King's River, Califonia


Active Member
I decided to travel to the King's River, CA, (east of Fresno) for father's day this year, and try my hand at wild rainbow trout. It's about a 4 hour drive from where I am living now, and it made for a loooong day trip (8 hours driving for 9 hours of fishing). The river drains the west slope of the Sierra mountains, and provides cool clean water to native species, and fills a reservoir (Pine Flat Lake) for irrigation purposes in the Central Valley. I had done a fair bit of homework last week, but really didn't know exactly what to expect upon arrival. Nevertheless, being the adventurous type, I committed to the trip and would just have to deal with the hand I was dealt. I was rewarded handsomely.

Firstly, the river is GORGEOUS! It was gin clear water, with few people, lots of wildlife, good pool-riffle habitat, and very wade-able water. I wet waded all day and was very comfortable temperature wise. It was quite hot in the mid afternoon (36C), so being in the water was nice and kept me cool all day. Having said that, there were spots I would have liked to have accessed, and could have if I had worn my waders, but I just felt more comfortable 'swimming' and made the choice to stick with it. In the future I'll bring my spey and floating/intermediate sinktips to reach areas that would otherwise be inaccessible.

I started out nymphing with an indicator but didn't have any luck. In truth, I lost more flies than I was comfortable with (lead weight kept getting lodged in crevices, overhanging trees claimed a bunch as well, and I regularly broke off snags...6X will do that ya know). I only had one fish rise from the deeps of a pool to check out my red copper john, but it quickly rejected it upon inspection. Other nymphs did not generate that *hopeful* response, so I moved on to other locations.

Later in the afternoon I switched to dries and landed a beautiful wild rainbow (~15 inches) on a stimulator. It was my only fish, and that was fine by me. I saw deer, coyotes, a snake swam across the river 15 feet downstream from me (glad it wasn't upstream...seriously who wants a snake pushed into them from the current).

I would go back at some later time, and perhaps try a little higher in the system, but I would want to camp overnight. Anyways, enjoy the pics...

From 500 feet up:
500 feet up 1.JPG

The other direction:
500 feet up 2.JPG

A nice riffle:
Kings pool.JPG

Wild rainbow (~16 inches...give or take?):

Stimulator works wonders:
There are some truly awesome rivers and streams in California, I grew up fishing all over the northern half of the state but don't make it down that way nearly enough anymore. Something I hope to change once I retire and become a full time trout bum.
Thanks for sharing :)
My home water. Looks like you fished the lower section above Pine Flat, Rodger's Crossing to Garnett Dike? If you go up to GD and then walk up a ways, it gets better. Fish tend to pod up, so keep moving. The upper river (in the Park) is nice, as well, albiet smaller fish. Browns up there, also.
Give me a shout and I can give you more info on the K and others in Valley. From Nov-March the river below Pine Flat gets real interesting. Unfortunately, that's when I head north looking for Steelhead.