Spurred on by an article in the current California Fly Fisher magazine, I spent most of Friday hiking and fishing on the East Fork of the San Gabriel River. Richard Alden Bean’s enticing article made me do it.
“The East Fork is a truly wild river in its upper sections and has recently been added to both the Wild Trout Program and the Heritage Trout Program of the California Department of Fish and Game,” he wrote.
This was good news, if for no other reason than I’ve got a golden trout and squat else toward my plaque. As the DFG website says, “By catching six different forms of California native trout from their historic drainages and photographing these fish you can receive a colorful, personalized certificate featuring the art of renowned fish illustrator Joseph Tomelleri.” Your specific prey, according to Bean, is the coastal rainbow trout.
First off, I loathe Friday, Saturday and Sunday fishing in the San Gabes, because what you end up with is people, people and more people. You’ve got your hikers, your waders, your drinkers; you’ve got your families with young children and water-wading dogs trying to help a fisherman by pointing at the one fish in the pool before pawing at the splash. I mean I’m very happy all sorts of different folks use the water on the weekends … just not so happy to be confined to using it with them, due to that little thing called making money (Remember the adage, “You’ve either got time, or money.”).
Long story short, I got Friday-skunked on the East Fork, and it’s never a fun feeling. As I tramped out near dusk, I vowed to come back soonest, but I wonder if readers of this blog wouldn’t share some inspiration in the meantime.
Which is your favorite fork?
Do you prefer the West with its accessible bike path and easy downhill ride back to the parking lot? Its fishable access ramps?
Or, do you like the East Fork, known for its pack-station appeal, and winding path to the fabled “Bridge to Nowhere”?
See you on the river, Jim Burns