Month: May 2023

LA River rec zones open and summer begins

One of four dozen freshly minted fishers who attended Trout Unlimited ‘s LA River Fishing Workshops over the holiday weekend. (Credit: Jim Burns)

Sometimes miracles happen, especially when you give them a nudge.

Way back in November, 2010, I met a couple of boys on bikes, who at first unnerved me, under a bridge in a part of Los Angeles, forgotten and unloved. A part of Los Angeles that could be dangerous, definitely was dirty and made me wonder why. I wrote this:

I met Mario and his friend as they rode their bikes under the Hyperion Bridge. When he called to me, at first I felt unnerved. Then, looking around, I felt foolish to think that this bright-faced boy might be up to no good.

“Fly fishing?” he asked with a knowing smile.

“Got a good spot?” I answered in return.

And off we went, two kids who might have been Tom and Huck from earlier days, and an older gentleman, two on bikes, one on sneakers, plying the waters of the Glendale Narrows.

WINNER Issaih Salgago, 15, of Palmdale (left) hangs with event organizer Bill Bowling at the second “Off Da’ Hook” in 2015. (Credit: Jim Burns)

That very day, I vowed to myself, angry and standing under dozens of plastic bags hanging from a tree, that I would find a way to add something positive to the lives of the young people of Los Angeles, and, at least in part, that’s why I’ve continue to pen this blog for so many years.

Highlights of helping to get youngsters off their screens and into green urban environs include, three years with Friends of The LA River’s “Off Da Hook” fishing derby; helping out with FoLAR’s river fish studies, and years now of Trout Unlimited’s annual fishing workshops.

There simply is nothing like giving back to our city’s youth. Nothing like being a volunteer. Nothing quite like watching as a young person catches their first fish out of the LA, then helping them to throw it back.

So, hats off and hearts out to all those who volunteer their precious time to a worthy cause. We live in a time of tremendous cynicism and mistrust, a time of soul-gripping fear, a time when our young people are more susceptible to fear and depression that in years past.

I don’t claim to have any solutions other than to lean into whatever faith you practice and to practice the easy compassion that comes naturally from the human spirit. Especially on this day when we honor those who have selflessly served us, think about giving some time to our youngsters. If you kayak, teach a kid to kayak as well; if you birdwatch, take them along to see some new species and marvel at the beauty right here in our ruined river; if you bike, you know where I’m going with the argument. As we age, we realize it’s an imperative to help others and to give whatever we can. Start today. With your help, it only gets better — not worse — from here.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

SMILES and a big wave defined this year’s LA River Fishing Workshops, as many wetted a line for the first time, with hopefully many outings to come. (Credit: Jim Burns)

My kinda ‘pick up’

Conservationist Debbie Sharpton at Century Lake in Malibu Creek State Park. (Credit Jim Burns)

It’s always gratifying to have your writing spawn something bigger, that’s why most writers write. Oh no, actually, it’s the MONEY (OK, that’s a joke … ). So when Debbie Sharpton, whose ongoing environmental efforts in Malibu Creek State Park I wrote about in February, let me know local public radio station KCRW was picking up and expanding on that story, I was thrilled. I’ve included two links below, one for their print version, and another to “Greater LA,” where the story aired.

Hats off to reporter Will Callen who made all the moving parts in this piece accessible and easy to understand.

Many of us dream of the return of Southern Steelies to our creeks and rivers. Hopefully, this kind of awareness brings our dream a step closer to reality.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

It’s official: King Charles III, fly fisher

In this undated photo, then Prince Charles fly fishes for salmon on the River Dee near Balmoral wearing the same vest he donated to the museum in 2001. (Credit: ANL/Daily Mail/Shutterstock.)

As John Mundt recalls for the American Museum of Fly Fishing:

​Newly crowned King Charles III is one of us: a member of the world community and an avid angler. As patron of the Flyfishers’ Club of London, he penned the following words in the foreword of its centennial history in 1984:

King Charles III’s fishing vest. Accession no. 2001.009.001.
From the collection of the American Museum of Fly Fishing.

“There will always be the same joy, as long as stretches of river remain flowing through unspoilt countryside, of a day spent with a fly rod in perfect solitude . . . proving that there is more to fishing than just catching fish.”

As a patron of both the Atlantic Salmon Trust and the Salmon and Trout Association, he has been steadfast in his efforts to ensure that the sport we so cherish can long endure.”

Read the whole story >>HERE.

No, Martha, it’s not Montana, it’s the East Fork!

If you missed the “Martha” reference in the title, it’s just because you are young and never had the pleasure or — whatever — of working in legacy news, when there was such a thing.

A “Hey, Martha” story was offbeat or odd, as in, “Hey, Martha, didya hear about the cat who solved the Rubik’s Cube — with no hands??”

Yes, before there was click bait, there was the “Hey, Martha.”

Anyway, inspired by a recent video of clear, fast water on the West Fork (and very bummed that the weekday ban for using the bike path has been extended to December), I ventured to the East Fork. I basically couldn’t believe my eyes: white caps, swells, skinny trails swallowed by water.

In fact, check out this video. If you recognize the area on the right as your old path up to your fav spot, it’s gone. As is the hole where a friend got me into a wee trout last season, my first time at the EF after miners. I would bet all of your favorite spots are now gone — and, never mind, it is glorious to behold this much water flowing freely down the river. New favorite spots with either be discovered, or reappear as fishing season approaches.

Bonus: Who knew our local mountains were this beautiful! Green brings out their canyons, their crevasses, and — their waterfalls.

See you on the river, Jim Burns