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Kern River Fishing Report - Kern River / Lake Isabella/ Lake Crowley 7-7-23

Cool Mountain Temps and Lightning Fast Dry Fly Action Help Beat The Valley Heat!

sequoia creeks
Lightning fast grabs using dry flies such as stimulators and parachute adams in clear mountain creeks make the hours seem like minutes while walking and steathily approaching long stretches of fishy water.

Isabella Lake: The lake levels continued to rise to 88.5% capacity providing almost unlimited options for fishing. Check daily wind forecasts before launching any vessels for maximum safety! Launching a vessel is difficult in the north arm, behind the airport, with all of the driftwood from runoff. If using a kayak or tube launch from other areas of the lake. Shoreline and launch access can be found around the cemetary, Boulder Gulch, Wofford Heights, Paradise Cove and Kissack Bay. Good flats to target are Camp 9, South Fork Wilderness Area, Kissack and Hanning.

Carp: Hanning Flat, Kissack Bay and the South Fork Wilderness area on the southeast side of the lake have been best for targeting carp. The Chartreuse Isabella Carp Worm has been the seasons winner, but Red Worms and Guy's Orange Carpilicious are always a good bet too. We haven't seen any fish eating grasshoppers yet, but the hoppers are now emerging in masses, so be prepared with some Streambank Hoppers that look just like our Isabella hoppers!! Ants are always a good option for cloopers in the summer too.

Largemouth Bass: First light has the lake bass breaking the surface, eating shad, frogs, damselflies and midges in 10-20ft of water. Some days are better than others as the moon and barometer will affect their mood. Look for good action with this week's full moon!! More fish have been holding in deeper water of 10-12ft in those trees and along rocky ledges. Chartreuse seemed to be the best color for bass too. Balanced minnows and leeches are good under the bobber. For a large profile go with the Dabloons and Sea Habits. Shad and Olive/Tan Game Changers (finesse, mini finesse and micro) and Clouser Deep Minnows are great for imitating the threadfin shad. Whitlocks Swimming Minnow is another great option with a floating or sink tip line if fish are active!!

Catfish: Catfishing is finally cooling off, but a few are still being caught early and late in shallower water. Target areas like Camp 9, Browns Cove and Hanning Flat. Hang balanced minnows from a bobber or cast and retrieve to get bites. Red/White and Black/White, Chartreuse/White Clouser Minnows, Beldar Skunk Buggers, Rubberleg Gamechangers and Black Bugger Changers are good kitty flies.

Trout: Some holdover trout that are left after the lake derby are being caught in French Gulch and Paradise Cove. Use Clouser Minnows, Wooly Buggers and Game Changers on a sink tip line to target trout.

carp fly fishing
Streambank hoppers and ant patterns can be used for carp that are clooping when the natural insects start appearing around Isabella Lake.

Isabella Lake Tips: Go early if targeting largemouth bass!! Once the sun hits the water, activity slows dramatically.

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Kern River Fishing Report

Upper Kern River - High Flows

Upper Kern River: Just as we expected with the 100° heat in the Kern Valley, the river had one more small spike in flows. According to NOAA predictions, flows should hover around 8,000cfs through the week. The next minor cooling spell should bring a sharp drop in flows and we will finally see some cleaner water. Please continue to use extreme caution if recreating near the river!

Kern River Tips: The South Fork is still high, running about 500cfs, but more than a handful of creeks upriver are finally fishable.


California Creekin'

Kern River Fly Shop Guided Trips

Creeks: The backcountry creeks have been amazing!! Cooler temps, active trout, and amazing wildflower blooms have been hard to beat! With warmer temps it has been good to great fishing all day long. Please don't mistake the good to great conditions for easy fishing. Stealthy approaches and quality presentations are still needed to fool these wary fish. Dries: Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulators and Para Adams #12-18. On freestones, sometimes a little weight and a beadhead nymph will increase chances. Slim Shiny Soft Hackle, Peacock Frenchies and Walts Worms are all good. Fish are also rising to the occasional large dry, so we've been hanging a dropper below a Cicadacator for explosive grabs. The South Fork is hovering around 500cfs and dirty. South Fork feeder creeks with golden trout are fishing excellent too!! Sherman Pass and Lloyd Meadow Roads are now open. Use caution when driving these roads, there is still an abundance of downed trees and debris in certain areas.

sequoia creeks
Erec DeVost spent time with guide Rob Buhler fishing for quick striking fish during a Sequoia Creeks trip.

sequoia creeks
Erec DeVost walks through a wild flower carpeted trail while on a guided trip with Rob Buhler. Part of the adventure is the natural splendor that unexpectedly meets you on a fishing adventure in the mountains.

Kern River Wild Trout Section and Upstream

The Upper Kern River Wild Trout Section:

The stairs at the Johnsondale Bridge have been repaired. No need to use the old mine trail north of the parking lot!

Kern River Flows: 7767cfs

Kern River Water temp: 50 degrees


Lower Kern River -

Lower Kern River is blown out!

Flows: 5512cfs

The Lower Kern is blown out at this time! The river is brown and flowing high!

Lower Kern Flows outside the Kern Canyon

Crowley Lake
Rob Buhler has a quick photo taken before releasing a nice rainbow on Crowley Lake.

Crowley Lake: We experienced our first tough week of fishing for the season with very light hatches and fish spread throughout the lake. Even with tougher conditions, trophy trout are still coming to the boat on each trip. The best concentrations of active trout have been in 18-30ft. of water at Sandy Point, The Willows and Hilton Bays. Look for trout to be moving into the creek channels as lake temps rise. Mcgee, Hilton, Crooked and the North Arm will all be likely comfort zones through early summer. You will need a variety of size and color midge flies to cover both larvae and pupa stages to be most successful. Olive and Black(Copper Tiger and Zebra) variations were best this week. If you are not getting bit try going with smaller size #18-20 midges during the hatch. Wooly Buggers, Beldar Buggers, leeches and Game Changers will get you bit if trolling in a tube. Our 18ft center console provides the perfect platform to fish the lake from

crowley lake
A picture perfect brown in hand, admired and returned back into Crowley Lake.

Kern River and Lake Isabella fishing report by guide, Rob Buhler


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