Isabella , CA
Isabella sits at an elevation of 2500 feet in Kern County,
CA, roughly 40 miles north of Bakersfield up SR 178(check
out the map). The lake offers
anglers 11,200 acres of surface area at full capacity, bounded
by 38 miles of shoreline, which means plenty of places to
fish! Food, supplies, and lodging can all be had in the town
of Lake Isabella, located just south of the lake itself on
Fishermen rate Lake Isabella:
Isabella marks the division between the upper and lower Kern
River, known for world-class trout fishing, the lake offers
anglers a chance to fish for a variety of other species as
well. Along with lots of brown trout and hatchery rainbows,
there is also excellent fishing here for bass, catfish, and
crappie. In fact, the crappie spawning run here each spring
is widely known as one of the best crappie fishing opportunities
in California. Locals recommend trying a crappie jig suspended
18 inches or so below a float to knock 'em dead. Kastmasters
also work well during the winter months. The key here, no
matter the season, is working your lure around structure where
the fish like to hold.
fishing is typically best from December through April or early
May, and most of the trout fall to Powerbait or nightcrawlers
fished 18 to 24 inches below a 1/4- to 1/2-ounce sliding sinker.
Locals also report good luck with Rooster Tails and Kastmasters
fished near the dams. Trout fishermen have easy access from
here to the fish-filled waters of the upper
Kern River as well.
The California Department of Fish and Game has the latest trout planting information on their website.
bite well on a variety of baits including fresh shad, cut
mackerel, and anchovies. The best season for them is usually
August through November. While they can be found just about
anywhere in the lake, your best bet is usually to look for
them around dropoffs, according to local anglers.
largemouth bass, try crankbaits such as Model A's and Rat-L-Traps
early in the season, along with chartreuse or white spinnerbaits,
then switch to 6-8 inch plastic worms in dark colors such
as black, purple and brown for summertime. Locals recommend
working around major points in 5 to 25 feet of water year
round and hitting the flats during the spring spawning season.
are several boat launch facilities located around the lake,
as well as two full-service marinas - North
Fork Marina and French
Gulch Marina. Both of these offer boat rentals, launch
ramps, and on-site stores. If you plan on bringing your own
boat to Lake Isabella, be aware that you must purchase a boating
permit (see the Kern County Parks website or call (760) 379-2806 for more information).
Lake Isabella Weather
At an elevation of about 2500 feet, Lake Isabella is a year-round
fishing destination, with high temperatures ranging from the
during the winter months up to 100 degrees in summer,
with average summertime highs in the 80's. Conditions on the
lake are often windy, so boaters should judge conditions carefully
and check forecasts before going out.
to see current weather conditions and forecasts for the town
of Lake Isabella.
Hotel accomodations are available in Lake
Isabella just south of the lake itself, and in the town
of Kernville, located north of the lake, as well.
campgrounds and RV
parks are located around the lakeshore, offering easy access to
the fishing as well as a place to pitch a tent. Camping and rental cabins are
also available in the nearby Sequoia
All anglers age 16 and older must have a valid California
fishing license in their possession while fishing.
Only one pole per fisherman may be used.
Isabella is open to fishing all year, 24 hours a day. The
following bag limits and minimum size limits apply:
- 5 fish, no minimum size.
Catfish - No limit, no minimum size.
Crappie - 25 fish, no minimum size.
Bass - 2 fish, 15-inch minimum size.
California Department of Fish and Game has the complete, current
on their website.