By Mark Gangi
I brought my friends, Bob and Michelle, to the L.A. River for a casting lesson one day before they left on a trip to Montana and the Madison River. They were blown away by the river, as most are when the visit it for the first time.
I wasn’t expecting to catch any fish, as the moss was high and water, low.
When Michelle got the hang of casting and mending, I was showing her how to work a pool by taking a few steps upstream and — wham — a beautiful little bass smacked the crayfish pattern I had tied on.
So, her first fish on a fly rod was on the L.A. River.
“I can see how this could be addicting” was her comment between smiles.
Flash forward to Saturday, Sept. 6, precisely 9 a.m. at North Atwater Park in Atwater Village. Not only is it the last day of this year when you don’t have to have a license to legally fish, it’s also the date for the inaugural, the one and only awesomeness of FOLAR’s “Off Tha’ Hook.”
You read that correctly. This is the first fishing derby to hit the banks of the Los Angeles River since 1849. OK, I made that part up. If you actually know of another fishing tourney on the river, please comment below.
Here’s what’s going down:
— fishing contest, for fly fishing and traditional, wading OK, from 9-10 a.m. Yup, one hour. After biologists and volunteers document weight and length, the fish will be returned to the rio.
— the contest is followed by an hour’s worth of family fishing and education. Angler volunteers (you could be one) will help children learn conventional fishing. This will be a supervised, safe time for the kids.
— awards ceremony at 11 a.m., includes a prize for the “rarest” species. All children who are registered and participate in the family fishing event will receive a blue ribbon.
— food truck, that’s the rumor, and a good bet. I don’t know which one.
I’ll post better details as they become available, but I do know you want to sign up soon, as the number of anglers for this historic event is limited to 25 anglers and 25 kids.
Wow, I really can’t believe I just wrote this up.
See you on the river, Jim Burns
Opening Day in the Sierra is almost upon us (April 27), and according to writer Darcy Ellis, it heralds at least a decent season. Ellis penned “Epic season taking shape,” but after reading her piece in the Inyo Register Eastern Sierra Fishing Guide, I’m not sure “epic” is exactly the word the average fisherman would use.
“All of the elements have come together in 2013 for a banner fishing season: plenty of water, even more fish and lots of angling-related action for fishermen and their families,” read the article’s lead sentence.
Ample water is based on an interview with a Dept. of Fish and Wildlife environmental scientist, quoted as saying that “… we’re not anticipating low water this year.” Adequate water is one of the key criteria before the DFW will plant fish.
With the Monrovia fire still smoldering as I write this, it may surprise parched Southern Californians to hear this sort of prognostication. It also surprised the California Dept. of Water Resources.
“The snowpack is at 54 percent of normal, so it’s not looking good,” said Jennifer Lida, an information officer for the department.
The last manual survey of the year, in which DWR surveyors actually go into the mountains instead of relying on electronic sensors, is scheduled in about two weeks on Echo Summit, near Lake Tahoe. This measurement traditionally documents the wetness of any given season. Snowpack normally provides about a third of California’s water as it melts into streams, reservoirs and aquifers. The short-term good news is that “most key storage reservoirs are above or near historic levels,” according to the department.
Given this scenario, I’d get my fishing in early. Last year in the Golden Trout Wilderness, one favorite creek had turned into runs of unconnected water by August.
Still it looks like there will be lots of trout in the middle Sierra, the L.A. mecca for fly fishing. According to Ellis’s article, DFW plans to plant just shy of 1 million pounds of trout this season. You can check the planting schedule here.
Finally, there certainly will be family events during the summer. One that’s new is Trout Fest on June 29 at the Hot Creek Hatchery outside Mammoth. The flier promises kids going to the event that they will be able to “catch a fish, feed a fish, taste a fish, touch a fish.”
See you on the river, Jim Burns
The City of Los Angeles is busy presenting the proposed 2013 Los Angeles River Recreational Zone Pilot Program for Glendale Narrows with the second meeting occurring right now at City Hall. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend, but will post when the final meeting is to occur, sometime next month. The idea is to get public comment on a plan to open up recreation within that approximately seven-mile stretch of our river.
I’ve read the pilot program and all you kayakers out there should be pretty excited. If passed, the proposal would mean that individual non-motorized boaters would be able to launch from North Atwater Park, Steelhead Park and Marsh Park, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, when there is very little chance of a flood from torrential rain. That also means you could be fly fishing from your kayak as well, because the proposal also calls for fishing, bird watching and hiking. Swimming would still be a no-no. And float tubes are just plain impractical because of low water.
Dept. of Fish and Wildlife regs would then apply in the river.
I really wonder what this would mean for the eradication of carp in the river, as the U.S. Army Corps views it as an invasive species, even though carp have been resident for decades.
From the report: On Aug. 28, 2012, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1201, which amended the Los Angeles Flood Control Act “to provide for public use of navigable waterways under the district’s control that are suitable for recreational and educational purposes, when these purposes are not inconsistent with the use thereof by the district for flood control and water conservation.”
Stay tuned and see you on the river, Jim Burns