“Trout Scout’ finds water, critical habitat conditions, in Arroyo Seco


By John Goraj
Guest Contributor

Hello all:

I wanted to give you a quick update on the initial “trout scout” that Arroyo Seco Foundation and volunteers did last week at Switzer’s Falls on Feb. 11. Please keep in mind that this first trip was not meant to be a technical, scientific survey, but rather to get a general idea of the habitat conditions for native trout and stream ecology/hydrology at the moment. But, the next few trips will become more technical as time goes on, employing GIS, DNA extraction and using snorkeling and wetsuit gear to look for trout.

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One of several 3-4 foot deep pools we saw as we made our way through the canyon. (Courtesy John Goraj)

We walked about two miles down the trail, stopping several times along the way to survey conditions and look for evidence of life. One thing is for certain — the Arroyo Seco has not flowed this turbulently in several years! I would guess that the streamflow was close to 50-75 cubic feet per second. It was so wonderful to see. We had to jump over the stream on rocks and downed logs several times along the way. There were several three-to-four-foot-deep pools as we made our way through the canyon. Many of these pools possessed some critical habitat features needed for rainbow trout: clean gravel beds; in-stream woody debris and boulders that create additional pools, turbulent, cool water and overhanging vegetation creating cover. Additionally, the strong root systems of white alder and cottonwood trees that line the stream have established solid banks, which is another key component of healthy mountain streams needed to sustain trout species.

Although we did not see any fish this time, the most salient observation I can make right now is that I do believe some trout are living up there. All or most of the necessary habitat conditions are present and I think it’s only a matter of time before we see some fish.

The next survey will focus on going deeper into the Bear Canyon area. I have heard from several anglers that they have seen trout up here prior to the 2009 Station Fire. The combined effects of the fire and the recent five-year drought had made seeing trout in this area improbable. But I don’t think this is case anymore. The Switzer Falls/Bear Canyon area is recovering quickly and now with all the rain and snowmelt, conditions have changed for the better.

Thank you for your interest as always and feel free to email me with any questions or comments at: john@arroyoseco.org.

Volunteer Opportunity: Scout for trout in the Arroyo Seco


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This brown got fooled by a lot of elk hair caddis on a size 14 hook. (Jim Burns)

Hello Stewards,

My name is John Goraj (john@arroyoseco.org). I am emailing you because Tim Brick, managing director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation, passed along your info to me.
I am program manager for the native trout restoration project that we are starting now. All of you have expressed interest in wanting to help with our initial fish surveys. Thanks for being involved in this exciting project!
Isn’t it great that all of this rain has caused the Arroyo to flow so abundantly? The time has come to go and look for some fish!
I am planning on doing a scout on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 10 am. If you can make it, meet at the Switzer Falls Trailhead parking lot in the Angeles Crest. This location does require an Adventure Pass or day pass FYI.
If you can’t make it this time, that’s okay. We’ll be going up there several more times this spring. If you have any questions or would like to discuss more with me, you can contact me though the contact info below. I would love to hear any and all suggestions you may have.
Thanks for your time. I look forward to meeting you,

What are the odds for ‘tencarpa’?


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WHAT MOST of us don’t have: a Nissin Red Dragon carp rod. (courtesy TenkaraBum)

Who is using a tenkara rod on the river to catch carp? If you haven’t see this “experiment” from a couple of guides in Salt Lake City, it’s pretty cool. Have a look here.

My thought, though, is that if you can’t take some of the fight out of a carp, you’ll never land it, especially if your rod is geared for trout, at 4x or 5x. As our friends over at TenkaraBum said, ” Fishing for carp with a tenkara rod is like taking a knife to a gun fight.

Let me know if you’ve had any luck with tenkara and carp. My son gave me a one for Christmas (for trout), but I’ve yet to check it out.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

 

 

I am so excited to see this post on your blog Jim! This past season I caught my first carp on a Tenkara rod, the Tenkara USA Ito rod actually. I was using 5x tippet and kebari style fly I tied myself. This rod was certainly not made to fish for Carp and I was glad to have the 5x tippet, which theoretically should break before the rod does. The fight lasted a good 10 minutes but I successfully landed the fish without a net. The fish was pretty tired afterwards though and it took a long time for me to revive her before releasing.

ISSAC'S FIRST carp caught on a tenkara rod.

ISSAC’S FIRST carp caught on a tenkara rod. (Courtesy Issac Tait, fallfishtenkara.com)

A rod with more power (like the one you pictured above the Nissin Red Dragon carp rod) would allow you to bring the fish to hand much quicker, therefore reducing their stress. Chris at Tenkara Bum recommends 2x tippet for the Nissin Red Dragon carp rod so you can really put a nice bend in the rod with large fish and not worry about anything breaking. Here is a picture of my first Carp (right around 55cm long not sure on the weight though)

Winter fly fishing rocks in the San Gabriels


Note: I wanted to bring back this post from 2012. With all the rain we’re getting, maybe fly fishing will return to what it was in the San Gabriel Mountains before the drought and the Station Fire. Winter’s always a good time to dream about the next cast. 

The canyons are full of quiet, beautiful, "fishy" spots. (Jim Burns)

The canyons are full of quiet, beautiful, “fishy” spots. (Jim Burns)

Brrr, it’s cold out there, and even colder in the many fishable canyons of So. Cal’s San Gabriel mountains. Here’s how to have some fun:

1. Play hooky any Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Skip Friday and forgettabout the weekend. There are always several thousand people who have the same idea at the same time. Crowds = lousy fishing.

2. Dress warmly in layers. Long underwear is a blessing this time of year.

3. Take it easy on the way down. Watch for gravel, sand and rocks that might give way. They will. Count on it.

4. Start with dries and move to nymphs. I know what you’re thinking: no hatch = no surface action. You might be surprised. Of the 10 fish I caught on my recent canyon adventure, two were on dries. Pick the usual suspects. Parachute Adams and his friends.

5. When you do reach into your fly box for a nymph, give that beadhead yellow sallie a try. I know it’s an underused Stone Fly, but the other eight fish I caught were all on this fly. Must be the legs.

This little rainbow got snapped quickly and then went back in the frigid stream water. (Jim Burns)

This little rainbow got snapped quickly and then went back in the frigid stream water. (Jim Burns)

6. Smaller is better. Even with all of our rain, flows are down. Size 14-16 or above, please.

7. Pack a lunch and extra water.

8. Bring a friend, someone who will make you laugh at some of those tiny trout you’re bound to hook.

9. Don’t wear hiking boots on slippery rocks. Just because the water’s cold, any rock in the water is still as slippery as it is in summer.

10. Turn your cellphone off. Keep your camera on. I know, you’re saying that there’s no service up there anyway. True, but it’s the principle.

11. Post your pics, so we can all see how good you look grippin’ ‘n’ grinnin’.

12. Keep an extra water and energy snack in the car.

Baker’s dozen: Get down. Get tired. Get silly. Get grateful. Repeat.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Will East Fork again become vulnerable to suction dredging?


screen-shot-2017-01-21-at-4-13-17-pmFellow anglers,

In a political time, it’s once again time to get political.

If you thought that suction dredging mining was banned for good from the East Fork of the San Gabriel River outside Los Angeles, and other once-pristine California waters, think again.

You can read my coverage from 2012. I thought it was a done deal that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife would be allowed to stop illegal activities even on federal lands, even within a national monument. But Pasadena Casting Club Conservation Chair John Tobin recently alerted me that, sadly, it might not be the case in the future.

As Tobin wrote in an email, “California Senate Bill 637, effective January 1, 2016, created a path for the statutory prohibition against suction dredge mining on our California streams to be lifted.”

Currently, there’s a case before the California Supreme Court challenging whether state environmental law that makes a particular mining claim on federal land commercially impractical preempted by the federal mining laws, according to the brief.

In other words, can California through its police power protect the environment, even on federal land?

For anglers, this means a choice between antiquated, destructive machinery disrupting the stream bed and scattering whatever trout may have thrived there for a largely recreational activity. Imagine trying to wet a line next to one of these contraptions. Imagine the downstream effect to the water.

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Can you imagine trying to fish downstream from this suction dredging mining operation? (Photo courtesy of Trout Unlimited.)

You can lend your voice either at Trout Unlimited  on suction dredging issue or at Friends of the River alert on suction dredging.

You use our national lands to enjoy one of the best parts of your recreational life. Help make suction dredge mining a thing of the past.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Easy steps to clean that dirty reel


If you've fishing the L.A. River, at least once a season, think about cleaning your reel. (Jim Burns)

If you’ve fishing the L.A. River, at least once a season, think about cleaning your reel. (Jim Burns)

Sand and gunk make their way into your reel. (Jim Burns)

Sand and gunk make their way into your reel. (Jim Burns)

Take the plunge, and soak your reel in mild dish detergent. (Jim Burns)

Take the plunge, and soak your reel in mild dish detergent. (Jim Burns)

Buy some light reel oil, or, better yet, raid the wife's Singer for sewing machine oil. (Jim Burns)

Buy some light reel oil, or, better yet, raid the wife’s Singer for sewing machine oil. (Jim Burns)

Yuck! It's a dirty world out there, so as you oil, also use your cotton tip to clean those hard-to-get-at places. (Jim Burns)

Yuck! It’s a dirty world out there, so as you oil, also use your cotton tip to clean those hard-to-get-at places. (Jim Burns)

Man, that's shiny clean! Time to put it back together. (Jim Burns)

Man, that’s shiny clean! Time to put it back together. (Jim Burns)