Quick Mends: The Flyfish Journal focuses on LA River carp


In its new issue, The Flyfish Journal features carping the LA River, putting our water in the august company of tournament trout in Wyoming, springtime in Patagonia and fly-in fishing the Northwest Territories.

Not bad for a piker, as I tease my wife whenever really good things happen.

LA’s own Daniel Lopez penned the piece with able assists from his posse, which included LARFF guest contributor Greg Madrigal, and a nice photograph from FoLAR’s William Preston Bowling.

In the same issue, writer Andrew Steketee in Confluence: Los Angeles Steelhead Theory tells us:

fullsizerender-2“Historically, Oncorhynchus mykiss were present in Zuma Creek, and fish migrated upstream to spawn in the headwaters before heading downstream as smolts. Dams and diversions have disrupted passage throughout the drainage. Predation from fish, birds, raccoons, river otters, lampreys, pinnipeds and humans. Natural propagation in abeyance. This may be the part where Jesus returns to tell us what to do.”

I guess that’s supposed to be funny. If anyone has a picture of a river otter in Southern California, please let me know.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

It’s a bird’s life

Local bird watcher and photographer Roger Cook snagged some excellent shots of wildlife along the LA River in Long Beach. In modern life, we are so separated from the cycles of nature. Walk into a Trader Joe’s and you’d think all food — organic spinach, frozen peas, bone-in pork chops — is spawned by little plastic-wrapped containers. These shots tell a truer tale.

See you on the river, Jim Burns




Volunteer Opportunity: Help stock Hot Creek, electroshock Mammoth Creek, Sept. 26-Oct. 6

Hot Creek

HOT CREEK has been a mecca for fly fishers for decades, and now is in trouble. (Courtesy California Fly Fishing)

Note: This is from Pasadena Casting Club, but has broad appeal to the fly fishing community. — Jim Burns

Dear PCC members,

As you probably know, Hot Creek has essentially crashed over the last year or more: few fish, small fish.  Recent DFW electroshocking bears this out.

Dr. Mark Drew, eastern Sierra CalTrout Headwaters project director, told us at our September meeting that a perfect storm of factors is probably responsible.  He listed the opening of Hot Creek to winter fishing without the promised Department of Fish and Wildlife annual health monitoring, the prolonged drought and the concomitant 50 percent decreased in the flow of the spring that feeds the stream as probable causes.

This year for the first time in memory, Mammoth Creek dried up briefly.

DFW has done a quick study and finds no issues with water quality or food availability.  Under pressure from the community that would suffer economic loss if the fishery does not recover, they have decided to stock HC with diploid rainbow trout, which can mature and reproduce.  CalTrout and DFW are asking for our help.  Here are the details.

Monday, Sept. 26 through Friday, Sept. 30:  help electroshock Mammoth Creek.

Thursday, Oct. 6: help with the placement of 6,000 fish in Hot Creek.  (They plan to place 12,000 per year for several years, and do electroshock surveys to see how the spawn is doing.)

If you can participate in either or part of these scheduled tasks, please contact Dr. Mark Drew at mdrew@caltrout.org

or call him at (760) 709-1492.  He will provide snacks and lunch.

Also please let me know if you are participating.

Thank you.

John Tobin

Conservation Chair


Volunteer Opportunity: Fish Willow Street this Wednesday with FoLAR

DSC_5695 Long Beach Fish Study May 13 of 2014 photos by William Preston Bowling

ALL IN: Are you ready to discover fishing in a restricted area of the river in Long Beach? (William Preston Bowling)

If you are free to help fish Willow Street in Long Beach on Wednesday from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m., please let William Preston Bowling at FoLAR know by RSVPing wpb@folar.org. He’ll fill you in on the particulars, including where to meet. 

The group will  walk the bike path with elected officials to show them that recreational fishing around Willow Street is possible, and instead of using their imagination it would be awesome for them to look down and see a bunch of anglers enjoying recreational fishing.
Catch & release only.
See you on the river, Jim Burns

Third annual Off Tha’ Hook is ‘bass in action’


MARY JANE GARCIA gets little help from her brother as she poses with her trophy and bling. (Jim Burns)

On a cloudy Saturday, the third annual Off Tha’ Hook fishing throwback got off to a solid start as 20 adult anglers descended the riprap to the river. What happened to the additional 17 fishers who signed up is anyone’s guess, but some speculated that the change of location, from North Atwater Park to the Bowtie Parcel could have contributed.


WINNER KEN MORRIS contemplates which  Trout Unlimited flies he received as gifts for joining the organization will match river aquatics. (Jim Burns)

Whatever the reason, action started early when Chris Manno of Los Feliz hooked a beautiful largemouth bass with his spinning rod and lure. He looked to have it going on into the home stretch until Ken Morris, also of Los Feliz, also hooked a bass, which, when inspected by the biologist Rosi Dagit, turned out to be 2 centimeters longer as well as heftier in the midsection. Morris also landed another bass and two green sunfish.

If we were horse racing, it would have been a win “by a nose.”


A BASS gets measured before being returned to the river. (Jim Burns)

This was a first, in that carp have won the grand prize the last two years.

Meanwhile, the kids event really took off this year, perhaps doubling in size from 2015. A hundred children and teenagers had to go through four checkpoints with their parents before getting a rod and heading down to the water.

In the kids’ division, Mary Jane Garcia, 9, of Koreatown, caught not one, but two small carp.

When asked what her spinning rod bait was, her father gave a knowing look. After all, he’d nearly landed a carp earlier in the adult division.

“Tortillas,” he said, “just plain tortillas.”

Yes, the tried and true LA River carp elixir.

Meanwhile, Elijah Rodriguez, 16, of Los Angeles also won in the kids division for a beautiful, large tilapia.


IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY to get in some casting practice, especially in matching blue T-shirts. (Jim Burns)

Also, this year, besides being at a new site, three fly fishing clubs supported the tournament, Pasadena Casting Club, Downey Fly Fishers and the Southwestern Council, which is actually composed of more than 20 area fly fishing clubs. PCC again donated a box of flies; and Downey was busy tying flies for the kids to use on the river. Patagonia donated more than $700 in gear, and Harley Davidson also contributed prizes this year as well.

Trout Unlimited provided lots of fly casting instruction, in which the object was to get the unhooked fly to set off a mouse trap. TU’s Bob Blankenship and Drew Irby are men of infinite patience, setting and resetting the traps, as well as untangling more than a fair share of birds’ nests.

Finally, Ken Jarrett, of Morro Bay, netted a minuscule Mississippi Silver Sides, winning the “rarest species” award.

“That’s the first time we’ve found one of those in the LA River,” Dagit said.

Below is video proof that there’s really nothing like catching your first fish. This video, taken by Bradley Martin, shows his son Wyatt hooking a fish for the first time.

See you on the river, Jim Burns