Forks of the Kern
The EcoAngler Report
Researching the Kern River Rainbow? Get scientific based angling intel in The EcoAngler Report - Kern River Rainbow.
Detailed information on it's range along with a map and directions to put you in reach of this native rainbow can be purchased here.
An Adobe PDF document will be made available at the end of the purchase check-out. Select Return to the Ecological Angler to view your copy of The EcoAngler Report - Kern River Rainbow.
From Kernville, drive along Sierra Way for 20 miles to Johnsondale Bridge. Continue across the bridge and up the hill towards the small town of Johnsondale. Above town, turn north onto a paved road towards Lloyds Meadow. Drive about 19 miles until you see the "Forks of Kern 4" sign, then turn right onto a dirt road and proceed 2 miles to the trailhead.
Forks of the Kern River - Confluence of Little Kern River & the North Fork of the Kern River
Trailhead is on road 20S67 off the Lloyd Mdw road 22S82. The trail drops immediately down to the Kern River, crossing the Little Kern River. No foot-bridge exists for crossing the Little Kern, consequently crossing should not be attempted during spring snow runoff.
The "Forks" represents the confluence of the Little Kern River with the North Fork of the Kern. As you hike down the final mile, the North Fork comes into clear view. This section of the North Fork is situated far enough up (and within the Golden Trout Wilderness) to support a truer population of native Kern River rainbow trout than what exists further downstream (i.e., below Durrwood Creek).
Where to Locate Natives within the Kern River Watershed
As a general rule, anglers searching for the truest forms of any of the three native subspecies are better served by going into the top reaches of the Kern watershed. This rule applies today for populations of California Golden Trout in the South Fork of the Kern (Note - a report on this fishery will be published to the web-site. ) as well as the Kern River Rainbow Trout.
What many anglers I've talked with aren't aware of is the above rule also applies to the Little Kern Golden Trout. Something to keep in mind if your trip to the Forks includes fishing the lower reach of the Little Kern River.