Kaweah River


Kaweah, CA
United States United States
36.3367, -119.2229

The Kaweah River is located in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada Range of California along Highway 198 at the southern entrance to Sequoia National Park. The river passes through the small town of Three Rivers and ends up in Lake Kaweah (Terminus Reservoir). It's one of the shortest drainages in the US from its headwaters at 12000 feet to Lake Kaweah. The Kaweah River, like its neighbors the Kings, Tule and Kern, never sees the Pacific Ocean. Instead, it splits into many channels upon entering the San Joaquin Valley below Lake Kaweah and is mostly consumed by irrigation. What's left, if any, ends up in Tulare Lake.

Kaweah River is a river in Tulare County, California, located in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada. The river's headwaters are in the Sequoia National Park. There are several hiking trails near the headwaters. The river begins as the Middle Fork, it is then joined by Cliff Creek, the Marble Fork, the East Fork, the North Fork and the South Fork. The river passes through the town of Three Rivers, California shortly after the North Fork joins the Middle Fork, and then it drains into Lake Kaweah. The lake is formed by Terminus Dam, which is one of four dams on the river owned by Southern California Edison for hydroelectricity production. The other three dams are diversion dams for run-of-the-river plants. Below Lake Kaweah, the river splits into many channels. Most of its water is used for irrigation, but some reaches Tulare Lake. There is some fishing and rafting on the river, but access is difficult because some of the land is privately-owned, particularly in the lower portion. There are several companies that offer day trips on the class IV section. The Kaweah River is free-flowing above Lake Kaweah and depending on the winter snowfall, it can rise to very high flows during the spring. It is best if rafters and kayakers have previous experience running class IV because with the fluctuating flows, the river requires great maneuvering and whitewater skills.


This southwest corner of Sequoia National Park offers anglers a chance at river, stream and lake fishing, all close by. The main system is the South Fork of the Kaweah River, a water that carries the name "river," yet looks and acts like a stream. Tuohy Creek, a tributary to the Kaweah, provides excellent stream fishing, and Evelyn and Blossom lakes yield fantastic stillwater fishing.
Unlike much of the Sierra, the South Fork is open to fishing all year. Below the 9,000-foot level (which nearly the entire South Fork is) anglers are limited to taking just two fish per day, with no gear restrictions. Barbed and barbless hooks may be used as well as bait, flies and artificial lures.

Due to the short growing season, trout are almost always feeding aggressively during the summer months and into the fall before snow closes the trail again. There is a noticeable competition for food among trout here. You may see several small rainbows or brooks chasing your lure at once.

Spot Access:
Parking (car/truck), Parking (boat/trailer), Picnic Area
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Map for 36.3367, -119.2229
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Trout, Brook (Salvelinus fontinalis)


Trout, Brown (Salmo trutta)


Trout, Golden (Oncorhynchus aguabonita)


Trout, Steelhead (Rainbow) (Oncorhynchus mykiss)


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