Fly Fish the Kern River above the Johnsondale Bridge

Johnsonsdale Bridge

The special regulation section above the Johnsondale Bridge holds the native Kern River Rainbow Trout. The subspecies has been extirpated in the Kern river from the Johnsondale bridge downstream. Fighter Jets train above the canyon and provide a little aerial show.

Check in at the local fly fishing shop in Kernville to check the latest status, then continue up the 20 mile stretch of Mountain Hwy 99 until you cross the Johnsondale Bridge. Park, pack, then begin your 30-45 minute hike up the trail before setting your rod.

After you're finished, stop by the Kern River Brewing Company for a hot meal and a cold beer.

Pack List

  • Waders
  • Fishing Gear
  • Water/Snacks
  • Ear Plugs for the fighter jets
Show More
RT Distance 4 Miles
Elevation Gain 100 Feet
Activities Camping, Fishing, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Cliff Jumping

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Great Hike, Great Camping, Great Fishing!

We started the hike with heavy bags and hiked about 3 and a half miles in. Tough terrain. Wouldn't say it's a beginner hike. Gets difficult at some areas. But the hike is beautiful. We found an amazing camp site and stayed the night. Caught a bunch of wild trout in the morning and hiked back. Had a great time. Would definitely recommend it!!

Guy at the fly shop is very knowledgable. Spring is not the best time to fish this stretch of the Kern because of the snow runoff. Fall is the best time of the year to fish this area. Also take the time to walk a little father up river. The lower portion tends to get hit hard. Be sure to know the regulations prior to fishing. The river from Kernville to the Johnsondale Bridge is open year around.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Dispersed Camp along Salmon Creek in Sequoia NF

There are several dispersed campsites found throughout the Sequoia National Forest. The majority can be found by driving on any of the OHV accessible roads.

48 Saves

Camp at Lower Springhill

The Lower Springhill Campground is a primitive campsite situated along the Kern River in the southern area of Sequoia National Forest.

49 Saves

Hike Sunday Peak

This short and easy summit is located just outside of Kernville, California. To get there, follow Highway 178 towards Kernville and turn left on Highway 155 towards Wofford Heights.

45 Saves