Fly Fishing the Kern River upstream of Johnsondale Bridge 2009



From Kernville

From Kernville, drive along Sierra Way for 20 miles to Johnsondale Bridge. Parking is available just across the bridge on the north side. From the parking lot, walk over the footbridge to the south side of the river and the start of the trail.

Some Noteworthy Spots above Kernville on the way...

  • Dry Meadow Creek special regulation section
  • Salmon Creek
  • Chico Flat

Kern River - Johnsondale Bridge to Rincon Trailhead

Fly fishing upstream of Johnsondale Bridge on the Kern River

Trail 33E030 along the Kern River runs along the middle portion of the canyon making access to the first mile or so of water not practical. You'll want to hike for about 30 minutes or so before the trail descends near the river.

This section of the Kern River offers beautiful native rainbows

This time of year, the yellow sallies were the prominent hatch on the Kern here.The rainbow pictured above fell for a size 16 Kern Emerger. The pattern generally covers a small emerging stonefly nymph. Two qualities of yellow sallies: they are small, and they emerge from the water (i.e., don't crawl to the shore).

Fishing upstream of Johnsondale Bridge on the Kern River

The section of the Kern River above Johnsondale contains an excellent number of pools and pocket water. Indictor nymphing a weighted pair of stonefly nymphs through this water produced hook ups throughout the day.

Fly fishing from the Kern River trail gives access to native rainbow trout

Notice the spotting of this rainbow - especially below the lateral line compared to the rainbow trout above. This body spotting is highly variable among this population of rainbow in the Kern. From what I've read, the Kern River rainbows (gilberti) display greater spotting. The lack of spots below the lateral line is a dominant trait of the California goldens.

Fly fishing upstream of Johnsondale Bridge on the Kern River