Let’s celebrate catch and release fishing on the LA River

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CATCH AND RELEASE fishing helps sustain a healthy fish population. (Courtesy Freddie Wiedmann)

By Freddie Wiedmann

Guest Contributor

I am a fellow carp enthusiast, living in L.A. I love reading your blog, especially how you suggest treatment of the fish (barbless hooks, catch and release, etc.).

I haven’t met a single person in the U.S. who is an advocate of caring for the fish like this. I am from Germany and we are all used to very good fishing practices in handling fish — in fact, it’s the law. So thank you for spreading the good word.

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LANDING MONSTER GOLD at Lake Balboa in 2014. (Courtesy Freddie Wiedmann)

In Germany, everyone who wants to fish must acquire a fishing license that involves three-to-four months of classes with a practical and theoretical test. You need to learn everything about every living organism in the water, frogs, algae, etc., and that includes human treatment of the fish. If you are caught fishing without a landing net, you pay a fine.

 

 

 

William McCann says:

Thank you for another great post. I went to England some years back and marveled at the care and reverence shown to Carp fishing. As we have magazines devoted to Bass fishing, they have almost as much about Carp. From the few Carp that I have caught I have learned that they are twice the gamefish that a Largemouth Bass is. It is wonderful to see a resource like the LA River and the fish that live there treated with the respect that they deserve. I live in the Bay Area and remember when the Bay and it”s wetland system were treated with the same scorn that a lot of folks have given the LA River. To move ahead and fix some of the short sighted actions of the past we all have to work at keeping our eyes fresh for the hidden beauty that is always there. We have some creeks up this way that are in need of the kind of creative thinking that is going on in LA, and you are inspiring to get involved. Keep up the great work. Thanks again.

 

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Seven tips to follow when stalking L.A. River carp

The L.A. River Glo-Bug in chartreuse has captured many a wary carp. (Jim Burns)

The Terminator Glo-Bug in chartreuse has captured many a wary carp. (Jim Burns)

Update: May 29, 2015

Summer carp journal

Saturday, May 23, 4:30-7:30, overcast, 70, 12 pound tippet. One carp charged and then turned away from a swimming nymph, rust brown dubbing with lighter rabbit tail (size 8).

Tuesday, May 26, 2:30-5:30, overcast, 70, 2X tippet. After rejections on bead head black wooly worm with red yarn tail and bead head swimming nymph with crazy orange dubbing and lighter rabbit tail. (size 8) hooked up on a carp dragon (Orvis). Carp eventually got free because I didn’t set hook deep enough. Saw about 50 pass me in the water, few feeding. Saw the white one again.

Thursday, May 28, 2:30-5:15, clear, 81, 3X tippet. Fish swam up to all of my flies, except the squirmy wormy. That means tortilla fly on red hook, terminator glo bug in chartreuse and orange, all got mighty big looks, but ultimate rejections. Saw the white boy several times, and there were lots and lots of carp. Also, again, “muddling” by one really aggressive fish, but it’s hard to see which way the fish goes through the mud. Also, chummed with two cans of corn to pretty negligible results. The tortilla fly is a dead ringer for canned corn. Didn’t make any differen
ce.

Commenter Steve recently asked me: I’ve 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 a lot or focusing on a particular spot for a while?

Great questions. Hope that my response will lead to more catches for more fisherman.

Catching carp on the river is tough, no doubt about it. Follow these seven tips:

1. Don’t be in a hurry.

2. Your best bet is to spend some time in a section and, yes, look for fish.

3. Once you’ve found them, check out their behavior.

4. If they’re swimming quickly upstream, they won’t feed.

5. If they’re circling quickly, ditto.

6.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. If you see bursts of mud coming up from the bottom, they’re feeding.

7. Target a single fish. 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. Don’t let the line touch their head or sides. Immediate spook results.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Wonder Bread blues

Wonder Bread: A loaf of Classic White will costs you $4.50 (Jim Burns)>

With a day off and perfect L.A. winter fishing weather, my son and I hoped to follow up on a thread that’s been going around and around on this blog — the bread fly — so we headed down to the rio, armed with a freshly baked and newly purchased loaf. That’s really the first rub of this story.  Wonder Bread will now set you back $4.50!

Our strategy was simple: chum one, chum all.

L.A. River carp are tough to catch, period, so why not chum for them? Previous comments here  have shown that our comrades in other states will fish their bread flies while bird fanciers are carbo-loading ducks, geese and other waterfowl on the water. The idea is carp swim under the feeding fowl to munch their fair share of the treats, while the feathers on top continue feasting. Sounded like stealthy fun.

That mid-morning, armed with “classic white,” we approached the most likely fishing hole, one where the current doesn’t drag the bread toward Long Beach in a few seconds. We set up the rods and started rolling gummy bread balls.

After a few misfires, our aim got better as we tossed the white morsels away from the constant current in the pool. Excited as schoolboys with a snow day, we waited for the inevitable rise, the inevitable feeding frenzy. Carp enjoying a free meal, and one that would allow us to place our newly tied bread flies right in front of them.

Problem: Nothing happened, or rather what did happened wasn’t what we wanted, the story of so many science experiments.

After a few minutes of Wonder Bread chumming, lots of creatures did show up, eating the sandwich morsels kids used to love. Unfortunately, they were winged, instead of finned.

Watching sea gulls hover, then swoop down on a tasty inch-round ball gave me new respect for them. Not quite eagles zeroing in on mice, but their aim from 10 feet up was dead on.

Not to be outdone, the thin line of mallard ducks flapped up as well, and about that time, we did see two suspicious water circles, hugging the bank, too funky for a decent cast. That was it …

Cursing the fact that we were landlocked, having left the waders at home, we tried chumming three different spots with even worse results: no fish, no birds, no nada.

No bread-induced chum boil of carp.

No big fish bending rods to the water.

No spinning reels with whining line chasing a fast shadow.

Which brings me to my New Year’s fly fishing resolution: Spend more time on the three above points.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Tips for catching carp on the L.A. River

Nothing like catching that first fish on a new reel. (Courtesy David Wratchford)

Update: May 29, 2015. three outings, no carp in the net.

Summer carp journal

Saturday, May 23, 4:30-7:30, overcast, 70, 12 pound tippet. One carp charged and then turned away from a swimming nymph, rust brown dubbing with lighter rabbit tail (size 8).

Tuesday, May 26, 2:30-5:30, overcast, 70, 2X tippet. After rejections on bead head black wooly worm with red yarn tail and bead head swimming nymph with crazy orange dubbing and lighter rabbit tail. (size 8) hooked up on a carp dragon (Orvis). Carp eventually got free because I didn’t set hook deep enough. Saw about 50 pass me in the water, few feeding. Saw the white one again.

Thursday, May 28, 2:30-5:15, clear, 81, 3X tippet. Fish swam up to all of my flies, except the squirmy wormy. That means tortilla fly on red hook, terminator glo bug in chartreuse and orange, all got mighty big looks, but ultimate rejections. Saw the white boy several times, and there were lots and lots of carp. Also, again, “muddling” by one really aggressive fish, but it’s hard to see which way the fish goes through the mud. Also, chummed with two cans of corn to pretty negligible results. The tortilla fly is a dead ringer for canned corn. Didn’t make any difference.

Commenter Steve recently asked me: I’ve 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 a lot or focusing on a particular spot for a while?

Great questions. Hope that my response will lead to more catches for more fisherman.

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!

See you on the river, Jim Burns