Kings River Rainbow Trout
Copyright 2019 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Kings River California
The Kings River drains an area of the high western
Sierra Nevada Mountains. The river is formed by three
forks - the North Fork, Middle Fork and the South Forks
of the Kings River. The Middle and South Forks begin in
Kings Canyon National Park and the North Fork begins
in the John Muir Wilderness. Fly fishing the upper Kings
River can be a truly, wonderful lifetime experience.

The lower Kings River is a tailwater fishery that's located
below Pine Flat Dams. At one time this was a blue-ribbon
rainbow trout destination. Releases and droughts
changed that during the early nineties. During the last
few years the tailwater has undergone some major
changes and the fishery has recovered nicely.

The Kings River flows through one of the deepest
canyons in North America. It drops more than 13,000
feet to the upper part of Pine Flat reservoir. It provides
some of the best wild trout fishing in the Central Sierras.

The eighteen mile stretch of the upper Kings river above
Pine Flat is special regulation trout water. Not only is the
fishing great, It's also one of the most beautiful places to
trout fish there is. This area is mostly within the Sequoia
National Forest. The Wild Trout fishery extends
upstream from Pine Flat Reservoir to the confluence of
the Middle and South Forks of the river.

The fishing begins as early as the middle of February.
Blue-winged Olives, Golden Stoneflies and in March,
Western March Browns, get the dry fly fishing started
early. Salmonflies start appearing in April but the best
part of the hatch often coincides with the Spring runoff.
After the runoff ends, there are additional mayfly
hatches as well as numerous caddisflies hatches.

From the Highway #180 crossing at Boyden Cave
downstream to the main stem on the South Fork of the
Kings river; from the western boundary of Kings Canyon
National Park downstream to the main stem on the
Middle Fork ; and from the confluence of the South and
Middle forks downstream to Garnet Dike Campground on
the main stem of the river, fishing is open year-round.
Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. It's
"Catch and Release" only. From Garnet Dike
Campground downstream to Pine Flat Lake the river is
open all year but has a 2 fish per day bag limit.

The season is open year-round - see above.
Spring is good time for fly fishing the Upper Kings River
provided it's before the runoff period. The tailwater
fishing last into April.
Summertime is usually considered the best time for fly
fishing the Upper Kings River
Fly fishing the Kings River during the early part of
Autumn is usually excellent. November starts the good
part of the tailwater season.
The tailwater of the Kings River fishes good all Winter

Fly Fishing Guide - Gear, Tackle and TroutFlies
Type of Stream
Tailwater and Freestone Stream

Rainbow Trout (Wild and Stocked)
Brown Trout (Wild and Stocked)

Small to Medium

South Central

Nearest Towns


Varies Greatly from very difficult to

Non-Resident License
State of California

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Guide - Gear, Tackle
and Trout Flies
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Kings River
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

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