by Matt Freeman
2020 — the year of COVID-19, murder hornets, smoky skies, asteroid near-misses and other assorted craziness is nearing the final stretch. Oh, and don’t forget, the first time in my ENTIRE LIFE I have ever seen the lake and river both closed for fire danger.
Alas, that is coming to an end. The lake is currently open for business, and it is looking like — as of the date of this article, at least — the Upper Kern and a lot of the high country will be as well, which brings up a great opportunity: You can escape 2020 for a bit with a simple drive!
Better yet, why not go fishing at the same time in some of the most beautiful country you can lay your eyes on. The fall is a great time to fish the Upper Kern and the small creeks and streams in the area. Very fishable water flows, not a lot of traffic on the water and fish that are hungry and anxious to feed before the winter weather sets in, all situated in an area of absolute natural beauty. It’s a simple, cheap and fun adventure for all.
Concentrate on light-line spin fishing and fly fishing, by far the two best ways to catch these river and stream trout. For the spin fisherman, stick with long rods with light line— I love no more than 4-pound test with a very simple rig— along with a split-shot and a single red egg. You’ll catch fish all day long on that, and don’t forget the live crickets too.
The Kern is a fly fisher’s dream this time of year as well, with plenty of daily hatches going on in the afternoons and a lot of nymph activity near the stream bed. Concentrate on riffle waters and pools. Or drive on up higher and hit the high-country streams for a great chance at a golden trout or a brown or brook trout along with our native Kern River rainbows. Catching a golden is like catching sunshine. Yes, they are THAT beautiful!