California Kernville: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers
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10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others

California Kernville: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers
Kennedy Meadows

The south fork of the Kern River runs through Kennedy Meadows.

The murky brown water that rushes past this 6,100-foot-elevation campground along the south fork of the Kern is so cold that ice spears cling to the reeds and branches that reach into the current.

Word has it the fishing is good here because the California Department of Fish and Game dumps buckets of rainbow and brown trout in these pools from March through November. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Kennedy Meadows

Ice forms on reeds along the South Fork of the Kern River at Kennedy Meadows.

From U.S. 395, just north of the Inyo County line, take Ninemile Canyon Road west for about 25 miles and follow the signs to Kennedy Meadows.

The campground has 38 sites, bathrooms and running water. Overnight fee: $5. A small general store operates on the road just outside the campground. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others
Riverkern Beach

For more than 20 miles, a two-lane road that starts as Sierra Way then becomes Mountain Route 99 shimmies along the banks of the Kern River from Lake Isabella to Johnsondale Bridge. The road is bordered by dozens of fishing spots that anglers can reach without bushwhacking through shrubs or climbing over boulders.

Among the best is Riverkern Beach, a flat, grassy picnic area about three miles north of Kernville. Riverkern Beach made a Times reporter’s list of favorite fishing sites because of its deep, languid water and the gnarled oak that shades the eastern bank in the morning. It also helps that it’s a stocking spot for the California Department of Fish and Game.

From Kernville, follow Sierra Way about three miles north of Kernville and look for a sign at a clearing by the river. (Hugo Martin / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Whitewater River Hike

Jim Fisher, of Yorba Linda, hikes to a fishing spot on the Kern.

Park next to Johnsondale Bridge and climb down the yellow staircase that leads to a four-mile trail along the upper Kern where the really serious anglers pursue wild trout. At places, the path narrows, bounds over rocks and climbs over downed trees.

On the trail, don’t expect bathrooms or running water, but you’ll find countless brilliant fishing spots, many in the shade of willows and oaks. About a mile north of the bridge, Times reporter Hugo Martín found a giant granite outcropping that jutted into the river like a stone dagger. He sat on the dagger’s point, his feet hanging over the edge and cast a baited line into the swirling pool of emerald green.

From Lake Isabella, follow Sierra Way until it becomes Mountain Route 99, about 22 miles north to Johnsondale Bridge. There is a bathroom at the parking lot. Cross to the staircase and follow the trail on the east side of the river. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Whitewater River Hike

From Lake Isabella, follow Sierra Way until it becomes Mountain Route 99, about 22 miles north to Johnsondale Bridge. There is a bathroom at the parking lot. Cross to the staircase and follow the trail on the east side of the river.

Jim Fisher of Yorba Linda walks along the rocky Whitewater River Hike. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Paradise Cove

A catch of fish at Paradise Cove along Lake Isabella

The only things moving on the flat, calm waters of Lake Isabella are the red-eyed Western grebes, hunting carp and other small fish off the shores of Paradise Cove. Reporter Martín takes this as a sign of bigger fish. It’s midmorning, and several other anglers have already staked out the bare, rocky shores of the cove. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California:10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Paradise Cove

Rachel Rowlatt, 89, rests while friend Vi Hagstrom checks on their fishing rods at Paradise Cove.

From Lake Isabella’s dam, follow California 178 east for two miles and look for the signs to Paradise Cove. Bathrooms and running water are available. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California:10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Lake Isabella

The lake has eight developed campgrounds with more than 800 family campsites and six group areas.

Click here for more information on the lake. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Lake Isabella

Aside from fishing at selected spots, boating and swimming are popular activities at the lake. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others
Democrat Picnic Area

Several locals in the town of Lake Isabella suggested that reporter Martín check out natural hot springs about 12 miles south of the lake, along the banks of the Kern.

The banks here are flat, the emerald green water is deep and the view of rolling hills, dappled with willow and oaks on the opposite shore, is gorgeous. The screech of a red-tailed hawk breaks the silence.

Martín spots an angler in a bucket hat who says he hooked a monster trout here a day earlier. The angler also tells him he knows the directions to the hard-to-find hot springs. Never mind, Martín says as he casts a line upstream; he’ll unwind right here.

From Lake Isabella, follow California 178 south about 12 miles toward Bakersfield and look for signs for the campground on the right. Water, bathrooms and barbecues are available. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others
Fairview Campground

Dylan Taylor, 9, fishes on the Kern River near the Fairview Campground.

Six campgrounds dot the banks of the upper Kern from Kernville to Johnsondale Bridge, but Fairview has to be the best. The campground, along Mountain Route 99, about 15 miles north of Kernville, is within walking distance to McNally’s Fairview Lodge, home to gut-buster meals, including a 40-ounce Porterhouse steak.

Martín recommends campsites Nos. 20 through 22, where cottonwood and pine trees provide shade. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Fairview Campground

Scott Taylor plays the guitar at Fairview Campground while his daughter Melissa and friend Jaden Faulk listen.

These sites are also close to a footbridge that crosses the river, linking to several great hiking trails, including Whiskey Flat trail that leads all the way to Kernville.

From Kernville, drive north about 15 miles on Sierra Way, which becomes Mountain Route 99, and look for the campground on your left. The grounds have bathrooms, running water and fire rings. Fees: $17 per night; $19 for holiday weekends. For reservations, call (877) 444-6777. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Cannell Trail

The 12-mile Cannell Trail begins at the bottom of a hill that is awash in purple owl’s clove, white gilia and lavender lupine. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Cannell Trail

The colors along this trail are so vivid that the hill looks like an Impressionist painting -- and the flowers should be blooming for the next few weeks. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Cannell Trail

From Kernville, follow Sierra Way north for about two miles and look for horse stables on your right. Nearby, a sign and a gate mark the trail head for Cannell Trail. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Cannell Trail

The butterflies and bees can be thick along this lush trail. Who can blame them? The wildflowers are sweet in this area near Kernville. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Kern River Preserve

More than 250 species of birds call the preserve home, but the hike here starts at a 1.5-mile nature trail. Animated red-winged blackbirds can be heard with their “cong-a-lee, cong-a-lee” chirp.

The route circles a grove of red willows and cottonwoods. Quail peck at the ground. Near the parking lot, a jackrabbit bounces across a clearing. It’s no wonder the Tubatulabal people called this valley home. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Kern River Preserve

A rufous-sided towhee scratches through the brush at the preserve.

From the town of Lake Isabella, follow California 178 east to the small town of Weldon and look for a sign for the preserve on your left. Open sunrise to sundown, seven days a week. For more details, go to kern.audubon.org. or call (760) 378-2531. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Kern River Hatchery

The rainbow trout in the first long concrete trough are the size of meaty kielbasa. Times reporter Hugo Martín buys a handful of fish pellets from a dispenser and tosses a few into the water to watch it boil and ripple with fins, tails and gaping mouths. Hatchery workers dump 124,000 pounds of trout throughout the rivers and streams in the valley, and visitors can see them before they go out. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Kern River Hatchery

Some of the trout are big enough to swallow a man’s fist. They probably don’t taste as good as wild trout, but they make for great trophies, and, in a couple of weeks, these troutzillas will be in the waters, eyeing lures, artificial flies, spinners and you.

From Kernville, take Sierra Way north for about a mile and look for the hatchery on your left. For more details, call (760) 376-2846. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Silver City Ghost Town

Elias Simons, 7, watches his father, Robert, in “jail” at Silver City.

The saloon is haunted. So is the jail. That’s what the curator of Silver City Ghost Town says as you pay the $4 general admission. This roadside attraction in Bodfish is a collection of ramshackle buildings that were salvaged and relocated here from towns throughout the area, and somehow ghosts came along in the move.

Address: 3829 Lake Isabella Blvd., Bodfish. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission: $4 for adults; $3 for children younger than 12. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Kern River

The Kern River runs for nearly 160 miles, starting as snowmelt near Mount Whitney. The fast moving whitewater rapids are popular among kayakers, rafters and anglers. For anglers, the big advantage of fishing along the Kern River is that access is never a problem. You can find dozens of great spots. Just drive alongside the river on Sierra Way and Mountain 99 and look for the best spot. (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 Kern River destinations to please anglers and others.
Kern River

Along the Kern River, from Bakersfield to the Johnsondale Bridge, anglers can choose among more than a dozen water-side campgrounds. At campgrounds such as Hospital Flat, fishing fanatics can fish all day within walking distance of a campfire ring and a picnic table. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Kernville, California: 10 great places for anglers and others
Kern River

Along the 20-mile stretch of Kern River, from Lake Isabella to the Johnsondale Bridge, anglers can find just about every river condition -- shallow, fast running stretches as well as deep, slow-moving water. All you have to do is find your spot and start casting. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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