About fly fishing in the Los Angeles River

The Los Angeles River beckons, and this is the right time for you to get out and enjoy it.

Once electric Red Cars delivered passengers all over L.A. (Barbara Burns)

If you fly fish, bike, hike, bird watch, it’s time to check out this 51-mile-long waterway know as the Los Angeles River. This blog will keep you up-to-date on the latest from our own homegrown waters. The Los Angeles River Recreation Zone, which runs from Fletcher Bridge south some two and a half miles, just finished another successful season, closing on Labor Day.

And remember, when open during the summer, MRCA rangers check licenses! It’s cheaper to purchase a resident fishing license for $46 than to pay more than $450 in court.

This was also the first year for Off Tha’ Hook, an L.A. River fishing derby.

As I’ve reported on the river, my scope has also widened to the San Gabriel Mountains, and the watershed that feeds our river.

If there are stories you’d like to see reported, or tips you have, please post them.

Comments or thoughts, hit me up at lariverflyfishing@gmail.com.

And remember, during rainy days, stay out of the river!

See you on the river, Jim Burns

16 thoughts on “About fly fishing in the Los Angeles River

  1. Hey there! I just stumbled upon your blog while googling fishing in the LA River. Out of curiosity, what is the largest LA River carp you’ve caught? I’ve caught a bunch in there and the biggest one so far was about 6 or 7 pounds. Lots of small ones so far this year. Of course I catch and release. I look forward to hearing from you! Wonder if there are any real monsters down there.

  2. Hi Gary. Like you say, there are lots of carp in that range. I caught one that I think was more in the 10-pound range, or a tad bigger (I didn’t have a scale, so I’m not completely sure). Somewhere on the blog, there’s a pic of a fly fisher with a pretty good-sized carp. I’ve heard that they get to into the 20-plus range.

  3. Hi! Ive been down to the river several times and seen some beautiful and fishy waters, I have had no luck whatsoever hooking up with carp there. Any tips? Should I be sight fishing only, or should I toss my glo-bug in riffles, etc, “trout-like” spots? are you moving around alot or focusing on a particular spot for a while?

    • Hi Steven,

      Catching carp on the river is tough, no doubt about it. Your best bet is to spend some time in a section and, yes, look for fish. Once you’ve found them, check out their behavior.
      If they’re swimming quickly upstream, they won’t feed. If they’re circling quickly, ditto. If they are jumping out of the water, forgetaboutit. What you want are fish close to the
      bottom (you’ll be able to see them) that are actively feeding. Throw your Glo-Bug (chartreuse is good) upstream about six feet. The fish are also super-spooky. If the
      egg passes above their heads, add a bit of weight. You have to basically float it past a two-to-three foot feeding cone. Then — bam — listen to your reel whine!

      Good luck, Jim

    • You don’t fish in the river bed you snag you put a couple split shots with a treble hook and you shoot it to the foot of the cement walls and drag your hook and attempt to snag a fish. Then when you get a good sized carp stick a hook in them and attach to a leader line and a good sized piece of wood that floats and follow it back and forth and find where the school is at then snag 10ft in front and 10ft in back.

  4. Great blog. Your recent (May 2012) entry regarding trash resonates. It’s hard to feel like people can change. It’s super ironic when it’s done by fishermen who one would think care about the scenery, safety etc. Are you hip to this Carp event: http://carpthrowdown.com ? On behalf of Conway Bowman, Al Q and the rest of the team, I extend an invitation.

  5. I grew up in Whitter California and fished (actually no bait snagged with treble hooks in the LA River Bed off of Whitter Blvd between pico riveria and mines blvd and personally caught 12- 15 lb carp)Mid 1970’s to early 1980’s. And I’ve seen over a 100 dead carp floating on top of the water when the oxygen level would drop(in water).
    Does anyone rember seeing or fishing in that area.

  6. okay iwas thinking about it and may be more like 8-10 pounders. i thought about it and i dont want this to sound like the big one that got away.

  7. Hey, just stumbled onto your blog and found it really interesting. I’m a birder, not a fisherman, but I was hanging out by the river today and saw a bunch of good-sized fish, carp I guess, struggling upstream in very shallow water. Had no idea that happens in the L.A. River. So I googled “spawning la river” and bam – you’re the first hit. Thanks for the info – good stuff!

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