Fishing the Kern River
By Joe Margiotta of the Kern River Fly Shop
Joe's fishing biography;
I was born and grew up in Chicago. As a young boy my Mom and Dad would take me fishing at the city's lakefront on Lake Michigan. I remember the day I turned 3 and was allowed to hold the long cane pole on my own.
I caught a fish that day, it was a Yellow Perch; I was hooked for life.
When I was 16 I bought my first fly rod. I knew nothing about fly fishing except for an article I had read in Field and Stream magazine that got me interested. It was an 8' fiberglass rod with an automatic reel and a level line. I bought a small selection of dry flies, wet flies, and some small bluegill poppers based on nothing in particular; I knew nothing about what I was doing. In spite of the struggle of learning how to use my new outfit on my own I managed to catch some fish. I found Bluegill to be very cooperative and my first trout was on a dry in a river in northern Wisconsin. That little Rainbow was only about 6” but it was one of the most memorable catches of my life; I can still visualize that spectacular strike with the fish coming clear out of the water, my fly in it's mouth.
While I fly fished often in my early years I still turned to spin and conventional casting because I was more familiar with those methods and I was still learning to fly fish on my own. After moving to California, meeting people that fly fished became more frequent so I gradually turned more to fly. I haven't fished any thing but fly in the last 25 years.
I guide in the Southern Sierra and other parts of California. I teach beginning fly fishing classes and was one of the instructors of the first Youth Academies pioneered by the Santa Barbara Fly Fishers. I have taught “learn to fly fish” classes at the Artful Angler Fly Shop in Carpinteria and the Kern River Fly Shop in Kernville.
I have fished in many parts of the US and Canada, moving water, still water, fresh and salt. I have lived in and extensively fished the waters of Inyo and Mono counties. I now live in Kernville, home of the Kern River which I have fished for over 45 years.