UPDATE: Take Deep Creek off your fishing radar until the drought ends. You’ll find little water and few fish. Also, because this is a protected area, if the native fish die out, that will also be the end of this once beautiful water because it won’t be stocked. Don’t add to their stress by catching them.
With free time in hand, most fly fishers from Pasadena head for the West Fork of the San Gabriel, or roll the dice above the Jet Propulsion Lab in La Canada. Why we ignore Deep Creek in the San Bernardino Mountains is a mystery. After all, it is a state-designated wild trout stream, meaning no farmed fish, only naturals. According to literature, it hasn’t been stocked by the Dept. of Fish and Game in over 30 years. Rainbows are the game; browns, the hope.
Will and I drove the quick hour and twenty minutes to Lake Arrowhead, getting into town in time for lunch. With an Adventure Pass in hand ($5 for a one-day; $30 for a year, available at Orvis on Lake; Sports Chalet or Big 5), we drove the additional 10 minutes around the lake until Hook Creek Road, which turns ugly for autos when it becomes 2N2GY, forest speak for dirt. If you’re not four-wheelin’, watch your oil pan. His FIT made it back to Pasadena, unscathed.
Following the road down a gentle canyon, if you turn right, you’ll hit a concrete bridge with plenty of fishing opportunities, or turn left and you can walk to the confluence of Deep Creek and Holcomb Creek. The creek runs about 22 miles from its beginnings in the San Bernardinos north into the Mojave.
Hikers can spend a fun day walking the Pacific Crest Trail, and, if energy permits, enjoy a dip in the Deep Creek Hot Springs (clothing optional).
Last Saturday, the water temp was 57 degrees, while the sun warmed the air to 80 degrees. Dries weren’t happening, but the nymph action was ridiculous; hungry (wary) fish kept us guessing throughout the several hours we spent coaxing them out of the many holes and riffles on the creek.
See you on the river, Jim Burns