On New Year’s Eve, 10 different LA River stories from 10 consecutive years

Photo by Damir Mijailovic on Pexels.com

Much to my surprise, I’ve been writing/curating this blog for the past 10 years. Too legit to quit or something else all together? All I know is I started writing because I was fixated on a river running through Los Angeles that I’d never visited after living here for more than 30 years. Just finding access back in the day was difficult enough, but then to also consider you could catch fish in it seemed improbable at best.

Fast forward to the end of 2021 and our river has become famous, and not just in the movies. Carping the LA is now on fly-fisher bucket lists. That, of course, isn’t because of my writing, but I can say that the blog has grown up in a similar way to our beloved river. As you think about the end of the year, here are 10 winter stories in chronological order I thought you might enjoy.

I’ve made lots of friends through river work and hope you will be lucky enough to do the same. Eventually, some of the concrete will come out, and new habitat will go in. As poet Lewis MacAdams used to say, “We will know our work is done when the steelhead return.” So be it.

Happy New Year and see you on the river, Jim Burns

Dec. 23, 2010 — Carp clubbing takes river to new low

My son and I went out last week for some fishing on the city’s river. As we were leaving the water, we came upon a couple of friendly gents who intimately knew the area. Both had on caps; both had on backpacks; both had good senses of humor; and one should have been arrested:

“You don’t need that rod to catch carp down here,” said the one.

How could you not ask?

“What you need? You need a baseball bat, a Louisville Slugger, that’s what you need — a bat!”

Dec. 10, 2011 — ‘Improvement Overlay’ is Councilman Reyes’s next approach to coaxing money from the feds

Lots of buzz this week about a proposed ordinance to establish the Los Angeles River Improvement Overlay District. That’s a mouthful to say to Washington, “hey, Obama, where’s our money?”

Cash, authorized by Congress, is needed to complete an essential Corps  study that analyzes the effects of ripping out lots of concrete. Currently, the last phase of the study is years behind schedule. Until it’s finished, Reyes’ river project can’t be completed.

Dec. 29, 2012 — Lariverflyfishing rings in New Year with 20,000th visit

I was pretty stoked about that number back then …

Nov. 13, 2013 — Seven tips to follow when stalking LA River carp

My favorite tips is No. 1: Don’t be in a hurry.

Dec. 18, 2014 — FoLAR seeks anglers for Long Beach fish study

Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) in partnership with the Aquarium of the Pacific will host Phase 3 of a scientific fish study with help from the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. We need Citizen Scientists, in this case, volunteer anglers to help us catch what is in the soft bottom section of the Los Angeles River at Long Beach.

This is a rare chance for you to fish in an area that one does not normally access, contact WPB@FoLAR.org to hold a spot. Fishing will start at 2pm until dusk on Saturday, January 3rd, 2015.

Dec. 15, 2015 — Musings written in pencil: LA River Top 10 laundry list

No. 6 “Off Tha’ Hook” celebrated its second year. It’s become a party down by the banks on Sept. 3, a Dept. of Fish and Wildlife “free day,” when no license is required to fish. Best memory: the number of children fishing at least doubled over last year. I’m a sponsor for next year, so come on down. The entry fee will be reduced, according to FoLAR.

Dec. 2, 2016 — River Health Update: Biologists and volunteers return to work on the Upper River Fish Study

On our return to Sepulveda Basin, to continue the upper river fish survey, we captured 203 fish, a far cry from the more than 3,600 tilapia fry caught this time last year.

Dec. 1, 2017 — Huck Finn retelling along the LA River in debut novel

Dec. 16, 2018 — Holiday Twofer: Zinke out, rockfish in

So, it was with great holiday pleasure that I paged through the print Los Angeles Times this morning, to find two memorable events: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is following former scandal-plagued Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruit out the revolving Trump door, pursued by a cloud of more than a dozen ethics violations. Here’s a summary of what he did during his close to two years in office. Top of mind for me was his tone deaf response to millions of comments asking him not to recommend shrinking Bear’s Ears National Monument. 

Dec. 13, 2019 — Help restore Southern California Steelhead habitat

Sespe Fly Fishers was awarded a $1,500 grant from Fly Fishers International. The multiple-page grant request was submitted by SFF Conservation Chair Randy Nelson who worked on the application for several days.

The funds were awarded to help Sespe Fly Fishers, in partnership with the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, to restore the habitat of the endangered Southern California Steelhead along several tributary streams of the Ventura River.

Dec. 29, 2020 — Ten things to cheer about in 2020

We’ve never experienced anything like this year that’s coming to a close, both collectively and individually. As my wife and I watched the Christmas star last week, its first appearance in some 700 years, it made me wonder. As a writer, I’m all about signs and portends, so I thought it could either mean the coming apocalypse or a brighter future, as it did so many centuries ago. I chose the latter.

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