Month: August 2015

Update: ‘Off tha Hook’ prizes valued at $900

The $50 entry fee is looking better, as Patagonia Pasadena stepped up as the Platinum Sponsor for the second annual catch & release fishing derby on the L.A. River, “Off tha Hook.”

There will be two winners on Saturday, Sept. 5, and if you think you’ve got the goods to nab a sweet, fat carp, the top prize could be yours.

The winner will be decided by total weight of fish logged in by the biologists. Just like last year, an angler’s fish will be brought to the biologists by the “bucket brigade” to be weighed, measured and released back into the river. In a change from last year, both fly and spin compete in the same category.

The winner’s prizes will be an exclusive “Off tha Hook” T-shirt, a FoLAR swag bag, trophy with ribbon, his and hers Patagonia puffy jackets, and a box of warm-water flies, tied and donated by the Pasadena Casting Club.image

There will be also be a winner for rarest species, which means anything finny other than carp would be in consideration. On-site biologist Sabrina Drill, Associate Director, California Naturalist at the University of California Cooperative Extension, will make the call.

The angler awarded the rarest species moniker will receive an exclusive “Off tha Hook” T-shirt, a FoLAR bag of swag, trophy with ribbon, and a men’s Patagonia Buckshot Shirt and a women’s Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket.

All told, the value of the prizes is worth more than $900.

Anglers will receive a $10 discounted entry fee if they agree to stay and teach the children, ages 7 to 17, their skills of fishing in an urban river for an hour.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Aquarium to host ‘Steelhead Science for Anglers’ event

imageWant the latest word on steelhead?


Trout Unlimited’s Wild Steelhead Initiative is partnering with California Trout to offer a workshop on native steelhead trout in southern California this September.

Check out this afternoon of education and fellowship as leading steelhead scientists provide updates and answer questions about steelhead populations, recovery activities, and angling considerations in southern California.

This interactive workshop will:

·         inform anglers about the latest scientific data and understanding of steelhead biology and populations

·         discuss the impacts of drought and human water use on steelhead

·         review the history of southern steelhead restoration efforts as well as current recovery plans and actions

·         clarify fisheries management obligations, policies, and regulations

·         discuss implications of southern steelhead recovery efforts on angling opportunities

·         provide extensive question-and-answer opportunities

·         offer a complimentary snack and beverage social hour

The panel of steelhead experts represents some of the world’s foremost authorities on steelhead biology and management – and some are avid steelhead anglers, too. They will help workshop participants to better understand how steelhead science is helping to protect wild populations, identify priority restoration objectives, and engage the angling community to help enhance and sustain steelhead fisheries.

Event Details:

Date: Saturday, Sept. 26

Time: noon – 4 p.m.

Location: Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA (100 Aquarium Way Long Beach, CA 90802)

Cost: FREE **Free admission is on the honor system.  If you are only attending the event, please tell the entry staff that you are here for the steelhead science workshop.  If you plan to come early or stay after the event to enjoy the Aquarium, please purchase an admission ticket.

RSVP: Please register HERE

California Killifish surprise catch for fish study

I don’t know how biologist Rosi Dagit does it but every time she calls a meeting of the fishing-for-science clan, the mercury breaks another record. Today was no exception, as around 25 sweating volunteers traveled to Willow Street in Long Beach for the last effort to see what could be caught in this important area where the Los Angeles River runs into the ocean.

We saw a dozen or so mullet, as they danced around our side of the lagoon, bobbing and weaving to invisible underwater music. Four of us tried everything in the flybox, from San Juan worm, to topside stimulator. What goes into the record book is but a shadow of what’s really in the water.

The kayak crew, pulling a net, came up empty, a disappointment.

John Tegmeyer fashioned his own boilies — like the Brits do, but with a dose of Tapatio Sauce thrown in for color — and came very close to landing a large carp.

Meanwhile, Zino Nakasuji fooled a 7-pound common carp with a pale egg pattern.

But Dabin Lee of Los Angeles handscooped the most important catch of the day — a tiny California Killifish, which is a native and lives in brackish water.

“I do it all the time,” Lee said, referring to her habit of catching small fish in her hands. It made for a remarkable end to four attempts over the last year and a half to document exactly what lives in this part of the river.

The great hope is to spot a steelhead.

“I just recently  got a picture of one from Cabrillo Pier,” Dagit said.

And, of course, that is the lofty dream of so many of us, that the Southern California Steelhead, currently an endangered species, will make its comeback in tandem with the river renewal. With the anticipated El Niño this winter, we may yet get that opportunity, when fish return from the ocean, hoping to ride high water in to their inland spawning grounds.

And if you missed this part of the survey, you’ll have another opportunity. Next year, Dagit is targeting the Sepuveda Dam area in the San Fernando Valley.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this silly video from the day.


See you on the river, Jim Burns






Second annual Off Tha’ Hook fishing derby returns Sept. 5


Registration is now open for the second annual FoLAR fishing derby, Off Tha Hook. It’s slated for Saturday, Sept. 5, one of the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife free days, no license is required. The event in north Atwater Park is for both fly fishers and spin casters. catch and release ($50 registration, limited spots). The one-hour event is followed by a free “kids fish,” in which anglers teach children how to spin cast, as well as good stewardship on the water. Anglers who want to help out in this second event will have their registration fee discounted. You can register and get more details here.

What makes this event different from typical competitions is that it actually serves as an addendum to FoLAR’s 2008 Fish Study, an important species benchmark, especially as the river gets ready for its closeup and makeover. Biologists will weigh, measure and catalog every fish prior to releasing them back to the river.

If you missed last year, here’s what it was like. Think fun. Very fun.

Full disclosure: LARFF is a sponsor for this event.

Press Conference 8:30 a.m.

Scheduled to appear, FoLAR Founder/President Lewis MacAdams and members of local government

Catch & Release 9 a.m.- 10 a.m.

Fishing Contest for the Experienced

Two categories: Weight & Rarest Species!

Family Fish 10 a.m.

Adult supervised children

Learn to fish with morning angler volunteers

Awards 11:00 a.m.

Blue Ribbons given to registered child anglers


See you on the river, Jim Burns

LA Times reveals Frank Gehry as river renewal architect

The river's landmarks are changing. (Peter Bennett)
The look of the river will undoubtedly change under Frank Gehry’s influence. (Peter Bennett)

UPDATE: from the Aug. 11 Letters section of the Los Angeles Times

Others’ plans, please

Re “Gehry’s waterfront vision,” Aug. 8

Having fly-fished the L.A. River for five years, I know that miles of it are a wilderness now. There are so many fish and birds.

When it rains in the mountains, there are giant waves of water that flow into the river. The waves last for a few days, and then there’s finding the fish again — the bass, bluegill, carp and crappie. The Los Angeles River used to be a natural steelhead salmon run — as did Malibu Creek and other waterways south of us. This part of the Los Angeles River is mighty and dangerous, verdant and lush, not to be tamed easily. It is a flood channel.

The embodiment of Gehry’s work is artistic juxtaposition, a life work that stands out from the environment, not integrated with it. The revitalization of the Los Angeles River has produced a wilderness in our midst. Gehry’s participation is odd.

I would like to see proposals other than Gehry’s.


Culver City

Thank you for this story demonstrating that the era of the star architect has yet to sunset. While Frank Gehry, who will draft the master plan for the redevelopment of the Los Angeles River, is certainly one of the most talented and revolutionary architects of our time, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s comparison of him to the greatest landscape architect in North America — and yes, this is a separate credentialed profession — is nearsighted.

Perhaps the best indication of the mayor’s misplaced focus is that although the team of Olmsted and Vaux developed the design for New York’s Central Park, it is Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect, whose work has remained timeless and a model for all other major civic parks. The seamless orchestration of natural systems and infrastructure make Olmsted’s work genius.

If the mayor really believes that we need a sexy star capable of creating a master vision to complement and elevate the work previously accomplished, I would recommend studying this list of the next possible Olmsteds: James Corner, Laurie Olin, George Hargreaves, Adriaan Geuze and Michael Van Valkenburgh. Not only are these landscape architects capable, they also have all accomplished similar work and seen it built in their lifetimes.



The writer is a lecturer in the USC School of Architecture.
Has anyone told Gehry that the continuous flow of the L.A. River in this time of serious drought is about 23 million gallons per day of treated water?

Enough to serve about 85,000 homes, this water originally was intended to replenish the aquifer beneath the San Fernando Valley. We pay for the water, we pay to have it treated, and we dump it into the river.

Why not reduce the dumping until the drought ends and use it as originally planned?


Valley Village


Here’s the biggest story since $1 billion Alt. 20 got the nod earlier this summer: Rock star architect, father of the undulating Disney Hall downtown — arguably the highest-profile living American architect — is at the helm of the river renewal. Read about it here.

And check out the L.A. Times architecture critic’ interview with Gehry here.

See you on the river, Jim Burns