By Noble Smith
I remember catching my first fish on the Kern River back in 1962. It was a 12-inch Rainbow Trout. I caught the fish using a Pautzke salmon egg and an Eagle Claw hook with a split shot. This was a great method back then and is probably the most used setup today. It is still very effective.
Same thing with the Crappie and Catfish. A good ole Crappie Jig or meal worm still works today as well as it did in the sixties. A night crawler on a number four Eagle Claw hook with a sinker above the hook will still take a fair share of Catfish. This brings me to the question as to why my Bass fishing tackle has changed numerous times since the sixties.
I caught my first Bass on a flat fish lure. I thought catching Bass on a artificial lure was as cool as my flare jeans and Wallabee shoes. Like the fashion, my flat fish lure is long gone. Not sure if they make them anymore.
There are high profile bass tournaments going on now along with big cash prizes. This has created a lot of new technology that is hard to keep up with. Especially for weekend warriors like myself.
I decided to go old school for our next club Bass tournament. The rig is a Texas rigged Mann six inch jelly worm. I was going to fish it in a thirty-year-old Phoenix rod. This rig caught a ton of fish back in the day. I did not get a chance to see if my old school method would work. Our tournament was called off because of high winds.
I have heard a lot of rumors about our Crappie bite. The fishermen I’ve talked to are catching fish a few here, a few there, not a normal Isabella spring crappie bite. If there are anglers out there taking twenty-five fish limits, they are keeping it under their hats. The bite is behind schedule. We just have not had a consistent weather pattern this spring.
Trout anglers are doing well. Talked to a few fishermen taking limits trolling. This seems to be the best way to catch trout. You can cover a lot of water this way. Shore fishermen are doing well also. It’s about finding the right spot. Talked to a fisherman that caught a nice limit on Powerbait. The main dam, South Fork recreation area, and Camp 9 are a few good areas to fish.
I have not had a lot of feedback from cat-fishermen. I know the Die-hard anglers are catching fish. High winds have kept a lot off the water. Areas such as Rabbit Island, French Gulch, and Browns Cove are good areas for springtime cats. Maybe try a good ole night crawler.
The Kern River is still rockin’ and rollin’. CFS levels from 4,000 to 7,000 make it difficult to fish. Fishing the shoreline, eddies, and slack water behind rocks is still the way to go. I have not heard of any limits. Several with one or two fish have been reported. The upper Kern was stocked recently. Section four to the Edison power plant. Some of the tributary creeks were also stocked with catchable fish.
The Kern River Hatchery should be up and running with its trophy trout program in the near future. It looks like a late start for the river trout season. As river flows slow mid to late summer.
Fishing should be great, as well as the fall bite, my personal favorite time to fish the river. Don’t forget to pack the Pautzke Eggs in the tackle box.
See you on the water!