Fly Fishing the Sierra

Kennedy Meadows and Fish Creek

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Kennedy Meadows and Fish Creek

Suggested Flies for Kennedy Meadows and Fish Creek:
Southern Sierra Hatch Selection

Other Local Favorites:

Dry Flies:
Parachute Adams #16
Elk Hair Caddis #14-16
Stimulator #12
Madam X #10-12
Royal Wulff #12

Nymph Flies:
Pheasant Tail Nymph #14-18
Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear #14-18
Prince Nymph #14-18
Bird's Nest #14-18
Bird's Stonefly Nymph #8-10
Copper John, Black #16-18

Streamer Flies:
Muddler Minnow #8-10
Woolly Bugger, Black or Olive #8-10

Directions:

Kennedy Meadows Directions

You can reach the South Fork of the Kern River either by taking Sherman Pass Road or Hwy 395 to Nine Mile Canyon Road, about 10 miles north of Ridgecrest. Hwy 395 gives you the more direct route. Taking Nine Mile Canyon Road (road name changes to Kennedy Meadow Rd. at county line) about 20 miles, you'll arrive at Kennedy Meadow. Monache Meadows can be reached by taking Road 22S05 further past Black Rock Ranger Station to Road 21S03 which dead-ends at Granite Knob. A Jeep Trail for 4x4's will take you down to Monache Meadows.

Notes:
South Fork Kern RiverKennedy Meadows is a good stop-off point as it has a restaurant, store, and camping facilities. The Pacific Crest Trail follows the river canyon with side routes to the river. Along this stretch of river , you'll find Rainbows and Browns. Goldens will be present above Monache Meadows.

The South Fork Kern is a designated Wild Trout stream above the southern bounsdary of the South Sierra Wilderness just above Kennedy Meadows. The season is the last Saturday in April to November 15th. There is a 5 fish limit with the use of artificial lures or flies with barbless hooks within the desiginated Wild Trout area.
The South Fork Kern has been an ancestral home for the Volcano Creek Golden. About 70,000 years ago, the South Kern was linked to Volcano Creek (which is now called Golden Trout Creek) and the South Fork Kern had an extensive population of Volcano Goldens from it's headwaters to Manter Creek. A lava flow near Little Whitney Meadow diverted Volcano Creek to the Main Kern and the South Fork Goldens became isolated. The population of Goldens had the stream pretty much to itself until rainbows were planted during the last century. Since the Goldens are related to the Rainbows, they were able to hybridize freely and much of the original pure Golden strain was lost. Brown trout were also introduced to the South Kern within the Kennedy Meadows area and, by 1969, only the headwaters above Ramshaw Meadows still had the original pure Volcano Golden strain. Below Ramshaw Meadows, surveys found that the Browns in some areas outnumbered the Golden-Rainbow Hybrids 50:1 .

From Kennedy Meadows you can access the South Fork in a southerly direction by taking a dirt road to the southern portion of Kennedy Meadows near the landing strip. The Pacific Crest Trail is nearby and provides access to the South Fork for 3 miles downstream until it diverts to the east at the upper portion of Rockhouse Basin. Another trail picks up from PCT and follows the river south until it diverts towards the headwaters of Manter Creek. Tributaries worth checking out include:
Fish Creek: A trail heads west near Fish Creek off the SF Kern at the top portion of Rockhouse Basin. This trail crosses Fish Creek and provides access. Consists of Rainbows. Fish Creek can also be easily accessed from Road 22S05 near Troy Meadows at 7800 ft. ele. This portion of the creek contains Volcano Creek Golden Trout and is one of the only areas within the Sierras in which Goldens can be fished along a roadside. It is outside the Golden Trout Wilderness, so a 5 fish per day, 10 in possession rule is in force without the barbless restriction. Some of Troy Meadows contains leased ranchland and is fenced off. Please respect their property.

Going north of Kennedy Meadows, a trailhead is at Kennedy Meadows Campground which lies on the PCT. The PCT will take you along the South Fork for 2 miles to the footbridge. You can follow the river from here or continue on the PCT for another 5 miles where it meets the trail to Dutch John Flat. It is about 3.3 miles to Dutch John with a 1000 feet drop to 7500 feet elevation at the River.



Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

South Fork Kern River:

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.

Other 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. No restrictions. 5 trout per day. 10 trout in possession.

 

 

Fishing Maps Available


South Fork Kern 4, Kennedy Meadows

Covers the water of Kennedy Meadows. Shows camping areas, trails, and creeks. Special Features are the Hatch Chart, Fish Identification, Fishing Season and Regulations, and Stream Etiquette guidelines.

$12.95 ea



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

 

Troy Meadows Domeland SF Kern at Kennedy Meadows CG Upper Kern above Johnsondale Monache Meadows