More than one record set at latest Vamos a Pescar

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PHOTO OPP: Co-event organizer Ban Luu, left, helps Patricia Perez release her carp fry back into the LA River, as Luis Rincon, community engagement coordinator for the Los Angeles State Historic Park, returns a rod to another participant. Trout Unlimited gave away fishing lessons, mini-tackle boxes and rods to 120 L.A. residents. (Jim Burns)

On a day when temperature records were getting broken all over the Southland, Patricia Perez broke a record of her own: six fish caught on the lukewarm LA River.

“I’d never caught one fish until today,” Perez said.

IMG_9925She was one of the 120 Angelinos who took advantage of Trout Unlimited’s Vamos a Pescar program to learn how to fish our urban water.

“She was the first one on the water with me this morning, “co-event organizer Ban Luu said.

Before 9 a.m., both Luu and Perez had hooked green catfish on his secret masa recipe. And before the event officially ended early at 11:30 because of the intense heat, she’d caught five small carp as well.

All fish were released successfully back into the river.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

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Arroyo Seco hosts free trout workshop

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With proper care, this little guy will grow up to make us all proud. (Courtesy Steve Kuchenski)

Greetings Trout Scouts!

As a reminder, the Arroyo Seco Foundation will be hosting a free trout habitat survey workshop this Sunday.

The workshop will feature Ken Jarrett, a fisheries biologist with Stillwater Sciences, and cover key methods for professional stream assessment. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in river restoration and native fish!

There are still spots left. Please RSVP to me (scott@arroyoseco.org) if you can make it.
Date & Time
Sunday, May 20, 9AM – 2PM (includes a lunch break)

Location
Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery in Hahamongna Watershed Park (The nursery can be hard to find. Click here for directions.)

Parking and restrooms are available at the nursery. From there we will take a short walk over to the stream channel and learn stream surveying methods for the assessment of native trout habitat. Be prepared for insects and uneven/slippery terrain. Some activities (such are measuring the stream gradient) will be done in the water, and closed toe shoes are required.
What to Bring
• Water
• Sun protection
• Sack lunch
• Note-taking materials
• Closed toe shoes (ideally water shoes or rubber boots if you have them)
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you!
Scott David Cher

Rainbow Trout Restoration Project
 
Arroyo Seco Foundation
(323) 405-7326

Are there ‘trainable fish’ on the LA River?

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At today’s first Carp Town Hall, carp guru and recent California transplant Trevor Tanner makes a point about our local river’s prime catch. (Jim Burns)

This just in from one of the heavyweights of carp fly fishing: LA River carp are trainable. Trevor Tanner, the master behind the unfortunately almost-shuttered Fly-Carpin’ blog, and recent transplant from Denver to Ventura, ran through a mind-boggling grab bag of carp-catching tips during the first Carp Town Hall at Fishermen’s Spot this afternoon.

Moderated by local salt master Al Q, the informal panel also featured Dustin Sergent, one of the winner’s at and last year’s Carp Throwdown  and longtime river fly fisher Jon Nakano.

This guy is obviously in love with a species once spurned, which has caught on with fly fishers across the country since the publication of “Carp on the Fly” in 1997.

Word on the street and not independently confirmed, but apparently four Colorado fishing guides in town for the obligatory Disneyland E ticket also found some time to fish the LA! Let me repeat that: guides from Colorado took time out of their vacation to fish our river. Wow.

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From one generation to the next, anglers take notes while dreaming of that big fish to come. (Jim Burns)

But the negative of this newfound popularity: If you’ve been loving the lack of pressure on our river, it’s coming. And, as Tanner pointed out yesterday’s fly patterns may not be working as well as they used to because, yup, carp learn what’s being thrown at them and eventually stop responding. I’ll be featuring the newest carp fly in a later post.

It was a fascinating lecture from a man who has established himself as a go-to guru in the field. He estimated his own take at 1,500 carp.

Tidbits from his lecture:

— Carp will thrash your typical trout knots (Amen). Ditch the surgeon’s knot and improved clinch. Instead, learn to tie a Bimini Twist for tippet, as well as the non-slip loop knot for flies.

— But, conversely, use a “trout set” instead of a “strip set” for hook-ups.

— Stick with the more gnarly (and expensive) fluorocarbon, instead of monofilament.

— Forget the overrated crayfish fly and instead try matching your fly to the scenery instead of to the hatch. This may sound weird, but it makes sense.

— Learn the “drag ‘n’ drop” presentation to avoid scaring the bejesus out of the fish with a Blue Plate special — aiming the fly at the sweet spot “dinner plate” around the head, only to watch him quickly swim away, spooked by your fly.

— Use a net.

And, of the 12 states and various places in which he has fished for carp, Tanner rated the No. 1 most difficult as Denver’s South Platt River and the easiest as … I’ll let you put two and two together.  So if you’re just starting out and missed a load of hookups, don’t despair, it could be worse.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

TU receives $20K for ‘Vamos a Pescar’ program

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ONE OF 2015’S WINNERS Issaih Salgado, then-15, of Palmdale (left) hangs with event organizer Bill Bowling. (Jim Burns)

And now for some gloom-free news: For all of you who have sorely missed FoLAR’s “Off Tha Hook” fishing throwback on the LA River, rejoice:

Trout Unlimited’s South Coast Chapter, based in OC, has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to provide instruction, equipment, and support for local families to participate in a series of fishing outings on the Los Angeles River this year, according to the TU website.

The funding for this grant comes from the George H. W. Bush Vamos a Pescar Education Fund administered by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. The Vamos a Pescar initiative is focused on engaging Hispanic families in fishing, boating, and conservation activities.

As a consultant on “Off Tha Hook,”  I’m super excited kids will once again have a structured way to engage our river and catch the passion we all love. My favorite memories of the three fishing throwback years were of kids — kids rushing down the rip-rap to get to the water; kids learning how to knot a hook on a line; kids wondering where in the heck all the fish went; and — blam — kids hooking up on possibly the first fish of their young lives.

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TROUT UNLIMITED’S Bob Blankenship meets the official greeter during the last “Off Tha Hook” in 2016. (Jim Burns).

As TU chapter president Robert Blankenship, who was instrumental in “Off Tha Hook”  along with FoLAR co-founder Lewis MacAdams and former all-star-staffer William Preston Bowling, said in that same post:

“In an increasingly wired world, fishing encourages Americans young and old to discover and connect with the nature around us, even in highly urbanized settings such as the greater Los Angeles area. This grant funding will allow us to introduce dozens of kids and adults to the wonders of fishing who may never have had such opportunity.”

Events begin in May, including one on a no-fishing-license-required day, July 7. Read the post for more information.

See you on the river, Jim Burns