A River In Crisis

The Lower Kings River

A 98.6% Drop In The Rainbow Tout Population

In 1984 the Lower Kings River rainbow trout estimate was 435 per mile.  By 2015 the estimate was only 6 rainbow trout per mile.  A drop of 98.6%! Generally the Kings River is thought of as two distinct sections.  The section upstream of Pine Flat reservoir is the Upper Kings River.  The section below Pine Flat dam is the Lower Kings River. An 81.5 mile portion of the Upper Kings River is protected with Federal “Wild and Scenic River” designation.  Unfortunately, the Lower Kings River, the 13 mile tailwater fishery below Pine Flat Dam is not protected and struggles to survive.  Here is a map of the Lower Kings River and area topographic maps are here. The Upper Kings River contains the largest wild trout fishery in California.  In describing the Upper Kings River the Western River Conservancy said, “The foothills canyon is often regarded as the finest large river trout fishery in the state.”

Two Causes Of The Drastic Decline

The two primary causes for the dramatic drop in the trout population: Lethal Water Temperatures. In 1984 the Kings River Conservation District’s (KRCD) power plant became operational at Pine Flat Dam.  This power plant prematurely removes the cool water in the reservoir causing warm temperature water that is lethal to the trout to be released during the fall, in about three out of four years.  That warm temperature water kills all or almost all of the trout in the Lower Kings River. Inadequate Water Flows. The majestic Kings River has an annual average water flow of about 1,700,000 acre feet.  However, the Kings River Water Association (KRWA) improperly claims they have the rights to 100% of the water.  KRWA takes the vast majority of Kings River water for large agri-business and other uses, and leaves an inadequate amount of water for trout to survive. When those two causes are resolved, the Lower Kings River will once again be one of the best trout rivers in the United States.

The Report:  A River In Crisis

The Public Advisory Group (PAG) to the Kings River Fisheries Mangement Program has been working to protect and restore the trout fishery in the Lower Kings River since 1999.  PAG has released an authoritative, well documented report that describes the causes, status and solutions to restore the trout fishery in the Lower Kings River. Please download a copy of the report, A River In Crisis.  You may also download a two page Executive Summary or the PAG Position Statement.

We Need Your Support

PAG is a small group of fly fishermen dedicated to protect the trout fishery in the Lower Kings River.  We are an all volunteer group.  We need all the help and support we can get. We’d like to stay in touch with you and periodically provide you with updates on our progress.  Please sign up for our email newsletter.

A Crown Jewel

of American

Rivers

The Kings River is a crown jewel of American Rivers. From its source, the Kings River drops 10,650 vertical feet.  Sierra Nevada peaks rise 8,000 feet above both sides of the river-- more than the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.  With a basin almost wholly composed of granite and with almost all the upper watershed protected as wilderness, the water of the Kings is among the clearest anywhere-- perhaps the clearest in America.

A  Crown Jewel of American Rivers

The Kings River is a crown jewel of American Rivers. From its source, the Kings River drops 10,650 vertical feet.  Sierra Nevada peaks rise 8,000 feet above both sides of the river--more than the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.  With a basin almost wholly composed of granite and with almost all the upper watershed protected as wilderness, the water of the Kings is among the clearest anywhere--perhaps the clearest in America.

A River In Crisis

The Lower Kings River

A 98.6% Drop In The Rainbow Tout Population

In 1984 the Lower Kings River rainbow trout estimate was 435 per mile.  By 2015 the estimate was only 6 rainbow trout per mile.  A drop of 98.6%! Generally the Kings River is thought of as two distinct sections.  The section upstream of Pine Flat reservoir is the Upper Kings River.  The section below Pine Flat dam is the Lower Kings River. An 81.5 mile portion of the Upper Kings River is protected with Federal “Wild and Scenic River” designation.  Unfortunately, the Lower Kings River, the 13 mile tailwater fishery below Pine Flat Dam is not protected and struggles to survive.  Here is a map of the Lower Kings River and area topographic maps are here. The Upper Kings River contains the largest wild trout fishery in California.  In describing the Upper Kings River the Western River Conservancy said, “The foothills canyon is often regarded as the finest large river trout fishery in the state.”

Two Causes Of The Drastic Decline

The two primary causes for the dramatic drop in the trout population: Lethal Water Temperatures. In 1984 the Kings River Conservation District’s (KRCD) power plant became operational at Pine Flat Dam.  This power plant prematurely removes the cool water in the reservoir causing warm temperature water that is lethal to the trout to be released during the fall, in about three out of four years.  That warm temperature water kills all or almost all of the trout in the Lower Kings River. Inadequate Water Flows. The majestic Kings River has an annual average water flow of about 1,700,000 acre feet.  However, the Kings River Water Association (KRWA) improperly claims they have the rights to 100% of the water.  KRWA takes the vast majority of Kings River water for large agri-business and other uses, and leaves an inadequate amount of water for trout to survive. When those two causes are resolved, the Lower Kings River will once again be one of the best trout rivers in the United States.

The Report:  A River In Crisis

The Public Advisory Group (PAG) to the Kings River Fisheries Mangement Program has been working to protect and restore the trout fishery in the Lower Kings River since 1999.  PAG has released an authoritative, well documented report that describes the causes, status and solutions to restore the trout fishery in the Lower Kings River. Please download a copy of the report, A River In Crisis.  You may also download a two page Executive Summary or the PAG Position Statement.

We Need Your Support

PAG is a small group of fly fishermen dedicated to protect the trout fishery in the Lower Kings River.  We are an all volunteer group.  We need all the help and support we can get. We’d like to stay in touch with you and periodically provide you with updates on our progress.  Please sign up for our email newsletter.