Month: May 2012

Quick mends: Los Angeles bans plastic bags

Soon plastic bags will be verboten in Los Angeles, which joins unincorporated areas in L.A. in the ban. (Barbara Burns)

Well, folks, today Los Angeles became the largest city in the country to approve a ban on plastic bags at supermarkets. Read the whole story here. Now comes a four-month environmental review, followed by the actual ordinance. Large supermarkets will then have six months and smaller markets four to phase the bags out, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The paper quoted Councilman Ed Reyes, who has focused on efforts to revitalize the Los Angeles River:

“Let’s get the message to Sacramento that it’s time to go statewide,”

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Name this butterfly …

Please, name that butterfly! (Jim Burns)

Springtime has definitely hit the San Gabriel Mountains. Monday (the best time to fly fish to avoid the weekend rush) walking down to and around my favorite canyon, there were critters aplenty. A 4-foot-long Striped Racer slithered just in front of my booted feet, giving me a good scare; what I think was an Eastern Fox squirrel jumped onto a thick tree trunk to inspect me (He found me lacking …); and I spotted a pair of what I believe were Yellow Warblers, mistaking their coloring and size for distant Monarch butterflies appearing and disappearing in the forest canopy.

A fellow hiker cautioned me in the tree shadows: “Look,” she said, “can you believe it?” And there on the ground were a half-dozen or more of this butterfly. But, the question is, what’s it’s name? My handy Pocket Naturalist Guide (which you can get at the Audubon Center at Debs Park) lists the distinctive orange Monarch, the Painted Lady, The Cloudless Sulphur and three others, but none has those amazing horns. If you know what it is, please post the answer.

Meanwhile, for fishing our streams, stick with dries only, and tie on some stealthy 7x tippet to your light leader. Any lighter-weight rod will do, but if you’ve got a 2, 3, or 4 in your arsenal, take it. Also 9 foot is a bit much for our water, with its tight canyons and brush. Eight foot, six inches or shorter is a better choice.

Rainbows and browns were going nuts on just about everything I threw in. Keep the sizes small, 16 or better, but I’ll tell you it’s

This brown got fooled by a lot of elk hair caddis on a size 14 hook. (Jim Burns)

amazing to see a small fish latch on to a fly half its size when you toss a 10 or bigger! Ants are everywhere, so casting a parachute ant should bring good results. Unfortunately, the annoying small black flies have made a comeback, and I spotted a hatch of something tiny and gray-mosquito-colored coming off the water as well, so dark colors are a good bet.  Also, pale or light green are perennial favorite colors. And you won’t catch just minnows. There are plenty of bigger fish in our mountains. Please ALWAYS release the fish you catch in areas that won’t be stocked. These are naturals and once they’re gone, so will be our opportunity to enjoy this beautiful resource.

See you on the water, Jim Burns

Pack trash out … all the way out

ImageTramping through the San Gabriels today with my son was a wonder: we caught 16 trout, rainbows and browns, in a half-day’s work. I even foul-hooked a rainbow, which is certainly nothing to brag about, but was fun all the same.

But the point of this post is, please, don’t trash the wilderness. I walked through some brush, only to be snagged by old line that someone had left carelessly near a stream. Attached to it was an old-school wet fly, around a No. 4, so I guess I’m a fly richer, but that could have also tagged me in the eye. Not cool.

I also found a discarded spinning reel (!), more line at another part of the stream, and a Sports Chalet receipt that didn’t looked great against the wildflowers. I mean, come on, if we want to keep our resouces safe and sacred, we can’t treat them like a public toilet.

Remember: pack it in, pack it out.

And, if you are fishing in areas that don’t get stocked, please release your catch. One hole I’ve fished for many seasons with success contained only two small trout. I doubt that my other friends fell prey to cranes or other feathered pros. If you take out the fish, they are gone, Period. Once the fish are gone, what’s the point of our sport?

Sorry for the rant, but as you prepare to get out there for a fantastic season of fly fishing, let’s respect what we have. Please repost.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Opening Day signals start of the High Sierra fishing season

Hungry trout are the draw for hundreds of fisherman to escape city life for the High Sierra on Opening Day. (Jim Ruebsamen)

By Jim Ruebsamen, Contributor

     Saturday brought us another Opening Day.  Real sportsmen know what Opening Day is.  And it isn’t the start of the baseball season.  No, Opening Day signals the beginning, not necessarily of spring, but of fishing season in the High Sierra.
     There is no other day like it.  It could be raining, could be snowing, could be 40 mile per hour howling wind.  It doesn’t matter. This year Opening Day, fortunately like most years, was a mild, sunny, breezy 75 degrees of pleasure.
     Getting out, getting away from the city and all that it normally offers, is what Opening Day is all about.  Of course, catching a few hungry trout would cap the day. However, this year had a slow start.  Fish were being caught, but there were a lot of fishermen and fisherwomen who dropped lines but reeled in only reeds and lake grass.

There are over 300 species of birds that make their home in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, including seagulls. (Jim Ruebsamen)
     Some reported a day of what some would call frustration, returning to their motels at dusk with nary a nibble, let alone a bite.  But they said it with a weary smile for there is always tomorrow.