Fly Fish the Kern River above the Johnsondale Bridge

Johnsonsdale Bridge, Camp Nelson, California, United States

  • Activities:

    Camping, Fishing, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    100 Feet

Bathrooms
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Cliff Jumping

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
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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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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!!

11 months ago
11 months ago

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.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Nathaniel Polta

A man with no plan

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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