Tag: featured

Trout Unlimited’s Bowtie workshops impact urban fishing

First-timer Michael, left, gets a lesson in the art of the improved clinch knot from TU volunteer Tom Blankenship, while attendee Erica looks on. (Jim Burns)

Over the last couple of weekends, the stalwarts of Trout Unlimited South Coast Chapter put on a series of beginning workshops at the Bowtie parcel, a 17-acre site near Fletcher Bridge that is as urban as it gets. In 2003, California State Parks purchased the narrow strip of land adjacent the Los Angeles River, once part of Southern Pacific Railroad’s maintenance and operations facilities called Taylor Yards. If nothing else, it’s a chance to squint your eyes and see what it could become.

And Los Angelinos certainly have embraced this urban outlier in any number of positive ways, including the LA River Campout that is so popular, the 75 campers are chosen through a lottery. This chance to cuddle up in a sleeping bag and see the stars is an initiative of California State Parks in partnership with Clockshop, the National Park Service and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

As for fishing, TU led the way last year with “Vamos a Pescar,” during which some 120 urbanites learned to fish.

This year’s stats showed 110 attendees over the two May weekends, with a third under 18, and pretty evenly split overall between female and male.

After two Saturdays filled with the joy of passing our sport along to others — and the chance to practice patience while unspooling line from inside a reel (how does that happen?), I thought of these words from “A Place in Between”:

What is a park? Is it a place to escape the surrounding city? A place to breathe and contemplate? Or is it a gather place? A place to celebrate, laugh, play and compete? Perhaps it is a place to learn and grow? A place where our shared cultural and natural histories are celebrated? Is it a place of beauty? A place of pride designed by our finest architects? Or a place apart, left alone for nature to run its course?”

THE PREZ SEZ: Chapter President Ban Luu makes a point to the crowd about river ecology. (Jim Burns)

As you squint your eyes at the Bowtie, what is magically becomes what could be. Our collective imagination will be our compass, our guide, our pole star for the future.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Holy mackerel, Dad caught a Largemouth Bass on the L.A. River!

Seeing is believing: Catching a Largemouth Bass can make your whole day. (photos by Roland Trevino)
Seeing is believing: Catching a Largemouth Bass can make your whole day. (photos by Roland Trevino)

By Roland Trevino

I went fishing with my dad at the L.A. River this weekend.  He was using a 4-wt. rod with a yellow popper and casting above dad and largemouththe tail-out of a large pool.  On his first cast he got a short strike that broke the water.

After a couple of casts, and a nice splash, he hooked into a real fighter.

At first, we thought he had hooked a large Green Sunfish, but after a short battle, he landed this little Largemouth Bass!

Got an L.A. River fishing story you’d like to tell? Email it, along with a picture, to me at lariverflyfishing@gmail.com

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

Why do carp jump?

A few days ago, with a half-hour to kill, I put a line in my favorite spot at the river. With trout, that’s usually enough time to hook up, but not with carp. At least, that’s the way it rolls on our river, and for moi.

California Dreamin’: Could we ever be legally kayaking in the river and watching jumping carp? (Courtesy Weekly Times Now)

But I did get to see one jump way out of the pool, then come down in an inelegant belly flop.

Last year, when I started carping, I’d see this and think “Oh, man, am I ever gonna hook that sucker,” but not anymore. Jumping carp are interested in something, but not eating a fly.

So … why do they jump? Fun? Recreation? Boredom?

I checked the bible — “Carp on the Fly” by Barry Reynolds and friends — to find this passage. Italics are mine:

“Shallow-water hell raisers are exactly that: carp that are making a spectacle of themselves by leaping, splashing, and thrashing in the shallows. These fish seem utterly oblivious to the dangers they may face by drawing attention to themselves.

True … see Carp Clubbing entry on this blog.

Often, there is a reason for this, particularly in the spring when carp are spawning. As you might expect, spawning fish are usually not very interested in your fly — they have other things in mind.

True, but this happened in June — no spawn on.

But at other times, these hell raisers are carp that are smashing through schools of baitfish and they’re a very good target for a small streamer.

False for the L.A. River. I’ve never seen a school of baitfish on it.

So … what causes this behavior? Here’s an answer from a carp fishing forum based in Georgia:

“Carp actively break the surface of the water for two reasons. Both reasons are due to water quality/lack of oxygen. If the ph factor is too acidic or the dissolved oxygen count is too low carp come up to seek more comfortable conditions. Carp normally stay and feed and roam on the bottom. When they are on the surface they are almost impossible to catch.”

Sounds good, but who knows (except for that last part, which is true, true!)

I put together this poll from various answers found on the Web. Any fish biologists out there care to clear up this mystery?

See you on the river, Jim Burns