Big Kern Lake roving Trips

The Upper Kern River is a designated Wild and Scenic River holding native and heritage populations of Kern River Rainbows and Volcano Creek Goldens in its upper tributaries. Big Kern Lake (it’s actually a river for the length of the season, but sometimes creates a lake in high water years) is one of the premier fishing locations in the Golden Trout Wilderness. Kern River Rainbow are fairly nonspecific on flies and plentiful. You can expect to catch (and release) several 14-18 inch fish. This part of the river is fishable up or downstream and either side. You can easily fish from shore or wade (waders are suggested early in the season, but by mid-season its more comfortable to wet wade.) Little Whitney Meadow, where our second camp is located, is high alpine country and offers access to fish for fast and fun Volcano Creek Goldens. These fish are extremely vibrant and are the purest strand of the original California Golden Trout. They are small, but feisty!

Trip Dates

  • August 18-24

  • Custom Trips Available (contact us for details)

Trip Overview

  • 2 full days on trail, 2 half days on trail

  • 3 full days in camp, 2 half days in camp

  • opportunity to fish trophy sized Kern River Rainbows and true California Golden Trout in one trip!

  • over 50 miles of scenic trail covered

  • 7 days/6 nights

  • $2100/person + fishing guide ($400/person)


Day 1 you travel 7 hours by horseback to one of the best fishing camps in the Golden Trout Wilderness, Big Kern Lake.

Day 2-3 you may fish up or downstream, either side of the river and expect to catch 16+ inch Kern River Rainbows.

Day 4 we move camp by horseback to Little Whitney Meadow which provides access to catch Volcano Creek Golden Trout. This is a 3 hour ride from Big Kern Lake camp.

Day 5 you may fish for Golden Trout along Volcano Creek.

Day 6 we move camp back to Big Kern Lake where you may fish the remainder of the day.

Day 7 we return on horseback to the packstation.

What’s included

  • saddle horse and equipment including saddle bags

  • pack mules

  • 1-2 professional and knowledgeable packers/wranglers

  • emergency equipment, including first aid kit and satellite device

  • camp gear including: shower, toilet, tables, camp chairs

  • fly fishing guide (optional, extra expense)

Packing List

  • tent

  • sleeping bag

  • sleeping pad

  • brimmed hat

  • bandana

  • lightweight gloves

  • riding/hiking boots

  • warm layers for early or late season trips

  • sunglasses

  • reusable water bottle

  • rain jacket

  • fishing gear/hard case for fishing rods

  • duffle bags

  • headlamp

  • binoculars

  • personal toiletries

  • wash cloth and small pack towel

  • guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Gear should not exceed 50 pounds per person and should be packed in 1-2 duffel bags. You may carry a small day pack with you on the horse that should not exceed 15 pounds (for your comfort and the horses).

What about the alcohol?

GTWP does not provide alcohol but will happily pack as much in as you would like.


Where do we meet?

We pack in from the Lewis camp trailhead, luckily, the pack station is located one mile down the road from it. We ask that guests come up the night before their pack trip and lodge with us because we get started early the next morning.  We provide lodge meals and accommodations for an extra cost. Alternatively, guests can come up to the pack station the morning of, but we ask guests to be here by 5:30 AM, so we can sort and pack your gear and get you on the trail by 7-8 AM.

Guides, group sizes and age/weight restrictions?

  • We have a 1:5 ratio, 1 wrangler/guide to five animals. With a maximum of 6 guests (specific to this trip) and 2 guides

  • Kids must be 6 or older to join a pack trip. Some exceptions available (porter or stock assist) with final approval from GTWP

  • Guests must not weigh more than 250 pounds and must not have any serious physical or medical health issues prior to trip that could affect safety. Guests weighing more than 250 pounds can be accommodated on a case by case basis and depending on availability of riding mules.


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