Paul, I forgot to ask your opinion about when you think the best slack water conditions exist on the Kern. I would gather in a low snow like this year, it would probably be June, but in a normal year, August might be preferable.
The reason I ask is because the trip I'm thinking of would entail a little bushcraft. You might have noticed from some of the photos I've posted that I have an ultralight setup - actually, closer to super ultralight (SUL). Some of the equip is purchased, but a lot is homemade DIY gear.
My regular baseweight for a 3-4 day trip, including an exit over a high pass/peak like Whitney, is around 14lbs with food. Part of this weight includes a high loft down vest to complement my down quilt, a UL burner/pot, and some food for dinner.
For a Kern trip, I would only be above 10k for the last night, so I was thinking I could leave the 11oz vest behind. Also, because I would be below 10k for 3 nights, I could start a small fire (a regular snow year my also not have fire bans) to cook dinner each night, so that would allow me to drop the 7oz burner. Last, I would forgo taking dinner (ah, my Ramen each night!) in lieu of depending on catching enough fish to each night.
All told, I think I could get my total pack weight down to 10.5lbs for a 4 night hike. Now you know why I casually refer to 15-20 mile days. I'm actually just day hiking with periodic sleepovers in the great outdoors. LOL
So, the key would be able to fish the Kern in the right conditions. If it was still flowing @ high water, then my plans wouldn't pan out, and I'd be an unhappy, hungry camper.