What’s up with the cutty squeeze?


(Courtesy The Flyfish Journal)

Two years ago, I got pretty excited by the cover of The Drake, showing the ultimate in fish handling: this salt-water fav actually stayed totally submerged, with the fisher’s hands and rod in the background. I thought that was a model for handing catch-and-release fish, and one that made me question some of my own fish wrangling, especially when taking that all-important beauty shot.

Over the weekend, I received the latest The Flyfish Journal with the above cover. Doesn’t it look like this cutthroat trout is getting squeezed? The magazine features a bunch of excellent pictures from fishers in a photo article called “Rises,” but to promote this kind of fish handling on the cover I find questionable.

From that 2015 piece, something to ponder from Gordon M. Wickstrom, the author of “The History of Fishing for Trout with Artificial Flies in Britain and America: A Chronology of Five Hundred Years, 1496 to 2000,” who wrote about six periods in fly fishing for the Orvis News blog in 2011:

“In closing, allow me to play the prophet: I think that, in this New Period of angling, we are part of an important cultural shift toward a deeper humanity and mercy of the good Earth. We may find ourselves living quite differently, living better with less, with a greater delicacy, clarity, balance and honestly. Fishing a fly on a clear, cold stream may well serve as a working model and inspiration for what we want. It shows forth qualities — environmental, psychological, social, economic and political — that we need to incorporate into the future.”

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Wickstrom was right. We’re entering an age where understanding environment is the key to survival. Those who have a reverence for nature will have to set a template for the future. To what degree we learn the hard way remains to be seen.



Memorial Day marks 4th opening day on the LA River


This could be your summer to pull a carp, bass or tilapia out of the LA River — and then put it back. (Jim Burns)

Tomorrow is opening day on the LA River — for the fourth year in a row. Even though there’s actually sneak-fishing year around in its Tide-scented waters, from Memorial Day throughout the summer until Labor Day, anglers can legally fishing in two designated recreational areas, Elysian Park and Sepulveda Basin.

You may have your license checked by an MRCA ranger on patrol, so be sure to buy one. Hopefully, you buy one every year to help out the conservation and stocking efforts of the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. A one-day license is $15.12; resident, annual weighs in at $47.01 (What’s with the penny?)



Check out these maps to get your bearings (Credit MRCA):

Remember that you can also put in your kayak, or go with any of the following companies: L.A. River Expeditions, L.A. River Kayak Safari. Minimum age is between 10 and 12, depending on the locale, and the price runs between $50 to $75, depending on the company and the trip.Also, to celebrate its 30th anniversary, L.A. Conversation Corps is offering $30 tickets for the Sepulveda Basin excursion though Paddle the L.A. River.

And, if you’re chillin’ in Elysian Park near Benedict Street, the Frog Spot’s always a good place to take a break, swap river stories and get some food. Lots of music happens throughout the summer, as well as educational programs. The FS serves beer and wine after 2 p.m. Saturdays, and there’s always free water and wi-fi as well.

Take some time to wander the neighborhood, one which is quickly reinventing itself. There’s a new brewery in the works, as well as new, open-air Salazar, close to the Fletcher Bridge.

So, before it gets real hot, catch and release a carp, raise a paddle, get dunked, try downward-facing dog in a pocket park, spot a frog, make friends with a duck, pretend the roar of the 5 Freeway is actually a gurgling mountain creek (believe me, it happens), whatever, but get out there!

See you on the river, Jim Burns