California Killifish surprise catch for fish study
I don’t know how biologist Rosi Dagit does it but every time she calls a meeting of the fishing-for-science clan, the mercury breaks another record. Today was no exception, as around 25 sweating volunteers traveled to Willow Street in Long Beach for the last effort to see what could be caught in this important area where the Los Angeles River runs into the ocean.
We saw a dozen or so mullet, as they danced around our side of the lagoon, bobbing and weaving to invisible underwater music. Four of us tried everything in the flybox, from San Juan worm, to topside stimulator. What goes into the record book is but a shadow of what’s really in the water.
The kayak crew, pulling a net, came up empty, a disappointment.
John Tegmeyer fashioned his own boilies — like the Brits do, but with a dose of Tapatio Sauce thrown in for color — and came very close to landing a large carp.
Meanwhile, Zino Nakasuji fooled a 7-pound common carp with a pale egg pattern.
But Dabin Lee of Los Angeles handscooped the most important catch of the day — a tiny California Killifish, which is a native and lives in brackish water.
“I do it all the time,” Lee said, referring to her habit of catching small fish in her hands. It made for a remarkable end to four attempts over the last year and a half to document exactly what lives in this part of the river.
The great hope is to spot a steelhead.
“I just recently got a picture of one from Cabrillo Pier,” Dagit said.
And, of course, that is the lofty dream of so many of us, that the Southern California Steelhead, currently an endangered species, will make its comeback in tandem with the river renewal. With the anticipated El Niño this winter, we may yet get that opportunity, when fish return from the ocean, hoping to ride high water in to their inland spawning grounds.
And if you missed this part of the survey, you’ll have another opportunity. Next year, Dagit is targeting the Sepuveda Dam area in the San Fernando Valley.
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this silly video from the day.
See you on the river, Jim Burns