Lower Kern

fatbillybob

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I'm racing at Buttonwillow next week and staying at the Hilton in bakersfield. I think I'll take a drive toward the outflow of the Isabella and see what looks good along 178. Is there anything that presents itself as decent fishing between Isabella and Ming?
 

yikes

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In the past (4+ years ago), I'd randomly fished by the parking lots of the various day use / picnic areas along the highway - - I don't remember all the names, but you can tell when the road is close to alders.

As you can imagine, lots of mono dangling from trees and fouling your line in underwater structure, and a fair amount of trash when you're close to the parking areas. I had limited success, but to be honest, I wasn't inspired to put too much effort into it given that there were much prettier (less spoiled) locations above Isabella that were beckoning me.

Not trying to discourage you - - if you are passing through anyway, why not throw a fly along the way?
I've only caught trout, but I understand there are warm water fish up there as well.

Try calling the Kern River Fly Fishing Shop for more recent advice than mine.
 

darkshadow

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I've fished the Lower yeaaaars ago. When I first started heading that way, I thought that the lower portion was the same as the "20 mile section," so that gives you a good idea on how much I know about that lower area.

Good luck out there if you head to the water.
 

fatbillybob

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Yeah...I know it isn't ideal by any stretch. I'm in the area to race but I'm the guy who would fish in your swimming pool if you told me there were fish in it.
 

myt1

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In a week or so I was planning on hiking and fishing north of the Johnsonville Bridge.
Is this considered the Lower Kern?
Do you think this will be worthwhile?
 

darkshadow

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In a week or so I was planning on hiking and fishing north of the Johnsonville Bridge.
Is this considered the Lower Kern?
Do you think this will be worthwhile?
That area is the "Wild Trout" Section, above the "20 Mile Section" which I believe they refer to as the "Upper Kern."

I've had good days down there, but the bite seems to have a short life span, only when the sun is hitting that canyon. And be prepared to scale down in flies, and use long leaders, as the water is running low and clear this time of year.

"Worthwhile" is relative. Fish still have to eat, but aren't going to be as active as they are during other parts of the year. But that beauty of that hike along the "River Trail" is very easy on the eyes, and soon catching fish becomes secondary. I would recommend making the trek to the Teacup Falls and starting to fish upstream from there.
 

yikes

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Or to state it another way, ascending from downstream to upstream:
Lower Kern = from Hwy 178 up to Lake Isabella - a tailwater.
Upper Kern, aka "20 Mile Section" = upstream above Lake Isabella (more specifically, downtown Kernville) and paralleling Mountain Hwy. 99 to Johnsondale Bridge.
Wild Trout Section = the hiking trail on the east side of the river, upstream of Johnsondale Bridge.

And if you haven't seen the teacups before, they'll be on the opposite side of the river from the trail:

 
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myt1

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Wow, that is crazy beautiful.
Fishing the Kern on my upcoming trip just went from a maybe to a definite must do.

About how long of a hike is it from Johnsonville Bridge to the teacups.
Thanks so much.
 

yikes

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myt1, it's a little over 2.6 miles one way.
I heard that in December, the parking lot at Johnsondale bridge was shut down for Covid lockdown, so call Kern River Fly shop to check on conditins before you invest a day's drive up there.
 

FlyTierant

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The Kern River Fly Shop is a great place and they’re incredibly helpful.

Wow, that is crazy beautiful.
Fishing the Kern on my upcoming trip just went from a maybe to a definite must do.

About how long of a hike is it from Johnsonville Bridge to the teacups.
Thanks so much.
 

myt1

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Thanks for the heads-up.
I couldn’t get through to the fly shop, but according to Alltrails on the internet, the trail is closed.
I guess it will have to wait until another time.
Thanks for the help.
 

yikes

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Went up yesterday for a short daytrip. Johnsondale is open for hiking. The regular pit toilets are locked up, but there a a couple of porta-pottys.
The various restaurants and general stores are open along Mtn 99, and the Brewery has outdoor dining.
The local businesses seem excited about things starting to open up again. Gas prices in Kernville are about 40 cents cheaper than LA.

It rained on Friday night, thus the water was a little cloudy and 43F, air temps in the high 40s-low 50s. Lots of wind after the storm cleared, making long casts difficult. Fishing was slow, but I think it will improve as things warm up.

The lower Kern has lush green hills - -stunning scenery on the drive up - -but I didn't have time to fish it.
 
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