View Full Version : kings river below Pine Flat

04-01-2006, 10:17 AM
fished the Kings yesterday. looking for one of those big planters, but no luck. water's up a bit and stained below the second bridge. good wading level. fished several stretches before finally finding some. C&R'd 9 fish, 11" to 13".

04-01-2006, 12:07 PM
F5 I"ve been wanting to get down there myself. I figured the rivers would be blowin pretty hard tho? You say they r wade-able?
I'd be interested in flyfishing certain areas down there. What if you
don't mind me asking were you using? I'ts a bit of a drive..I'm north near modesto.

thanx in advance Fishnfever 8-)

04-04-2006, 05:26 PM
I think its over now! They are starting to deliver water for irrigation starting April 7, so the water has been going up. I don't think you are going to see reasonable flows for a long time.

04-04-2006, 05:30 PM
I was there last weekend and got one five pounder... but really had to work for it.... not like January.... when it was hot. Probably wait until late in the summer when the water drops again. In high water the only chance you will probably have is to pretend you are in a lake and plunk a worm.

04-04-2006, 05:33 PM
In January, I had one day where I landed six of those 4-8 pounders... but the water was low and easy to wade. With the present water level, even catching one is going to take a lot of luck.

04-05-2006, 03:28 PM
Did anyone read that article today in the paper? With all this advertising, those fish are never going to last. I bet Doyal's is loving it though.


04-05-2006, 05:00 PM
drkfish, yep. with all the water coming into the lake, i'm sure flows will be high. sounds like you were tearing them up this year. it was a great run.

that article today was encouraging. 3 yr plan for continuing the planting of the big one's.

04-05-2006, 05:41 PM
Yes I did read the article. The thing that scares me now is, with all this water and the in-experienced fisherman on that river, spells trouble. Hope people are careful. We all know that the waters are going to be real high from now on.


04-06-2006, 06:16 AM
Very true with all this water and the rate of flow is going to very dangerous. I hope people are careful when they are fishing these areas.

04-06-2006, 11:18 PM
and it's not just the fishermen I worry about. more so the nuts who think they can float the river on small inflatables made for a swmming pool! every year there are drownings and copter rescues.

04-07-2006, 08:20 AM
I'm not a local... so what did the paper say?

I drop down to fish the kings every few weeks and visit my inlaws who live in the Orosi area. Am I right in assuming that they are going to continue these big fish plants for a few years.

04-07-2006, 09:19 AM

Yes you are right...they are going to continue stocking for at least two years. Here's the article if you want to read it yourself.

Big fish lure big crowd
Jumbo-trout planting in Kings River catches anglers' attention.
By Marek Warszawski / The Fresno Bee

(Updated Wednesday, April 5, 2006, 9:10 AM)

Next to the cash register at Doyal's Market in Piedra, a stone's throw from the Kings River, sits a 2-inch-thick stack of black-and-white Polaroids.

Anglers of all ages and both sexes stand proudly before the camera, displaying their prized catch.

Every picture tells a story. But unlike most fish stories, these need no embellishing.

As part of a three-year experimental program, the California Department of Fish and Game stocked 3,056 jumbo-sized trout into the lower Kings below Pine Flat Dam between mid-December andMarch 22.

Once news got out about the big fish, either by word of mouth or media reports, anglers from across the state started showing up by the hundreds.

"This time of year, it's normally a ghost town around here," Doyal's manager Mark Owens said. "Those fish sure livened things up. I saw my normal guys, but I saw a lot of new faces, too, and lots of kids."

The Coleman-strain rainbows were raised at the San Joaquin Hatchery in Friant for two years on a special high-protein diet designed for maximum growth. Most weighed between 4 and 6 pounds when they entered the river, with the largest tipping the Doyal's scale at8 pounds.

DFG Region 4 aquatics program manager Dale Mitchell said the program has succeeded in its primary goal of luring more people to the lower Kings, a 30-minute drive from Fresno.

"We went from a river that typically had less than a dozen anglers out there on any given day to a river that's got 300 or more on most days," said Mitchell, citing informal head counts taken by DFG personnel.

"We figured these big fish would create excitement, and they definitely did."

To keep pace with the increased fishing traffic, DFG wardens stepped up enforcement along the river.

Lt. Nathaniel Arnold said50 misdemeanor citations were issued on the lower Kings between Jan. 1 and March 25, the majority to anglers who were fishing with barbed hooks or bait in the designated catch-and-release zone between Alta Weir and Highway 180.

Others were cited for fishing without a valid license, fishing with more than one pole or set lines and license fraud.

"When guys are fishing with barbed hooks next to the signs telling them not to, there's not a lot we can do," Arnold said.

Wardens have been responsive to CalTIP, a confidential witness program designed to catch poachers and polluters. Fishing guide Jimmie Morales said he twice phoned the hot line (888-334-2258), and both times wardens arrived on scene within 20 minutes.

Fly fisherman Bob Papazian, who caught and released several of the big trout, said poaching was prevalent.

"Some of the people are doing it on purpose," Papazian said. "Others just get caught up in the excitement."

The excitement should continue for at least two years.

Mitchell estimated that between 5% and 10% of this year's trout will hold over, provided they don't get washed down the river by increased flows when the Kings River Water Association delivers irrigation water from Pine Flat Lake to its downstream constituents.

In January, the DFG will begin stocking another 3,000 jumbo rainbows raised from eggs collected at Eagle Lake in Northern California. Because Eagle Lake's trout are spring spawners, they will be older and larger than this year's fish when they enter the river.

"Next year's fish should be scary big," San Joaquin Hatchery manager Greg Paape said.

Paape and his staff also have started raising jumbo trout that will be stocked in 2008. About 10,000 Kamloops-strain trout have been set aside for that purpose, indicating the program might spread to other areas.

Mitchell said his office already has been contacted by several chambers of commerce and fishing clubs that want the jumbo trout stocked in their waters.

"If future cost evaluations look as good as this year's, I think it will become a regular feature," he said.

So far, the program has shown it can pay for itself.

The 3,056 fish stocked this year cost less than $10,000. A spike in fishing-license sales more than exceeded that figure, Mitchell said.

"Making a profit wasn't so much the issue," he said. "The issue was whether it was cost effective, and we recovered the cost of the program at the sales counter of our regional office [in Fresno] alone."

Papazian, a fourth-generation Fresnan who caught his first trout in the lower Kings more than40 years ago, complimented the program along with ongoing river restoration projects.

"These fish are in very good condition, and they fight pretty darn good," Papazian said. "Of course, anything that big would."


04-07-2006, 09:37 AM
The Coleman strain were a little usual looking. It is exciting to here that they are going to replace them with Kamloops next year. I hope they get consistent and keep planting the same strain of fish. I have fished for Kamloops many times at some private fishing clubs in Oregon.

I am surprised to here that they cited a few people. I didn't run into any game wardens and saw quite a few people fishing multiple rods.

Having a couple hundred people fishing the Kings is fine as long as the big fish are there.

It is really an opportunity to do something, since the Kings does not run to the ocean.

04-07-2006, 09:39 AM
The problem with hatcheries and a lot of rivers is that if the river runs to the ocean, you run into the problem of messing up to steelhead runs or the native trout like cutthroats. Since the Kings goes nowhere, they have a lot more freedom.

If it works well, maybe they could do something like this is some of the other southern valley rivers... to help the S.Cal anglers out and "spread the wealth."

04-07-2006, 09:40 AM
Thanks for the article....

04-07-2006, 09:46 AM
I am a dedicated steelheader and have written for numerous outdoor magazines. The fishing was good enough at the Kings that I cut back my steelhead fishing and spent as much time this winter fishing for the 4-8 pound trout as I did for steelhead. During the the winter I was getting 3-6 a day of these big fish... outstanding trout fishing and not much of a drive. And very fun on an ultralight. I have numerous relatives in Clovis, Fresno, Dinuba, Reedley, and Orosi who have asked me for years to take them steelhead fishing. Now they can learn to catch big fish in their own backyards.

04-07-2006, 10:40 AM
I think I read another post by you a while back about how the Kings is now one of your favorite rivers to fish and that you mostly use spinners. *Is that the technique you used on the kings? *I think I will try to plan a trip there next winter. * Sounds like fun. * * *

04-07-2006, 12:33 PM

04-07-2006, 01:09 PM
You Fresno guys are going to very very fortunate in the next few years. Trophy trout fishery in the Kings and the restoration of the San Joaquin. Lets see if steelhead and salmon start running through Fresno.

04-07-2006, 01:20 PM
You Fresno guys are going to very very fortunate in the next few years. *Trophy trout fishery in the Kings and the restoration of the San Joaquin. *Lets see if steelhead and salmon start running through Fresno.

So is it official now or what? Is the San Joaquin going to start flowing to the ocean now?


04-07-2006, 01:48 PM
I think it will take more then a few years maby 10 to 20 years to get salmon and steelhead up that far.There will have to be some planting of salmon and steelhead to get things happening.My grand father has been gone for 3 years. He told me that when he was bulding the friant dam he was fishing the river they use to have big salmon runs.But that was in themid 20's.It will take some time and a lot of good water years to get thoes fish back.

fishon chris :-?

04-07-2006, 03:14 PM
They had an article in the SJ Mercury on Sunday that they had reached a compromise and would set up 15% of the flow from Friant Dam to bring the San Joaquin to the delta and re-establish the salmon run with a couple thousand fish. Nobody knows for sure if and when the salmon will reurn, but stray steelhead from the other Southern rivers like the Merced would be likely to drift into the San Joaquin. My guess is that they will see steelhead before salmon, although there are a few salmon that come into the lower river than would come up if there was water.

04-07-2006, 03:21 PM
It will never be like the 300,000 king salmon they used to have but their goal is to get a run of 2000-3000 fish

04-11-2006, 05:35 PM
Kings is over now... they raised the water from about 600 feet to 5000 and will be bringing it up over 7000 by the weekend. Last year it was high like that all through irrigation season and didn't drop back down until the fall. So those big ones that survived should be either safe or washed downstream.

04-11-2006, 06:59 PM
They should be safe from most of the population except from me and my family. We fish year round on the Kings and today was our first float trip down. My family and I own white water rafts that we mainly use to fish and the occasional rafting trip but now my brothers are into the kayak scene. I would like to say that 95% of the fish are released that we catch. Today we had a total of 7 fish up to 4lbs. It was a great day to be out fishing. Today reminded me of being up on the Smith except for the 8 hour drive.