On a whim, I visited the West Fork very recently. The sun was hot in the mid-morning sky; a group of local teens pulled up alongside the parked mighty Prius and one asked me if I ‘biked much?” I said no, which is true, because I almost never take that rickety garage-sale contraption out of my garage, unless it’s to come here.
The rust on the chain tells the tale and could have answered the lad’s question before I ever did.
In the few hours I spent in the catch/release section, above the second bridge, two marvelous items happened: I spotted a pair of young foxes, and I caught a small trout on a size 16 hi-viz Parachute Adams after about 10 minutes casting to a shadowy hole.
Upon my return, I told my incredulous son I’d hooked up. I beamed, even as he questioned, “But, isn’t that pretty bad? Didn’t we used to hook up at least a dozen times up there.”
Yes, Will, yes, we did.
And that’s why I hope everyone who reads this will click this link and let the powers that be at the Angeles National Forest know your thoughts, for ANF is seeking public comments on a Need to Change analysis for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Trout Unlimited has launched a campaign to get fishers to comment before the comment period ends July 27.
Why is there a “need to change” recreational policies on the West Fork? As the advocacy website Friends of the River explains the 44 miles of stream within the national monument are designated a “wild & scenic river.”
“The West, North and East Forks .. drain the largest watershed in the mountain range and provide thirsty downstream residents with clean drinking water. The West Fork National Scenic Bikeway Trail provides easy access to one of the few catch and release trout streams (bold added) in the region, while the upper West Fork is traversed by the Gabrieleno National Recreation Trail. The East Fork provides trail access to the Sheep Mountain Wilderness.”
As it stands, when you come upon the survey box at the beginning of the West Fork’s c/r area, it makes even the most obstinately optimistic fishers scratch their heads. I mean what kind of comment does a thinking person leave?
Fishing has plummeted on this wild & scenic river to levels probably never seen before. Help.
A very concerned citizen and angler”
I’m not sure if the well-intentioned West Fork San Gabriel River Conservancy is still functioning, but much of its website dates to early 2014.
Anyway, to bone up on the problems this area faces from our 4 million brethren, there’s a load of information and reporting on the Internet, which means at least some of it is actually true.
The best way to refresh your political ire is to visit, yourself, put your $5-a-day Adventure Pass on your dashboard, bring your $47.01 valid fishing license, a few flies and a 2 weight. Grease up the chain on your aging bike, ride past the swimmers to the second bridge, and angle. This area is our area, and it is in desperate need of attention. At least, that’s what I’m writing to ANF.
See you on the river, Jim Burns