Young L.A. River cowboy learns carp are slipperier than you might think


By Ansel Trevino

SLIPPERY: Sometimes you have to think fast to get that beauty shot. (Roland Trevino)

SLIPPERY: Sometimes you have to think fast to get that beauty shot. (Roland Trevino)


Age 11
Guest Contributor

After a long productive day of catching moss with my dad, we decided to move a bit more south on the river.

We were there for about 15 minutes, when suddenly the rod tip jumped. During the fight my arm started to hurt — I wish that rod had a fighting butt.

Once the carp was landed, I gently lifted the fish to find the carp was barely hooked.

The fish squirmed out of my hands into the water, and I quickly scrambled to grab it again for the picture.

Once released, the fish waited there in the water for a few seconds, then swam away.

My hands were still shaking with adrenalin.

That was fun! I look forward to going back.

Pu-l-l-l-l that carp, but don’t break your fly rod!


Wait a minute ... why didn't I bring my 7 weight? (Ken Lindsay)

Wait a minute … why didn’t I bring my 7 weight? (Ken Lindsay)

By Ken Lindsay
Guest Contributor

I went down to the River today for a couple of hours and ran into a Fishermen’s Spot customer, Keith Mosier, who was fishing it for the first time too.

I had a tough time hooking fish but, the one I did hook was big and broke me off on 2X.

Keith Mosier nabs his first L.A. River carp. Oh, yeah! (Ken Lindsay)

Keith Mosier nabs his first L.A. River carp. Oh, yeah! (Ken Lindsay)

Keith told me about a group of feeders that he had found and we went to take a look. They were tanks!

Keith graciously let me have a shot at them but I could get no love. He stepped back in and immediately hooked a nice one that took him down stream about 50 yards but he finally was able to land his first carp on a fly and I was on hand to take some pics.

Landing Capt. Ahab’s carp (big as a whale, mate)


That's no minnow! To get a sense of scale, check out the big Galvan reel in the lower left. (Mark Gangi)

That’s no minnow! To get a sense of scale, check out the big Galvan reel in the lower left. (Mark Gangi)

By Mark Gangi
Guest Contributor

What a great fight that day, which created a spectacle and drew a small crowd of joggers.

The fish took off downstream, wrapped me around a large rock and then headed upstream. I didn’t jump in after him until he was deep in my backing and I thought I was going to lose another carp on the river.

The water was deeper than my hip waders so I had to slosh like a maniac upstream after him, and when I had him in shallow water he was too big to pick up by the jaw so I had to go WWF on him.

I have had my best takes with Jan’s Carp Tickler and Hise’s Carpnasty, both in brown with orange. Maybe the orange looks like tilapia eggs? Both of these flies are also visible in the water.

We love you, Howard Wong


Howard Wong saved this and three other carp from a sidewalk demise during our recent storms. (LAStormwater)

Howard Wong saved this and three other carp from a sidewalk demise during our recent storms. (LAStormwater)

Here’s a typical beauty shot, seen in fly-fishing mags in shops across America. But, this isn’t catch and release. It’s a true lifesaver as L.A. environmental Compliance Inspector Howard Wong rescues this sweet carp and three others from their waterless perch atop the bank, where they were washed up during our recent powerful storms.

Without Howard, we would be four fish short in the river. Thank you!

Hope to see you on the river, Howard. — Jim Burns

Quick mends: Spring carp spawn is on!


Spring Insanity: if you've never seen a carp spawn, now's the time. (birding for Humans)

Spring Insanity: if you’ve never seen a carp spawn, now’s the time. (birding for Humans)

The Birding for Humans blog sent me this snap yesterday. From the looks of it, carp love is in full bloom.

Go down and see for yourself. This urban river phenomenon is about as awesome as it gets. Dozens of carp make their way up river.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

When in doubt, son, sunfish rise aplenty


By B. Roderick Spilman
My wife, daughter and I try to get on the river regularly, usually every other weekend. We fish a quarter mile stretch below the 2 freeway.  I have a 6wt for the carp and 3wt for the bass.  I have caught quite a few carps, with the largest at 8 pounds.
 The bass, however, keep eluding me.
Green sunfish are one of the pllars of the L.R. River ecosystem, and fun to catch as well. (B. Roderick Spilman)

Green sunfish are one of the pllars of the L.R. River ecosystem, and fun to catch as well. (B. Roderick Spilman)

I have tried to entice them with wooly buggers, crayfish, poppers, grasshopper/cricket patterns and large elk hair, but to no avail.  I’m nearly sure they are mocking me, because, every time we go, as it’s nearing 5 in the afternoon, they begin to jump at regular intervals right in front of the reeds. I can see them clearly when they jump. They are unmistakably bass (1 to 2 pounds).  I know where they are.  I cast upstream and let the fly float down to them. Nothing.  I try to drop a fly on top of them. Nothing.  I roll cast.  Nothing.

One time, I noticed that there were rises in the middle of the river, just as the sun had set. I cast an elk hair a little upstream and gave it a few little tugs.  Sure enough something snapped it up.  I pulled it in, and, in the fading light, thought I had caught a blue gill.  When I grabbed it, however, I realized that it was a little green sunfish.
I easily slipped off the barbless hook and cast again.  Bam! Another one.
This went on for half an hour and then the rises completely stopped. None of the fish was bigger than 6 inches, but it was fun just to catch something. The activity literally lasted for no more than half an hour, while the bass were still jumping long after. It dawned on me that what cormorants and mergansers were feeding on were sunfish.  The bass must also be feeding on the sunfish.
If this is true, the sunfish are one of the pillars of the L.A. River ecosystem. Anyway, now, when I don’t catch a more noteworthy fish, I catch a couple of sunfish and I can say that I haven’t been skunked.
Got an L.A. River fishing story you’d like to tell? Email it, along with a picture, to me at lariverflyfishing@gmail.com