South Fork Kings River

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South Fork Kings River
Kings Canyon National Park - Kings River near Zumwalt Meadow.JPG
The river viewed below the suspension bridge near Zumwalt Meadow
Country  United States
State  California
 - left Woods Creek, Bubbs Creek, Roaring River (California), Boulder Creek (California)
 - right Lewis Creek (California), Grizzly Creek[disambiguation needed]
Source Near Mount Bolton Brown
 - location Sierra Nevada
 - elevation 12,352 ft (3,765 m)
 - coordinates 37°01′40″N 118°26′49″W / 37.02778°N 118.44694°W / 37.02778; -118.44694 [1]
Mouth Kings River
 - location Kings Canyon
 - elevation 2,257 ft (688 m)
 - coordinates 36°50′18″N 118°52′30″W / 36.83833°N 118.87500°W / 36.83833; -118.87500Coordinates: 36°50′18″N 118°52′30″W / 36.83833°N 118.87500°W / 36.83833; -118.87500 [1]
Length 45 mi (72 km)
Basin 460 sq mi (1,191 km2)
Discharge for Cedar Grove, Fresno County, California
 - average 656 cu ft/s (19 m3/s)
 - max 13,900 cu ft/s (394 m3/s)
 - min 62.1 cu ft/s (2 m3/s)

The South Fork Kings River is an important tributary of the Kings River in the U.S. state of California. It joins the Middle Fork Kings River to form the main stem of the Kings. It is famous for flowing through Kings Canyon, a 10,000-foot (3,000 m) deep glacial canyon in the heart of Kings Canyon National Park, and Cedar Grove, a valley said by some to resemble world-famous Yosemite Valley farther north in Yosemite National Park.

The river is 45 miles (72 km) long and flows south for the first part of its course, then west for the remainder. It drains an area of some 460 square miles (1,200 km2). Important tributaries include Woods and Bubbs Creeks, and the Roaring River. Settlements on the river include Kanawyers and Cedar Grove. State Route 180 follows about 25 miles (40 km) of the lower river.

There are plenty of records of Chinook Salmon presence 10–12 miles above Pine Flat before the 1940s and even some after that in Mill Creek in the 1970s.[2] Woodhull and Dill (1942) noted that salmon ascend about 10 to 12 mi beyond the present upper extent of the reservoir and salmon migration in the Kings River probably ascended no farther than the confluence of the North Fork. Yoshiyama and Moyle also noted that there is an undocumented note of “a few salmon” having occurred much farther upstream at Cedar Grove (28 mi above present-day Pine Flat Reservoir) in the past.

As of 2012 the California Department of Fish and Game fish data base from their surveys indicate that only rainbow trout, brown trout and Sacramento sucker are found in the South Fork Kings River.[3] However, "it will be necessary to thoroughly evaluate the genetics of all suspected non-hybridized stocks of California golden trout and conduct a thorough search of the upper Kern River, South Fork Kings River and other basins to find all available genetically uncontaminated populations, in order to assure a non-hybridized, yet appropriately broad California golden trout gene pool within the new habitats." This is because "... many of the waters in the headwaters of the South Fork Kings River and several tributary streams and lakes were also planted with California golden trout from GTC (Golden Trout Creek) between 1909 and 1914. Sam Ellis, one of the CDFG employees responsible for many trout transplants from GTC, kept a map of 1870 to 1915 trout transplants from GTC to waters elsewhere in the southern Sierra Nevada. Information on the map shows locations, dates and species of trout planted in the southern Sierra Nevada. Based on this map, information from other sources (Ellis 1915; Ellis and Bryant 1920)..."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "South Fork Kings River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 1981-01-19. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  2. ^ Historical and Present Distribution of Chinook Salmon in the Central Valley Drainage of California, Pages 81 to 84, Ronald M. Yoshiyama, Eric R. Gerstung, Frank W. Fisher, Fish Bulletin 179, 2001
  3. ^ Stephanie Mehalick, CDF&G
  4. ^ Stephens, McGuire, and Sims (Sept. 17, 2004) "Conservation Assessment and Strategy for the California Golden Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita) Tulare County, California, p.3