Glendale Narrows Adventure No. 1

Let’s go fly fish the L.A. River, catch a 5-pound carp (or much bigger) and spend the day away.

Without work. With friends.


A steelhead rendered on the Guardians of the River gate. Once these oceangoing trout ran up the river. Time for them to return.

Much of the 51 miles of river looks like something out of a “Transformers” chase scene.  That’s because Hollywood production companies frequently shoot the concrete stretches, making the river famous for all the wrong reasons. That’s fine for Hollywood, not great for us. To get some carp action, try this easy day trip.

First, park your car in the municipal lot adjacent to the golf course in Atwater Village. Then, set your sights on the Los Feliz Café, 3207 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039, (323) 661-2355, for good eats. You might want to save this until after fishing, but to legally use the lot, you gotta snack. You could also bring your clubs for a quick nine after fishing. Surf ‘n’ turf.

Two, walk west with rod in hand, a 7 wt. or above, loaded with 3x leader, attached to a glow bug. This is one of only a few access points you’ll find elaborately marked. Walk through artist Michael Amescua’s Guardians of the River gate, and you’re here. To your left is the Tropico Bridge, opened in 1925. Across the water, you’ll see the end of Griffith Park, along with the buzzing I-5 freeway. To your right, time to fish.

The Guardians of the River gate in Atwater Village is one of the few access points along the river.

Three, walk along the bike path and look for carp. It’s much easier if you can spot them, then to blind cast. Believe me, there are hundreds and hundreds in the water. Note about water: it’s reclaimed upstream. Hook carp. Hear reel whizz hopefully into backing. Repeat.

Four, send me pictures of your adventure and I’ll post them. Tell friends. Go often. Remember, it’s yours.

See you on the river, Jim Burns.

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