Earth Day hope: The sweet, sweet West Fork runs clear

If there’s one waterway that encompasses the struggles of nature in this post-modern age, it’s the West Fork of the San Gabriel. While it provides a respite from our metropolis, as a place to learn and practice fly fishing, ride a bike as far up the canyon as you can, or just hang out wondering what the hatch is, you can feel the magic, a renewal that goes deeper than natural beauty, radiating from the land itself.

I used to take my now-grown son here, pulling him along on his inlines behind my old bike. I’ve had my heart soar with uplift current-riding red tail hawks, had it broken by endless amounts of trash left by the careless, had it lifted again by volunteers who worked tirelessly to save the remaining fish after the devastating Bobcat Fire. This is the place I come to mend my broken heart, a place to gather strength and hope for the future.

So on this Earth Day, I offer a video from the intrepid Steve Kuchensky shot on April 15. Steve reports water temperature was 56 degrees. The silt is gone; the mud is gone and that beautiful water flows like no other! Meanwhile, CJ Vapenik, talked with an angler who caught a trout on a dry. We love to stretch the truth on the water, but this truth is gold. A guy caught a fish on a dry while he was wading on the West Fork in 2023!

Now that makes my Earth Day complete.

See you on the water, Jim Burns

10 thoughts on “Earth Day hope: The sweet, sweet West Fork runs clear”

  1. I am very happy to hear this. Some other folks that I know have been t there as well and reported some amazing insect life when he overturned rocks to check. This included may flies, golden stones and other water born insects. Combine the terrestrials that will surely thrive and we are on our way to a healthy system and fish. I have been going through my fly gear and getting it ready. We could have an amazing May if there are any viable spawners in the reservoir.

    1. I saw terrestrials, but no bugs on rocks in the riverbed. The fast running water has scoured everything. Please send Jim pics of aquatic life on the West Fork – it’s encouraging to all of us.

      I am learning a ‘new’ river: old holes are filled, and new structure is changing where fish will hold in the future. I’m not sure how all the high flows have affected this year’s spawn. Time will tell. Get up there and bike your way past green hills and beautiful waterfalls. If you are a kayaker, now is the time you can run West Fork!

      1. I typically have fished this river mid week. Are they finished with the road work? So I can cycle up the road?

      2. Week ends are likely to be chaos up there now that it is warming up. Still. I am planning for mid May.

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