Camping options filling up fast for the Isabella Fishing Derby

With the 24th Annual Isabella Fishing Derby fast approaching (April 20-22), out-of-area derby competitors might want to finalize their lodging plans for the biggest trout event in the U.S. Here’s a quick-hitter list of information for those of you who plan to rough it a little:

Campgrounds filling up fast: Pioneer Point, Paradise Cove, Hungry Gulch, Boulder Gulch and Tillie Creek campgrounds are open and have first-come, first-served sites available at $20 per night. Camp 9 also has plenty of sites available at $17 per night. Group sites at Tillie Creek, French Gulch and Camp 9 are also available by calling (877) 444-6777 or through their website at

In addition, overnight camping is allowed at Auxiliary Dam, Old Isabella Road and South Fork Recreation, with a daily fee of $10 (or $50 for an annual pass).  Passes can be purchased at Golden State Surplus in Lake Isabella, Sierra Gateway Market and Sporting Goods in South Lake, Sierra Gateway Market in Kernville, Red’s Kern Valley Marina, and at the Lake Isabella and Kernville Forest Service offices.  Stine Cove and Hanning Flat are also available for camping and are free of charge.

Additional spots now open: For the derby weekend only, the Forest Service has agreed to open up additional areas for overnight camping. The following non-developed day use areas will be open to camping: Engineer Point, Paradise Cove (along the beach area below the campground), Boulder Gulch (along the beach, north and south of the campground), Kissack Cove, and Rich Gulch (between French Gulch day use and Boulder Gulch).  For these areas, visitors can begin to set up campsites on Thursday, April 18 at 6 a.m.  If visitors set up their campsites earlier they may be cited.

The special camping areas will remain open until Monday, April 22 at  p.m.

As a reminder, camping is limited to 14 days out of a 30-day period. Visitors can set up their recreation vehicles in developed campsites prior to the weekend event.  However, visitors must occupy the site and may not leave a vehicle or trailer unoccupied for more than 24 hours.  Extra dumpsters and portable toilets will be placed around the lake for the Derby.

Locations include:  Engineer Point, Stine Cove, Auxiliary Dam, Kissack Cove, South Fork Recreation, Old Isabella, Boulder Gulch, Camp 9, and at the Old Cemetery.  Campers are reminded to make use of these restroom facilities and dumpsters to help keep the forest looking beautiful.