Little Kern River

Online Store


Fly Box


Tackle Box


Fly Swaps

Click for Springville, California Forecast
Little Kern River

Suggested Flies for Little Kern River area:
Southern Sierra Hatch Selection

Other Local Favorites:

Dry Flies:
Stimulator #14-16
Elk Hair Caddis #14-16
Royal Wulff #14-16
Henrys Fork Hopper #10
Perfect Ant #18

Nymph Flies:
Kern Emerger #8-16
Prince Nymph #16-20
Black Rubberlegs #6-8
Brook's Golden Stonefly Nymph #10
Little Yellow Stonefly Nymph #10
Copper John's #18-20
Wooly Buggers, Olive or Black #8-10

Directions: From Highway 99 near Bakersfield, take Highway 178 east for 45 miles to Lake Isabella. Then drive 11 miles north on Highway 155 to Kernville and proceed on to Mountain 99. About 24 miles outside of Kernville turn at the fork to the right on Forest Road 22S82 (Lloyd Meadows Road). There will be a sign for Camp Whitsett and Lower Peppermint Camp. Continue about 21 miles to the Jerkey Meadow trailhead at the end of the road.
Another way is from Porterville where you go 8 miles to the Tule River Ranger Station in Springville. Drive 27 miles to Quaking Aspen Camp where California 190 becomes County Road M107 (Western Divide Highway). Go 4 miles to Forest Road 22S82 and continue 19 miles to the end of the road at Jerkey Meadow Trailhead.
You can also get access to Lewis Camp Trailhead by taking Forest Road 21S50 to the north. Turn right onto Forest Road 20S79 and proceed for one mile, then keep to the right where you will pass the Golden Trout Pack Station just before the trailhead.

Notes:Little Kern Bridge
The upper reaches of Little Kern River is the home to the Little Kern Golden. Due to introductions of Browns, Brookies, and Rainbows into this watershed, the Little Kern Golden was on the edge of extinction with less than 5,000 in existance within 11 miles of stream above the confluence of Rifle Creek.Starting in 1975, DFG began a concerted effort to barricade any fish from entering this watershed above Rifle Creek and utilized a program to eradicate the introduced fish below the barrier. A barrier was built about one mile below Trout Meadows Creek to establish a critical habitat for the Little Kern Golden. Genetically-pure strains Little Kern Golden were replanted into the watershed above Trout Meadows Creek. Today, the Little Kern Goldens inhabit about 80 miles of stream. Below Trout Measows Creek, the Little Kern River has a good population of Kern River Rainbows. There continue to be residual populations of both rainbows and browns within the watershed below Rifle Creek. DFG has built a total of 8 barriers within the watershed and will continue an eradication program of non-native species. A major concern is the presence of Rainbows which could cross-breed with the Goldens.

From the Lewis Camp trailhead (Elevation 7600 feet), you can reach the Little Kern directly on the Lewis Camp/Jordan Trail to the bridge crossing ( Elevation 5600 feet) which is 4.5 miles distance. This is one of two footbridges which span the Little Kern River. Tributaries include:

Fish Creek : Elevation: 5800 feet. Can be reached from the Jordan Trail at two crossings. From the confluence of the Lttle Kern River, there is about 2 miles of stream that can be fished with about a 500 foot gain. to the other trail. The total loop hike would be about 10 miles back to Lewis Camp Trailhead. Consists of Littler Kern Goldens.

Clicks Creek : Elevation 6022 feet. Consists of Little Kern Goldens. From the Lewis Camp trailhead, it is a 7.25 mile distance to Clicks Creek. The confluence is at Burnt Corral Meadows and there is about 1.8 miles of fishable upstream with a 400 foot gain.

Soda Spring Creek : Elevation 6,250 feet. Consists of Little Kern Goldens. From the Lewis Camp Trailhead, it is a 11.5 mile distance to Nelson's Cabin along Soda Spring Creek. There is about 3.5 miles of fishable upstream going up another 500 foot gain or you can fish about 1 mile of stream down to the confluence. The upper reaches of Soda Spring Creek was one of the last vestiges of pure-strain Little Kern Goldens found in 1965. The DFG used explosives at the mouth of Soda Spring Creek to prevent upstream migration of non-native fish.

The Jerkey Meadow Trail is a slightly closer trail to the footbridge over the Little Kern. It is a 4 mile distance but is much more difficult with a 1000 foot gain one has to make to get to Jerkey Meadow along the Golden Trout Wilderness border. Then it follows the same trail as that from Lewis Camp Trailhead. Once you get to the footbridge you can got two ways, one is the Jordan Trail to Kern Flat with access to the Kern River below Hells Hole. The other way is to take the Willow Meadows trail to the reaches of the Kern above Hole in the Ground.

The Upper Kern River within the Golden Trout Wilderness is designated as a "Wild and Scenic" river by the State of California. It has one of the few remaining native trout for California streams in the Kern River Rainbow. Much of it's genetic integrity has been protected by the natural barrier of a waterfall just above the confluence of Ninemile Creek, keeping the stocked Rainbows from below Johnsondale bridge from reaching these fish. The State has also designated a 45 mile portion of the Kern as one of 6 Heritage Trout Waters, which starts at the Forks of the Kern and ends at Tyndall Creek. Genetic testing has found that those Rainbows below the confluence of Durwood Creek have interbred with stockers. Kern River Rainbows are not the only trout to be found in the Heritage Trout waters. There are also some Browns and a small number of brookies.

Taking the Willow Meadows Trail, you can reach the following: Little Kern Lake

Little Kern Lake: Elevation 6200 feet. Consists of Kern River Rainbows and Browns. From Lewis Camp Trailhead, it is a 17 mile hike. The lake came about from a landslide that occurred during the 1800's, which dammed the Kern River. The lake has some steep dropoffs in which the trout cruise along the shoreline. Most of the rainbows are 8-10 inches but some of the browns can get up to 4 lbs.

Kern Lake: Elevation 6225 feet. Consists mostly of Kern River Rainbows and Browns with some Goldens and Brookies. It is about .8 miles past Little Kern Lake. At one time, prior to 1978, Kern Lake was used as a fish nursery for Kern River Rainbows with the spawn allowed to rear within the lake prior to being introduced to the river.

Fishing Maps Available

Covers the water between Forks of the Kern and Hole in the Ground. Shows camping areas, trails, and creeks. Special Features are the Hatch Chart, Nymph Rigging, Fishing Season and Regulations, and Stream Etiquette guidelines. Printed on Rite-in-the-Rain Paper that will allow you to write those special notes. Waterproof and Durable.

Upper Kern 5 , Forks of the Kern to Hole in the Ground

Upper Kern map 1 & 2

$12.95 pkg


Covers the water between Hole in the Ground and Kern Canyon Ranger Station. Shows camping areas, trails, and creeks. Special Features are the Hatch Chart, Nymphing Rigs, Fishing Season and Regulations, and Stream Etiquette guidelines. Printed on Rite-in-the-Rain Paper that will allow you to write those special notes. Waterproof and Durable.

Upper Kern 6 , Hole in the Ground to Kern Canyon Ranger Station

Upper Kern map 6

$12.95 pkg

Fish Reports: Southern Sierra Fishing Report

© 2014 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.

Valid HTML 4.0 Transitional

bridge steve willow meadow little kern bridge trout meadow