and ignited fires in the Golden Trout Wilderness. Let’s hope the rainbows can survive another few weeks.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 6/7/07
Went up yesterday despite Goldledge fire. Flows are very wadebale below Fairview (140 cfs). Water clear. Fish were scattered and much harder to locate versus a month ago. Covered 1.5 miles of river on 3 of my favorite runs. Glad it was cool ;-) I've been told the fishing pressure is very extreme now on the weekends; about 50% of the turnouts had vehicles today. Landed 25 up to 16" and my buddy landed 14 in four hours. Doubt river stocked this week as of yesterday may be today? Mayflies everywhere, not much surface feeding observed but my foam golden stonefly took 1/3 of the fish landed. Water temp 60 degrees at 1 PM. The fire seemed to be nearly put out but helis shuttling water were constantly flying overhead. Glad they got this under control (see pic below). Hope the first thunderstorms to come don't wash a lot of soot and sediment into the river.
Fire Updates Online
Here are a couple of websites to keep up to date on this, and other, fires.
http://www.inciweb.org/incident/685/ - Be advised this site is heavily visited and can be slow or non-responsive at times. If that occurs, just return to it in 15 or 20 minutes.
http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf - National Daily Fire Summary Report
Fire Report - GoldLedge Fire 6/5/07
Below is the latest on a fire growing fast on the Upper Kern
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 5/10/2007
Made the way up to Kernville today - road construction completed ;-) Got up in the Upper at about 9:30AM and water was clear and flows very wadeable. The flows were about 700 cfs above Fairview Dam and 160 cfs below it. Landed fish right away on top and bottom. Had 37 to the net by noon covering 3/4 mile. At least 10 of them were 14" -16" and fat. A fourth of the fish were taken on the dry. Lots of surface activity and bugs flying around everywhere. March browns still prominent. Fish were very strong. The water temp was 62 degrees at 10 am. Fish were holding in more turbulent water and under rocks like the picture below. We broke for lunch and went up river to a 2nd spot. Hooked up again right away but then things changed around 1pm. Water visibility dropped to 3' or less and river level came up a bit. In the span of 30 minutes the surface activity stopped and the fish stopped biting. Took a water temp of 66 degrees at 2pm when we quit. Landed 41 in just over 4 hours and the air temp was about 85 degrees when we quit. Saw few anglers - with the exception of two bait guys who took 8 each and were going to take as many as they could :-(
I think a significant melt is on and we got the last great hours on the river for a while. As I type this (5pm) the upper has surged to over 900 cfs above Fairview and 330 cfs below Fairview dam (that's more than double the flow we started with today) It may be time to hit other waters now. The high flows probably won't last a month but I'm concerned that water temps are going to hit +70 degrees as soon as the melt ends. This could be a very stressful season for trout.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 4/13/07
Had a final outing for Trout in the Classroom today which wrapped up around 11am. Thought that the Upper Kern might be worth a try because SoCal Edison started diverting water at Fairview Wednesday 4/11and the "low flow" section had been dropping 100 cfs daily and was 150 cfs before I left this AM. When I finally hit the river at noon the water was nearly clear as September on the low flow section and I knew I'd have a good day even though it's Friday the 13th. Additionally, the river has been stocked regularly the last month and the fly fishing has been lackluster because of the high flows reducing visibility. When the flows dropped the sediments fell out and the fish could see a fly again. I could wade wherever I wanted to in waist waders. I believe the flows were below 100 cfs by noon below Fairview. I put away the bright flies and went back to the reliable bh nymphs and fished 3' deep. Landed 24 in and hour and a half. The takes were strong and only had 2 LDR's. Had to leave around 1:30PM for a swim meet. Lots of insects (mayflies) flying around. No stoneflies. Had some bumps on top but the bh nymph was doing great (16 fish/hr) so why change ;-) Caught the fish in pockets over a half mile of river. No pods of fish. Some fat some slim so I was catching recent stockers and others that probably were in the river a while. Water temp 52 degrees and air temp 74 degrees with slight wind. Get up there before half of LA finds out !!! I doubt these conditions will last long once things start heating up again and the melt resumes. Check the flow phone first 1-877-537-6356. Kern basin snow pack at just 19% which is the worst in 3 decades from what I've been told. Let's hope summer isn't too hot and we get a late spring snow storm up high!
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 03/15/07
Mike I. and I were up in Kernville today to support the Trout in the Classroom at the hatchery. We decided to fish a little before the 1PM class and hoped to tie into a sizeable spawner. When we arrived at the river around 1100AM the water temp was 51 degrees below KR3 ... ... that's the good part. Visibility has dropped substantially. The water is dark brown and visibility is less than 2'. Folks who fished as late as Monday reported the Upper Kern was running clear and cold. I immediately knew I should fish bright flies. We had no bumps at all the first hour. We went above KR3 and tried again. I managed to cross (flows above 500 cfs) and landed 5 in an hour on a Cabelas red glow bug and had 4 LDR's. Other bright flies didn't get a take. Aggressive wading required. No diversion at Fairview yet to generate power for all of those AC units kicking on in SoCal? Go figure
Fishing Report - Brian Adams - 02/17/07
Saturday Feb. 17th was our outing to the Kings River. With one wrong turn, a tire blow out and a scenic tour thru the foot hills we finally made it to the parking area at Avocado Lake. There were 12 of our club members in attendance as well as the Fresno club so there was no shortage of people. As I said in the last newsletter this would be a learning experience as none of us had fished this area before. Thank you to the Fresno club for the tips on how to fish this river. We had a few hook ups but I think the only fish landed was a very nice rainbow around 6 or 7 lbs by Teresa. A few of us got to witness this and photograph the fish and figure out we need a bigger net. The Fresno club has been catching fish to 30 inches using tippet down to 3x and still breaking these pigs off. The river is really nice because rocks and boulders have been placed through out it for structure but I recommend fishing this mid week because of the crowds on the week ends.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 01/28/07
Thirty members of the Kern River Fly Fishers ventured up to the Lower Owens for the weekend before the Super Bowl to hook into feisty wild browns. This is a great spot to fish while we wait for the "fished out?" Kern to be re-supplied with rainbows, hopefully before the spring runoff. The weather was gorgeous Thursday through Saturday with sunny 65-degree afternoons. While baetis were hatching everywhere all day the mid-day sipping fest that usually pervades the lunch hour really never occurred this trip. However around 4:30 pm daily fish rose for a dry fly treat to wrap up the day. Deep nymphing tiny baetis imitations proved to be the best technique, which allowed one of our lucky members to take 26 browns on Friday. Fishing pressure was moderate and has been greater in February. Just a great time to experience one of the most picturesque fly fishing venues in California. In addition to the great fishing we had a grand time feasting on fine dining Friday and Saturday night while we reminisced over the day's quarries and compared notes on what flies worked, when the fish feasted, how deep, and tried to pry out where those honey holes were found. We all learn more every time we go.
Remember that the New Zealand mud snails are prevalent in all the waters in this areas and the surest way to eradicate them from your waders is to put your waders in the freezer for 24 hours (they can survive a month out of water on your waders and boots). We don't want to introduce these buggers to our beloved Kern or the Bakersfield lakes. A big thanks goes out to John Kidd (The Lower Owens Master) for organizing this outing and providing a ton of fishing/tying demonstration and advice to our group. We couldn't have half the fun and learning without your contributions. I'm already thinking about next year when we will also have a chance to fish Hot Creek on the same trip, as it will become a year 'round fishery soon. Enjoy some of the photo memories I captured on the club's most popular fun fish fest.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 11/21/06
The low flow section on the Upper Kern remains very low at just 50 cfs and easy to wade, however, it has not been stocked consistently but has received a lot of fishing pressure because of the attraction of the occasional large fish being caught and posted on popular web sites with heavy traffic. The number of fish taken has dropped significantly but the river is lined with golden splendor and is warm and sunny when it's cold and clammy down here. No trophy trout have been planted since September but some have survived the heavy worm and powerbait harvesting ;-) Perhaps some large fish have moved up from Lake Isabella below Kernville as well? This week local lakes Truxtun, Ming, and Hart Park will have trout planted.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 11/14/06
Got some time freed up and went fishing on the upper Tuesday. I decided to try some new water again and worked great the first hour landed 7 up to 14" and 4 of those on dries. The next 2 hours were slow and I netted 3 more. Had a chance at another half dozen. Few fished spooked out of holding water while wading. No stocking above KR3 now for 3 weeks. Water temp was 53 degrees at 11 AM. Almost every fish I landed went airborne. Last week I don't think a single hooked fish jumped? Weird. Very breezy and casting was difficult for much of the 3 hours I fished. I saw quite a few baiters and spin fisherman for a Tuesday. Several camped out at Hospital Flat so I completely by passed that area. From what others have told me it has been fished hard the last 2 weeks. Weather was great and I managed to net double digits in 3 hours, however, I covered more water than any trip this year. The reduced planting coupled with the higher than normal number of fishers (for November) probably has made things pretty tough. The Lower Owens can be very good in December and that may be a better spot to consider. Unfortunately at this time the Lower Owens is at 600 cfs so not very wadeable now. Drifting there may be productive?
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 11/07/06
Low flows section just 47 cfs today so decided to get up on the Upper Kern on the last warm day of the year. Landed 12 in about 3 hours. I had 3 nice trout between 11AM and 2 PM attracted to my foam golden stonefly but they wouldn't bite. So I tied on a #20 para adams with an olive body and they sucked it in each time. Because of the very low flows below Fairview I decided to fish a lot of new water for me. I had plenty of spots to choose because I think I only saw 5 different vehicles pulled over to hunt or fish today. After fishing for about 20 minutes and landing 3 healthy bows to 14" I came upon a deeper pool that looked real fishy. I was able to stay behind a large boulder and cast up stream to a riffle that dumped into the larger pool. My first cast was right on target. After a 6' drift the indicator fly hesitated and I set. No fish but I noticed a large tail deep below the riffle I was trying to exploit. I made a second cast that was too far left and quickly recasted to the sweet spot. I waited for a take and I got it but the hook didn't penetrate. The trout moved his head to the left slightly and I got a chance to see his head. It was a big fish and I had got him to take twice and I knew that I'd probably spooked him. I was bummed but wasn't going to give up yet. I persisted and made another cast right in the sweet spot again and focused on any minute twitch on the dry. The third strike was a charm! When I finally hooked him and he turned broad side and took off, my heart just stopped at the size of him. I thought for sure I'd have no chance to land him on my 9ft 4wt Avid fly rod and 4lb Vanish fluro tippet. I let him run. I think I held my breath the whole time and walked down stream 50 yards just holding on for dear life. It was a good thing the river flows were low. He made several runs up and down stream and did the head shake shuffle. After 10 minutes of tugging near the breaking point I got him in the net ..... ..... he barely fit. Snapped this picture and took a video (visit our photo page to see the video). He was thick and beautiful (25" and 6 lbs I'd guess); I just didn't want to let him go. I sat there helping him resuscitate calmly in my cradled hands and I thought of the movie scene in "A River Runs Through It" where Brad Pit is standing in the river holding a large trout and his brother said, " I stood there looking at my brother standing there and I realized I was watching perfection." I didn't think there could be a more beautiful moment in time holding a wonderful creature on a perfect autumn day standing in the sun on at clear river lined in golden splendor. Is this sappy or what? Just a beautiful day to be on the river. Water temp 52 degrees at 11:00 AM. I've spoken with the hatchery manager since and found out that no bonus trout have been planted since September. I've been lucky enough to land a dozen of these trophies from 17" - 25" since mid-August. I always go back to the same spot usually a week later to see if I can recatch them but have never hooked up big fish in the same place twice. These fish must move around a lot. I've hooked them all on my bh nymph. I would have thought many would have been harvested quickly. In the last month the total fish I land has dropped to 1/3 of the numbers in Sept/Aug but the number of fat boys has stayed roughly the same. Perhaps the herons are taking a lot of the footlongs but the fat boys are too big to swallow? Stocking on the upper has been every other week since September too. That's driving the number of fish available to land down quickly. While the river is cooling down fast the solitude of the thinning crowds still make the Upper Kern great place to spend the day even if you don't hook up.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/27/06
The flows on the low flow section below Fairview dam were dropped yesterday. Not sure how long the flows will be below 100 cfs but I decided to give it a try. Fish were much harder to find today. Many of the runs that usually hold fish did not have trout scurry away as I waded through them. The Upper Kern River was not planted this week. One of the highlights of the day, I was able to take 3 bows to 14" on dry flies(#12 para adams) that were sipping flies around noon. Air temp about 45 at 10 am and the water temp was 46 degrees. No takes the first 2 hours. I decided to fish an out of the way spot and landed two on bh nymph. Even though wading is much easier than last week, I took a slip and went in. Thanks goodness things warmed up later because the water is cold!!! We moved on to two other spots and the fish seemed to become more active after noon. I managed to land a dozen and was ready to call it quits after four hours when I decided to try one more run in a spot I haven't fished in 2 years. Got a hard set in some foamy water and the fish just head shaked and didn't move much. After about two minutes of staying in a small 10' circle he practically swam into the net but when I touched him it was like someone touched him with an electric cattle prod. The fish took off taking line into fast water and went down stream several pools. After lots of boulder hopping and 15 minutes of tugging I got to a point where he was either going into rapids or I was going to break him of. I decided to pull hard. Good thing I was using 4x flouro because the line held. I put my camera on a rock and set the timer and snapped this shot. 20" fatty -great finish to the day.
Fish were fewer this week (caught 9 fish/hr after noon last Friday) and the last guy was worth it. Before you go you can check the latest flows at the SoCal Flow phone on the North Fork of the Kern River at 1.877.537.6356 to get some idea if you want to take on the river if it is higher between Fairview and KR3.
Fishing Report - Rich Arner - 10/20/06
Decided to try the upper Kern on Friday even though the flows were 3 times higher on the low flow section. Fishing was much tougher. Nearly went swimming twice. My legs are shot from all of the power wading but the effort was worth it. The first two hours I only landed two footlongs. Tried a lot of different tactics. Fishing deeper, different nymphs, high stick euro-nymphing, extra weight. Didn't have a sinking line to strip streamers and that might work well too?Hard to find spots with drifts > 5'. Went with large #8 foam stonefly pattern(my #10 kept bobbing under and I may have missed a lot of strikes) and one single weighted bh nymph and finally started hooking up when I managed to wade to hard to reach spots. Landed 28 the last 3 hours. All on nymph and the foam fly got bumped a lot but was too big to fit in a footlong's mouth. One fatty a hair under 20" . Glad I swithced to my 5wt and 4x flourocarbon tippet. I'd have no chance at landing him with the 4wt and 4# flouro in the heavier current. Flows were increased 3X last Sunday. After talking to campers/fishers most of the areas stocked on Thursday were not fishing great. Most of the fish I caught were not chubby and I suspect were in the river at least 2 weeks since the last stocking or before. Water temp 49 degrees at 11AM. They will stop stocking the upper when river drops below 45 degrees and that may be sooner than later because water temp last week was 54 degrees. If the trend continues we could be below 45 degrees by the next scheduled stocking in 2 weeks. Bummer. Lower is flowing at a trickle. If they stock it fish will be concentrated there ;-) If you go to the upper aggresive wading with a staff and cleated wading boots are essential for success.
Fishing report - Rich Arner -10/18/06
I got a confirmation today from John Descary who fished the low flow section yesterday. Thanks for the update!!! He said the wading is much more difficult and he fell in twice and that the water is cold too!!! The SoCal Edison phone line says flows below Fairview are up to 288 cfs from just 94 cfs last week. If you go up and try to fish the areas that have been placid the last 2 months be prepared for a big change. Make sure you take your wading staff, wading belt, and I highly recommend studded felt soles on your wading boots. If you want to try something different where the wading is easy and the fish plentiful. The Kern River in town is drawn way down and carp fishing couldn't be easier. Carping isn't a activity I've taken up yet but in some spots it's like shooting fish in a barrel because the river is so low. I snapped a photo from the bike path Sunday of a large pod of them (largest pushing 30 inches).
Fishing report - Rich Arner -10/06/06
Went up today 10/12 on the upper Kern because rain in forecast for Friday. Flows below Fairview 94cfs. I went back to last week's 25" hog spot and saw two styrofoam worm cups emptied next to a tree that wasn't there last week. Held my breath and casted to the hog hole. No fat boy but landed 4 in 8 casts; one had a egg hook in the gullet with mono leader attached. I cut off all I could and released it. Fish were far apart and we had the water to ourselves. I was ready to call it a day around noon when I had a footlong rise to my dry and missed it. Then I recasted to the same spot and a big fish came from no where and grabbed the nymph. I can't believe I couldn't see the fish as it lay in a foot of water before it struck. This fish was strong and headed up river with me following behind. After five minutes of stumbling upstream I finally got close enough to try and net him. Net touched tail fin and off he went across the river then down to a lower pool I had to give him line. He stopped for 10 seconds and I put some pressure on him and he shook head hard. Then he took off down stream toward another pool! I went down after him and after a 50 yard run/stumble I caught up with him and he was exhausted (me too). He barely fit in the net width wise. My fishing buddy snapped this photo. He fished the same spot I hooked him in 30 minutes earlier. Needless to say he was bummed he hadn't hooked him. I wish he had, he's been very persistant and moved up the fly fishing learning curve fast. This fish had the reddest band I've seen and he was 20" and every bit of 4 lbs. We fished another spot below KR3 and I hooked an even bigger fish for 5 seconds but he rolled off. Two spinner fisherman witnessed it and immediately moved in on my spot and I didn't get a second chance. They agreed it was +5 lbs. I was ready to call it a day but we fished 30 more minutes and I landed some footlongs and a wild fish. 22 landed today and the river was not stocked this week. They will alternate lower and upper weekly stocking until water drops to 45 degrees and then only the lower and BFL lakes will be stocked. Not very many great days left up there I'm afraid. The rains may murk things up Friday too? Check the flows before you go. This season has been excellent and it's hard to imagine a better year. I've been lucky enough to land 8 trophy (17" - 25") fish in 9 trips.
Fishing report - Rich Arner -8/04/06
Saw that flows had dropped to 750 cfs on the upper kern so called the SoCal Edison number and found the flows were 170 cfs below Fairview Dam. I left the house at 7:30 AM and hoped that the traffic construction on 178 wouldn't be too much of a delay. Lucked out and only had one minor stop above Democrat where they were constructing some more turnouts. All the other construction near Rio Bravo took the day off. As I finally neared my favorite spots on the Upper Kern my stomach felt queasy because there were multiple vehicles at every turn out from below River Kern beyond Hospital Flat. The Kernville Park river stretch was lined with bait fisherman. I realized everyone was here to start their weekend early on Friday in anticipation of the improving conditions. Most of the campsites were near full too. So I started at the first spot that seemed uncrowded.
I went to the water and it was fairly clear with 8' visibility and tea stained. Wading was OK but has been better - a lot of deeper holes gouged out in areas I could cross with ease last year. I wade using waist waders primarily to keep me from wading deeper than I should ;-) It was hard to find spots to cross and I should have brought my wading staff in hind sight. I wanted to cross over to where the "take" fishers had not harvested for much of the summer. It proved to be a good strategy.
I used my usual set up with #10 foam stonefly pattern and the #12 bh nymph I tie 40" below the top fly and started hooking up in the slower pools in 4-6' deep areas. Water temp was 65 degrees at 9:30AM. Averaged over 12 fish/hr for four hours with about 1/5 taking the foam Cabelas stonefly. Takes were more subtle but many fish pulled hard up river. Landed a dozen fish in the 14" - 16" range and a handful of wild fish too. Most 11-13 inches and chubby. No skinny fish all day. I took a temp at noon and it was 70 degrees ;-(. I could tell the bows were starting to stress and I released quickly after reviving so no photos of the biggest fish that I caught after noon. Covered about ¾ mile stretch of river and had to return home at 1PM. My shoulder was sore from all of the mending and tugging and still beat up from a Maui surfing day with my kids earlier in the week.
Attached are pics of stomach pumpings earlier in the day from 9am - 11am. Most fish were taking midge larvae at about size 18. If this is any indication of what the fall is going to be like we're in for a great time. When I walked back to my car on the road all of the vehicles in the turnouts were gone by 1PM? I walked by 8 spin and bait fisherman as I waded up river and didn't see any one hook up? I had the river to myself at noon and the air temp was around 90. Not sure if fishers limited out or didn't have any luck. Didn't see a fly fisher all day?
Fishing Report - Steve S. - 07/01/06
Something unusual for people this year. People were actually able to fish the Kern River from Stockdale Highway all the way to the California Aquaduct. Because the flood gates were open to let the Kern River water flow into the Aquaduct, the stripper bass found new waters to swim. I heard some reports of people catching very nice size stripper in the Enos Lane (Hwy 43) area. A co-worker took his grandson fishing in that area last weekend and they caught around 30 fish in the river and water retension pond in just a couple of hours. All of the fish were on the smaller size. The river was still running decently then.
I went fishing this morning (7/1) for a few hours in that area and found that the flows of the river had been basically turned off sometime this week. The water is not flowing under Enos Lane anymore and is just ponding between the Aguaduct and the weir about 1/2 mile upstream from Enos Lane. There are still stripper in the ponded areas (I saw several jumping during a small hatch). Above the weir the river still has some moving water. Between the river and the pond I caught a blue gill, several baby stripper and a few small mouth bass.
River Update - 7/1/06
Earlier this week the Army Corp of Engineers turned control of the Lake Isabella Dam back over to local authorities. The peak of the snow melt has past and the lake is leveling off near their desired level. Because of the conerns of seapage at the Auxilary Dam, the Corp wants to keep the lake at 63% of capacity or lower while they study the problem and work towards a solution. Lake Isabella is still around 67% of capacity so the flows in the Lower Kern River, below the dam will remain high for a little while longer. Peak flows were kept at 4500-4900 cfs for several weeks during the peak snow melt time period. The flow on the lower river has been dropped to around 2900 cfs as of today.
As we learn more about the situation with the dam or the flows on the river, we will post the information here.
Highway 178 Update - 06/01/06
Cal-Trans has added some pavement and done some lane adjustments so that there is two way traffic around the damage in the highway near the RichBar area. The lower river is still flowing in the 4500cfs range and will for several weeks to come. The lane diversion could be long term until the Army Corp of Engineers have been able to drop the Lake level down to a point they can then lower the river flow. They Highway could be closed entirely if further damage occurs. Monitor road conditions at the California Department of Transportation's website at http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/sr178 .
For information on the ongoing situation with the Lake Isabella Dam, visit the Army Corp of Engineers' Lake Isabella Dam Home Page - http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/organizations/cespk-pao/lakeisabelladam/
If we learn more, we will post something here.
Highway 178 Update - 5/11/06
Due to the high volume of water being release from Lake Isabella (4500 cfs as of Wednesday), road damage has started to occur along Highway 178 in the Kern River Canyon. The highway has been put down to one lane in the area of Call Box #2. The lane closure could be long term until the Army Corp of Engineers have been able to drop the Lake level down to a point they can then lower the river flow. They Highway could be closed entirely if further damage occurs. Monitor road conditions at the California Department of Transportation's website at http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/sr178 . For pictures of the damage, visit some of the local news websites for a link.
For information on the ongoing situation with the Lake Isabella Dam, visit the Army Corp of Engineers' Lake Isabella Dam Home Page - http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/organizations/cespk-pao/lakeisabelladam/
If we learn more, we will post something here.
Fishing Report by Rich Arner - 4/6/06
Fished the Lower Kern yesterday for 3 hours after a Trout in the Classroom presentation with Don H and Larry M from the club. I landed 4 on bright streamers and a day glo orange egg pattern(red didn't work). My buds were skunked Larry M was using a KE which should have worked because I think the fish were keying on those fluorescent powerbait yellows/green/pink colors. Less than 2' visibility so naturally colored flies probably can't be seen? They didn't get me any strikes. No surface activity at all and few bugs flying around. There were few people fishing the lower so we could go where we wanted;-) . Even with the fresh stocking this week on the Upper Kern it wasn't enough to lure me up to try the Upper Kern which is running at +2,000 cfs. Bet the rafters are happy.
Fishing Report by Rich Arner - 3/31/06
John T and I headed up the 178 to support the Trout in the Classroom project Friday. The flows had settled in at about 1200 cfs on the Upper Kern and there was drizzle all the way up the canyon. We weren't exactly prepped for a great fishing day too. We left early enough to get an hour in before meeting the Arvin High School biology class. We decided to try the Steelhead run for about an hour and as luck would have it the rain ceased when we pulled up and we were the only guys there??? When we got to the river we knew why. It was flowing very strongly and we couldn't wade out very far making it impossible to cast to the areas where fish typically hold. I did manage to have a footlong take my foam stonefly fly on about the fifth cast. John T hooked up 4 with an PKE imitation as he was picking up on the swing from his drifts. I tried horsing an olive bh wooly bugger through the fast moving water and almost could cast it far enough with my 6wt rod and 7 wt sinking line into the holding water. I didn't produce a strike after about a half hour. Tried some pink and red egg patterns. Started fishing the arnerd nymph again and picked up another foot long in fairly shallow and slow moving water and got some more strikes. The water clarity has dropped significantly and is less than 4' when the sun pokes through. We had to leave at 10AM to meet the biology class and took a water temp which was 45 degrees.
Spent real quality time with some great kids who weren't skipping school to protest ;-) Hope we had a chance to potentially bring some kids over from the Darkside (bait and take) too. They had some great questions and got a kick out of casting.
After noon we decided to try above KR3 where the flow might be more wadeable. Was very surprised at how many cars were pulled over at the turnouts given the conditions. We settled in at a spot that didn't appear to be fished. The first glance at the river was not encouraging it probably is the highest flow I've tried to fish on the Upper Kern but the water appeared to be slightly clearer. I managed to find a way to wade across (not recommended) and John took the road side. We had just under two hours to fish because I had another swim meet to attend (glad I'm not the one swimming brrrrrrr). I managed to land 4 on the arnerd nymph and one huge attack on the stonefly. Missed 6 others. Saw very few bugs in the air all day. John T worked his nymph rig for over an hour without results then started working a BH green flashed WB netting about five before I had to go - sorry John. I'd guess the Upper Kern below Fairview is flowing at about 600 cfs. I managed to land 7 in just over 3 hours so the 18 month double digit string is broken :-( but I think John T. may have kept his double digit string going. The lower looked very low and last check it was around 400cfs. It may be the better place to be but another pineapple express is on the way and soon they are going to have to make room for the impending snow melt in Isabella I'd guess.
Fishing Report by Rich Arner - 3/22/06
Had an old work buddy call me last night and he said he took a weeks vacation. He did his penitence standing in line with the kids at Disneyland the last 2 days and had a day free to fish. Glad he called. We left about 8:45 AM and got on river about 10AM. We decided to try for the spawning pigs at Guy/TroutHunter's spot. Should have guessed there would be 3 guys on the water when we got there. Hooked up on the 3rd cast (arnerd nymph) then nada. The other guys had been there an hour and landed 2 foot longs. Another fly fisher showed up and 3 more bait guys arrived at the best fish holding area so we decided to move on away from the gathering crowds. Got to next spot above KR3 and found a pod of fish. Landed a fat 18" (biggest YTD) in about the first 15 casts then we landed 20 fish in about an hour. Water temp 50 degrees at noon. Almost all fish were hard to land. We missed at least a dozen more. Then after hooking every fish in the pool things quieted down. We moved up river at stop #3 expecting another stocked spot but no hookups in 45 minutes. I fell in knee deep water and had a quart of water down my waders. Brrrrrr. Digital camera stayed nice and dry in Ziploc (Whew!!!!!!) but 2-way radio wet but still works ;-). Moved up river to spot #4 and fishing picked up again. Covered lots of water and about 1PM Landed another fat 16" horse everything on the arnerd nymph at that point. Then at 1:30PM they started taking the stonefly aggressively. Fished until I started shivering so we quit before 2PM. I landed 22 and we probably landed of 30 between us in <3 hours above KR3. Water was very clear and wadeable again below Fairview. Wading a little tough below KR3 but very clear. Looks like great fishing before the melt and more stocking to come up river ;-) Enjoy the pics.
Fishing Report by Rich Arner - 3/16/06
Wasn't sure what to expect on the Kern today given the rains and the lack of quality data on Kern flows and stocking. Wanted to give the Lower a try because that's where all the stocking and catching has been posted. Didn't look great meandering up the canyon because there were cars/pickups parked at turnouts, Upper Richbar, Delonega and Borel. folk no doubt taking advantage of the great weather before the next storm and flows below 300 cfs. Most stocking and not much reported has been on the lower the last 2 months too. Wanted to try Black Gulch but road was closed so pondered for 10 minutes and decided to head up. Made up my mind to try lots of spots from Kernville and up river. Didn't think catching would be great. Stopped at HQ just to fish the routinely stocked riffle to see if there were any holdovers and get some sense as to how much recently stocked trout may be in the river above Kernville. The water was low, I'd say 100 cfs, clear with +7 feet visibility, and very wadeable. That was very encouraging I left the wading staff in the car the rest of the day. Not a hit in 10 casts so I knew that the cupboard was bare at the HQ stackable riffle. Water temp 43 degrees. "Not too bad", I thought. Decided from that point on to concentrate on areas removed from the normal stocking spots. Those areas probably fished until the last "soon to be freezer burned trout" was harvested.
Moved up river and landed 2 perfect trout, one 11 incher had to be wild it was colorful and had some orange spots on its belly. Only after 20 casts and just before 10 AM. Then nada for 30 min so moved on. Covered another spot up further and no takes for 30 minutes and was resigned to have had the best fishing behind me. Replaced flies and tried different nymphs and egg patterns. Then just before noon insects started fluttering by me so went back to the old reliable rig with a golden foam #10 stonefly and the arnerd # 12 bh weighted nymph. Started hooking up and then they started hitting the dry?? Had eight by noon. Tried a stimulator and madamX but got several hits on #12 para-adams. Size #12 BWO and Caddis were coming off regularly.
Then the game warden showed up. I've never seen one on the Kern before. Glad to see there really is enforcement. I must have been the only guy fishing the Upper Kern today. He asked to check my license. Was a pleasant fellow hope he continues to be diligent in enforcing the regs ;-) Moved up river again to a stretch I've not tried in over a year and hooked up 2 in the first 10 casts. One was +14" and healthy, clean, but not fat. About 15 minutes later I had another 14" fish come from below and launch itself 2' in the air as he grabbed my foamy. I've not seen that aggressive a take since the spawning rainbow trout at Mammoth Pools reservoir were going ballistic 2 years ago April. About 10 minutes later I hooked another 13" trout that went aerial 7 times before I got him to the net. Check the temp before I had to quit at 1PM (daughter had swim meet) and it was 48 degrees. Cold fish do have energy!!! Kept my double digit streak intact for over 18 months ;-) by landing 12 pristine and one roughed up bow. Not bad for 3.5 hours. Three were definitely wild because of their color, spot pattern, and orange on the belly. I don't think I've caught that many wilds in the last 6 months. Hope the Upper Kern stays this clear and fishable because the next rain will be warmer and the melt may begin? Glad I took a chance on the Upper today. It was gorgeous up there and I had the place to myself.