Kern Family Health banner 25 yrs

• Gone Fishing

Summer means the anglers are coming out. That's insider talk for fishing, not a typo about a L.A. baseball team. And although we're talking about waters that are slightly calmer than the high seas, there are still plenty of places within the county where you can channel your inner Captain Quint and go after the finny foe of your choice.

With all apologies to Robert Shaw and Bruce the Shark, there's plenty of excitement to be had on Kern's lakes and streams. No matter what part of Kern you call home, there's a fishin' hole with your name on it within a reasonable drive.

From an easily accessible lake to a hike deep into backcountry, you can find just the spot. The smartest (or luckiest) anglers target their catch, so you first have to decide what you want to hook to help you determine where and how to "fish Kern County."--There's a marketing slogan in there somewhere.

What do writers have in common with catfish? Most people consider both to be bottom dwellers.
Talk of the fishing in Kern usually starts with our namesake river. The Mighty Kern above Isabella Lake north to the Johnsondale Bridge is open to fishing all year. The area above the bridge is open from the last Saturday in April through mid-November.

With many 20-pound catfish pulled from Isabella Lake, it's no wonder cats are one of the lake's most sought-after prizes. Since the big cats stay away from shore, some anglers attack from boats in areas like French Gulch, Piney Point, South Fork Channel and off Engineer's Point.

Bass enthusiasts usually prefer fishing the lake from boats rather than from shore, working the shoreline and drawing lures into deeper water. Favorite spots with those all-important drop-offs include Rocky Point and the south fork near Freear Point. French Gulch offers both deep water and protection from the wind, making float tubing a snap and catching bass in excess of 10 pounds possible.

The Department of Fish and Game also plants Isabella Lake with 10 to 13-inch trout, and those who avoid the hook for a season or two can weigh in at three to five pounds. For these trophy fish, head to the Auxiliary Dam and Boulder Gulch areas and the deeper waters near the Main Dam.

The Kern River Valley isn't the only place to fish. The mountain communities of southwestern Kern can be more of a challenge, but they're worth it. You'll want to hit these back country streams before the middle of August when they tend to dry up. Some are best accessed by an OHV, dirt bike or mountain bike. Part of the adventure is in the getting there, but the ultimate reward is the abundance of fish that test your ability with a rod and reel.

You'll want to hit these back country streams before the middle of August when they tend to dry up.
Grapevine Creek near the Grapevine was once the home of a trout farm. Holdouts still remain, and these trout promise the ultimate trophy for the avid angler. For the best flow and coldest water in the area, venture to San Emigdio Creek near the entrance to Pine Mountain Club. Like nearby Woodland Creek, there are small native trout in the stream.

Frazier Mountain Park offers Cuddy Creek Pond for the little anglers. Stocked frequently by the DFG, this is a great place for kids to learn. The Fiesta Days Fishing Derby each August is the best time to introduce young anglers to the rewards of trout fishing.

For largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish, head downhill and downstream from the Pine Mountain Golf Course to Pine Mountain Club Pond. If big stocked trout are what you're looking for, go to county-owned Buena Vista Lake near Taft. The Mt. Lassen hatchery stocks these lakes with beauties in the spring.
Remember to invite me to the fish fry.

To find out about even more things to do in Kern County, visit the Board of Trade's web site at
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