Tag: Los Angele River

Trout Unlimited’s Bowtie workshops impact urban fishing

First-timer Michael, left, gets a lesson in the art of the improved clinch knot from TU volunteer Tom Blankenship, while attendee Erica looks on. (Jim Burns)

Over the last couple of weekends, the stalwarts of Trout Unlimited South Coast Chapter put on a series of beginning workshops at the Bowtie parcel, a 17-acre site near Fletcher Bridge that is as urban as it gets. In 2003, California State Parks purchased the narrow strip of land adjacent the Los Angeles River, once part of Southern Pacific Railroad’s maintenance and operations facilities called Taylor Yards. If nothing else, it’s a chance to squint your eyes and see what it could become.

And Los Angelinos certainly have embraced this urban outlier in any number of positive ways, including the LA River Campout that is so popular, the 75 campers are chosen through a lottery. This chance to cuddle up in a sleeping bag and see the stars is an initiative of California State Parks in partnership with Clockshop, the National Park Service and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

As for fishing, TU led the way last year with “Vamos a Pescar,” during which some 120 urbanites learned to fish.

This year’s stats showed 110 attendees over the two May weekends, with a third under 18, and pretty evenly split overall between female and male.

After two Saturdays filled with the joy of passing our sport along to others — and the chance to practice patience while unspooling line from inside a reel (how does that happen?), I thought of these words from “A Place in Between”:

What is a park? Is it a place to escape the surrounding city? A place to breathe and contemplate? Or is it a gather place? A place to celebrate, laugh, play and compete? Perhaps it is a place to learn and grow? A place where our shared cultural and natural histories are celebrated? Is it a place of beauty? A place of pride designed by our finest architects? Or a place apart, left alone for nature to run its course?”

THE PREZ SEZ: Chapter President Ban Luu makes a point to the crowd about river ecology. (Jim Burns)

As you squint your eyes at the Bowtie, what is magically becomes what could be. Our collective imagination will be our compass, our guide, our pole star for the future.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Quick mends: New article finds proposed Glendale Narrows habitat restoration plan doesn’t include fish

STEELHEAD imagery abounds on the Los Angeles River, yet plans to reintroduce this endangered species aren't included in the habitat restoration plan. (Jim Burns)
STEELHEAD imagery abounds on the Los Angeles River, yet plans to reintroduce this endangered species aren’t included in the habitat restoration plan. (Jim Burns)

This in-depth piece on different visions and conflicts for renewing the Los Angeles River makes for an engaging read. Check out these quotes from “L.A. Remembers It Has a River” by Willy Blackmore in TakePart, the¬†digital news and lifestyle magazine, and social action platform.

“There‚Äôs no keystone species for riparian habitat in Southern California‚ÄĒno iconic, ecologically significant animal whose health and abundance can stand in for that of the larger ecology. But Lewis MacAdams‚ÄĒwho cofounded the river‚Äôs first dedicated environmental group, Friends of the Los Angeles River, in 1987‚ÄĒhas said he‚Äôll know his work is done ‚Äúwhen the steelhead trout run returns to the Los Angeles River.‚ÄĚ MacAdams and his organization have played a major role in bringing the city‚Äôs attention back to its central waterway, and while he has been critical of Gehry‚Äôs involvement, MacAdams has been supportive of the Corps of Engineers‚Äô vision for the river.

“Yet the habitat restoration plan for the Glendale Narrows accounts for neither fish nor frog. According to the plan, the restored habitat would help the endangered least Bell‚Äôs vireo, a small brownish bird, but the question of steelhead, a member of the salmon family, is couched more in terms of maybe or someday.”

I found the same thing — no plans for fish — during research for my 2012 piece about steelhead.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Lewis MacAdams is right!! I think that there is an iconic species for this river. If you bring back the steelhead, you solve many issues of the river in terms of ecology and beauty at the same time.

The current statement from Frank Gehry, that it is going to be a ‚Äėhydrology project first, and then a beautification project‚Äô seems to be the same level of logic that channelized the river in the first place ‚Äď solving one problem. Also its a RIVER. Anyone who has been down into the Glendale Narrows can see that if you give it some freedom, it will naturally meander and create beauty that doesn‚Äôt need an architect to design or intellectualize it.

There are many examples of rivers that have been problems when cities built into their rain sheds. the South Platte through Denver always comes to my mind. It has hard edges and intersections with the city and has areas where it runs free and is natural. It also has monster carp and trout in these areas respectively.

Celeste Walter
Celeste WalterHabitat for what? Is it going to be sterile like a city park? Sounds like playing Jenga with half the levels of blocks missing from bottom. As a child I remember hiking with an elderly couple , the woman watched while I did my best to catch a tadpole. She told me tadpoles in the stream were evidence of the health of the stream and surrounding area. Is it different now?

New video: ‘Carp on the Fly, Los Angeles River’

Mirror, mirror on the wall What name should this carp we call? (Ryan Anglin)
Mirror, mirror on the wall
What name should this carp we call? (Ryan Anglin)

Take a look at this engaging new video from Ryan Anglin (real name, born to fish!)

It certainly represents the way I’ve felt many times on our river — serenity sans hip-hop soundtrack. I guess it’s easier to see the river from a bling perspective — fly in; take some shots; catch some fish; fly out; edit, complete with stereotypes — but this piece captures the peace I feel on this magical waterway.

Should come with a NSFW warning — watch it and you’ll leave your cube early to get out there.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Landing Capt. Ahab’s carp (big as a whale, mate)

That's no minnow! To get a sense of scale, check out the big Galvan reel in the lower left. (Mark Gangi)
That’s no minnow! To get a sense of scale, check out the big Galvan reel in the lower left. (Mark Gangi)

By Mark Gangi
Guest Contributor

What a great fight that day, which created a spectacle and drew a small crowd of joggers.

The fish took off downstream, wrapped me around a large rock and then headed upstream. I didn’t jump in after him until he was deep in my backing and I thought I was going to lose another carp on the river.

The water was deeper than my hip waders so I had to slosh like a maniac upstream after him, and when I had him in shallow water he was too big to pick up by the jaw so I had to go WWF on him.

I have had my best takes with Jan’s Carp Tickler and Hise’s Carpnasty, both in brown with orange. Maybe the orange looks like tilapia eggs? Both of these flies are also visible in the water.

Spring spawn churns up L.A. River

(This post originally ran March, 2011)

“Mad as a March hare,” that’s how the old saying goes.

College basketball fanatics anticipate¬† March Madness; Catholics, the beginning of Lent and, for everyone,¬† the last big-gulp gasp of Mardi Gras: “Laissez les bons temps rouler.”

Crafty fly tyers may litter their vises with March Browns to celebrate the beginning of spring.

Smaller males surround a larger female carp on their way up the Los Angeles River. (Derek Bourassa).
Smaller males surround a larger female carp on their way up the Los Angeles River. (Derek Bourassa).

And for those of us plying urban waters, it’s time for the semi-annual parade of the carp.

“I think they end up in Balboa Lake. I’ve spotted some huge fish in there,” guide David Wratchford told me yesterday at the¬†Fisherman’s Spot. That would be miles, and miles, and¬†miles¬†upstream from where they begin the migration, probably in the Glendale Narrows.

Earlier in the week, he’d left me a voicemail — with some urgency — that the spawn was on.

My question: why now?

Turning to the bible of carp fishing,¬†“Carp on the Fly”¬†by Barry Reynolds and friends, I found the following water chart:

Water Temperature                                               Remarks

39 degrees                                          Carp begin active feeding.

41 degrees                                           Carp begin pre-spawn move  to shallows.

61 degrees                                           Sustained temp lethal to carp eggs.

63 degrees                                           Probable lower limit for spawning.

66 degrees                                           Optimal temp for carp.

72 degrees                                           Metabolism increases rapidly.

75 degrees                                           Probable upper limit for spawning.

79 degrees                                           Sustained temps lethal to carp eggs.

90 degrees                                           Metabolism at a high rate.

97-106 degrees                                  Lethal temp limit for carp.

So, once Mother Nature’s spring water thermometer hits the correct temperature, the carp are off and running. And do they ever run, up into the shallows, and the concrete steps that dot the semi-natural surface of Glendale Narrows and beyond.

If the March hare’s madness springs from its wacky mating behaviors — including jumping into the air for no apparent reason — the same holds true for carp.

“I saw sea gulls attacking a whole group of them. The fish were almost completely out of the water. I don’t know. It looked like they were trying to pluck out their eyes,” said one old timer I met yesterday.

Another younger guy, dressed in surgeon’s scrubs, told me he thought he’d seen a rock on one of the concrete flats. That rock, of course, turned out to be a monster carp.

“Its back was completely dry,” he said, and added that he couldn’t resist picking it up, then setting it back down in the water. I met him and his two friends with poles in hand, hoping to find more spawning carp.

What does this mean for you? Get fishing before the weather turns. Take advantage of this fine spring weekend. Heck, you might even exchange your normal Glo-Bug for a Mad March Hare’s Ear.

See you on the river, Jim Burns