In 30-plus years of living in L.A., I’d never once put a toe in our river. In fact, like most Angelinos, I didn’t know we had one. All of that changed when I watched a 2010 Los Angeles Times video of a young guy pulling a carp out of some thick reeds. While watching that video the river called to me, probably in much the same way as it called to poet Lewis MacAdams, co-founder of FoLAR and a personal hero of mine. And since that time, I’ve dedicated quite a few hours per week promoting the river’s many stories on this blog. Who knows, it could be calling to you right now.
In fact, I’ve spent the last five years exploring, making new friends, fishing, reporting on river politics, and creating this community that, hopefully, you will want to join. Whether you fly fish, spin fish, or Tenkara fish doesn’t matter. It actually doesn’t matter if you fish at all, but rather enjoy the river with your dog, sit in its pocket parks with your other half, take photographs of its ugliness and its beauty, ride a bike, float a kayak, or enjoy lunch along its banks. Maybe you dream of a better river, where clean water flows and kids can safely swim. No matter what it is, this blog is dedicated to people who want to renew this long-neglected water.
It’s also important to know what this blog is not: It’s not a place for bragging, chest-thumping, nor a spot to prove that “mine’s bigger” (the fish, that it). The bravado often seen on other sites that contain the word “carp” in their titles is missing here. I’m not into that, don’t write about it, and don’t really care about it. My subtitle really describes how I feel about the river, “fishing for carp, waiting for steelhead,” for the day steelhead return — and they will return — we will know we’ve helped Los Angeles to become a better place. Think of it as the ultimate long-term investment, one for your grandchildren’s grandchildren.
What I do care about are river stories, river pictures, fish, whether they be carp, tilapia, green sunfish, bass, or the odd aquarium refugees that get tossed into the water. Send me your story and Ipics. If they fit what I’ve described here, then expect to see your work here. Because I make no money from the site, unfortunately, I can’t pay you.
I host this blog as a service to the river community. You won’t see any ads, though I do sell an occasional T-shirt. As I say after every post, “see you on the river.” I sincerely hope that I do. — Jim Burns
Stewardship on the Los Angeles River
Simple measures fisher-folks can take to make the river a healthier, more vibrant waterway:
Don’t kill and eat your catch
Red-tail hawks, osprey and other birds depend on fish for their survival
Practice catch-and-release fishing
Play your fish quickly
Use barbless hooks or bend the barb back with your hemostat
Hold your fish as gently as possible when you remove the hook
If your fish is exhausted, place back in water in your hands until it swims away
Put discarded line, bobbers and hooks in a container in your pocket
Remember all lines will not biodegrade for centuries and are a hazard to wildlife
that can become entangled and die in them
Hooks left in the water can injure wildlife, as well as barefoot humans
Buy a fishing license
Support the conservation efforts of the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
Never enter the river during rain
A flash flood can drag you downstream or worse
Download the INaturalist App
You can get biologists to help ID your catch without giving away your location
Watch for steelhead
Bridges are a natural vantage point to look for this fish after the rain has stopped and the water has cleared. Take a photograph and send it FoLAR
Keen-eyed observers have spotted steelhead in Malibu Creek, Ballona Creek and the San Gabriel River