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Southern CA Freshwater

Kernville: Kern River trout fishing still consistent

BY MIKE STEVENS/WON Staff WriterPublished: Feb 27, 2020

KERNVILLE — The Upper Kern River has featured near-optimal fishing conditions pretty consistently for weeks, and much of the “credit” for that goes to the very dry winter that has had the same result on the year-round fishing in the Eastern Sierra. While a healthy snowpack is very important for the big picture, trout anglers are sure enjoying the winter fishing.

ONE OF SEVERAL quality rainbows Guy Jeans took out of the Upper Kern River while deep-drifting a size 24 baetis nymph.

Fly fishers in the working around Kernville are using tiny flies to connect to some of the hatchery rainbows being sprinkled throughout the stretch along with a few wild rainbows. Flows have only really been fluctuating between 360 to 420 cfs which allows resident rainbows to get comfy and feed in a patternable manner.

“Small bugs are getting the job done, like Zebra Midges, WD40s, Blue-Winged-Olives and Kern Kandy around town,” said Guy Jeans of Kern River Fly Fishing in Kernville. “The Upper Kern near the shop keeps producing hatchery fish thanks to recent plants, and bigger fish are starting to show at various spots up and down the 20 Mile Section. You won’t get big numbers of fish, but you should catch a few.”

Jeans personally got in on the bigger-trout-on-micro-bugs deal on a couple outings that produced multiple larger (in Kern River terms) rainbows on a size 24 baetis nymph drifted through a deep run.

Below Lake Isabella in the Lower Kern River, flows are about the same but the water is a good 10 to 12 degrees warmer than the upper river. Down here, long rodders are drifting double-nymph rigs under an indicator with a split shot at the bottom of the setup. That rig, drifted through pocket water and deeper holes is what’s working, and there is the occasional streamer fish mixing in.

heresanothersolidHERE’S ANOTHER SOLID Kern River rainbow that took a tiny fly flung by Guy Jeans.

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