Lake Isabella-Southern Sierra

Lake Isabella

Online Store


Fly Box


Tackle Box


Fly Swaps
Lake Isabella

Bass Flies:
Hair Mouse #4
Dead Drift Crayfish #4
Burk's Aggravator #6
Clouser Minnow #4-6

Crappie Flies:
Matuka #4-6
Jay's Wiggletail #10
Cole Bugger #8-10
Clouser's Swimming Nymph #6-8
White Woolly Bugger #10-12

Carp Flies:
BH Squirrel Nymph #10-12
Olive Damsel Nymph #12
Dead Drift Crayfish #8
Burk's Aggravator, Olive #8


Lake Isabella Directions

About 45 miles from Bakersfield on Hwy 178. Two towns nearby are Kernville and Lake Isabella. Full service marina at French Gulch. Elevation:2650'

Notes:Isabella Lake
The town of Lake Isabella was called just Isabella before the dam and was named in honor of Queen Isabella of Spain by Sven Barton back in 1893. At one time there were only two communities making up the valley, there was no dam, roads were dirt and stop signs were not needed. Kernville and Isabella (the two communities) were relocated in preparation of the Isabella Dam beginning in 1948. They now sit under the lake in quiet memory. The lake was created in 1953 by the U.S. Corps of Engineers when the dams were put into place. Lake Isabella gives you an opportunity to try some good Bass, Crappie, and Bluegill fishing. It is the largest lake within the Southern Sierra with over 11,000 acres and is open year-round. It was constructed in 1953 with the placement of two dams over the Kern River. The best fishing is from February to June and September through November. Float tubers are required to stay within 200 feet of shore. The lake is heavily stocked with 10-12 inch Rainbows. Florida-strain Largemouth Bass were planted within the lake in 1972 and it became a trophy lake for bass by the mid 1980's with bass reaching up to 18 Lbs. Try Clouser Minnows, Hair Mouse, Popper's, and Shad Minnows. The bass has a 2 fish limit with a minimum size of 15 inches.

Crappie fishing is especially good in the Spring using Cole Buggers, Jay's Wiggletails, and small white woolly buggers in size 10-12. The crappie has a limit of 25. The best area to fly fish is the brushy areas on the eastern end of the lake where the South Kern River enters and the north side from Robinson's Cove to Rocky Point Cove. Another good spot is the northern end where the North Fork of the Kern enters. Both of these areas have dead trees that will allow you to float tube without competition from baitcasters and boaters. A recent Winter activity has been to flyfish for the many Carp that feed along the shallows. There are eight campgrounds around the lake with over 800 units.


Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

Lake Isabella:

Open all year. No restrictions. 5 trout.

Kern River from Lake Isabella to the Johnsondale bridge:

Open all year. No restrictions. 5 trout per day.

Local Rivers and Streams:

From the last Saturday in April through November 15, 5 trout daily bag limit, 10 trout in possession; and, from November 16 through the Friday preceding the last Saturday in April, 0 trout bag limit, artificial lures with barbless hooks only and trout must be released unharmed and not removed from the water.

All other Lakes:

Open all year, 5 trout daily bag limit, 10 trout in possession.


Fishing Map Available

Covers the water of Lake Isabella. Shows camping areas, road access, trails, and below-surface stream channels. Special Features are Suggested Carp Flies, Fishing Season and Regulations, Fish Identification, Where to Fish, and Stream Etiquette guidelines. Printed on Rite-in-the-Rain Paper that will allow you to write those special notes. Waterproof and Durable.

$12.95 ea

© 2021 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.


Riverside Park Upper Kern below Johnsondale Lower South Fork Kern Alder Creek Kern River Inlet Camp Nine Sine Cove Rabbit Island Hungry Gulch Lake Isabella Outlet Kissack Cove