By , September 29, 2008 12:49 am

The West Fork is a great place to learn fly fishing skills as the trout here are not very selective and the elevation allows fishing all year round. There is primarily Rainbow trout here a mix of native and stocked fish. There is also on the rare occasion Brown Trout, Arroyo Chub, Speckled Dace, or a Santa Ana Sucker. The Department of Fish and game used to stock from the entrance up to the second bridge, but because of a dispute stocking is not set to resume until 2010. Past the second bridge it is all natives and the paved road takes you 8 miles up to Cogswell Dam.

Practice Catch and Release Only, pick up trash if you see it, and respect this resource so that future generations can enjoy it!


The East Fork follows next to the road for about 8 miles back most people just stop next to the road and fish. Follow the trail into the Canyon past the parking area at the and of the road. Just a mile or so from here the fish are native, and there are good pools that go all the way back to the Bridge to Nowhere. The Department of Fish and Game used to stock from the fire camp up to the parking lot, but because of a dispute stocking is not set to resume until 2010.

Practice Catch and Release Only, pick up trash if you see it, and respect this resource so that future generations can enjoy it!

13 Responses to “SAN GABRIEL RIVER”

  1. Anonymous says:

    fished up there many a times.3 to 5 miles back the natives bite hard.look for hidden holes in thick brush .experimental forest is also out for bears

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why would you post a stream that is still not recovered from years of low water ? derek

  3. jw healy says:

    I "discovered" WFSGR in Feb and have gone there once a week since. I love it but I cannot figure out what these little guys are eating. I've turned rocks, strained the water, and tried to see what they are hitting on but am stumped. I always hike back to the C&R section and have seen some decent sized trout but only the little guys seem interested in what I am throwing. Would anyone care to share their favorite flies, pattern and size?

  4. KAS says:

    Just wanted to share my experience after my first trip to the WFSGR this weekend. I started off catching a few fish nymphing about a mile up. As I waded upstream I somehow managed to not see the fork in the river and veered right onto bear creek. Once there I didn’t see a single fisherman and had the whole creek to myself. I ended up fishing the riffles mostly, looking for deeper cuts just at the fast water. The fish would often sit right at the base of the overflow from above. Between 10 and 3 I must traveled about 2.5 miles up the creek and caught over 20 nice small bows…I imagine all were wild. All I used was a size 18 pheasant tail nymph with a small split shot to get it down quick and size 6x tippet. Saw a rattlesnake on the trail which coiled ready to strike…so stay alert!

    Once I made it back to the WFSGR a caddis hatch and a small light colored mayfly hatch was going on (couldn’t catch one to get an id). The trout seemed to be keying in on the mayflies though. I used a size 18 Adams and probably caught 5 or so fish in an hour with many misses.

    This place is a great little fishery and a surprise that it is so close to home. It can be fairly close quarters in spots so I definitely recommend shorter rods with something about 6.5-8′ being ideal. Happy fishing!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Just stumbled upon your site, and though I now live and guide on the upper Columbia in northeastern Washington, I enjoyed reading about my old stomping grounds, the San Gabriel. It’s been 35 years since I fished it, but that water holds a special place in my heart, as it may have saved me from certain perdition. As a kid growing up in Glendora I was a regular there. In the early ’70′s the West Fork hosted good evening hatches of white-gloved-howdy mayflies, nicely imitated with a #16 Adams and a simple, light-gray soft-hackle for the emerger; the #14 Royal Wulff was a great prospecting dry; yellowjacket, spider and ant patterns were very good; the river contained a good population of aquatic worms and as a kid I used to imitate these with a latex pattern made from a natural rubberband wound around the hookshank to form the segmented body. Seemed like any attractor that incorporated peacock herl worked good. I used to vacuum that creek, East, West and North Forks, and Bear Creek, carefully stalking and using an upstream, high-stick, short-line nymphing technique, using two nondesript brown or gray soft-hackle nymphs, one of them weighted. Glad to hear that people are still enjoying that great watershed. I know many good flyfishers who got their start on that water.

  6. Chuck says:

    Hello all! Long story short, I just moved out to Azusa and I am just now searching for a place to go fishing. I’ve never really done fly fishing before, so I don’t really know what I need. What lures and such would you all recommend and would I need to purchase those wading pants? Once again, Ive never gone fly fishing, I am a total novice, if you have any advice or questions, shoot my an email at or just reply here. Thanks!

  7. Rob says:

    I love the West Fork (and the East fork in the fall-spring). The other day I finally saw first person why they call the tributary “Bear Creek.” A good sized black bear was walking along the riverbed halfway between where Bear Creek meets the west fork and the parking lot.

    That bear must be accustomed to being around people because he came within 20-30ft of the “day campers” along the river bank and he didn’t even seemed spooked.

  8. Matthew says:

    Visited Bear Creek last weekend ,had no luck with the fly rod usings dries, but caught a 4″ rainbow with the spinning rod using a barbless salmon egg fly. The West Fork was way to murky to be fished from all the recent rain ,but bear creek was flowing clear.

  9. Steve says:

    I fish that area alot and I’m not sure where bear creek is. How would I get to it? I hear it’s off the west fork but where?
    P.S. Great site!

  10. Mark says:

    Fished the West Fork on 3/17/10. Hiked up to the 2nd bridge and found that the area beyond it is closed to recover from fire damage. Came back down to a nice pool about a 1/8 mi. down and caught 6 rainbows in about an hour on a #20 BWO. Size ranged from 3″ to 8″.

  11. Greg says:

    I have been fishing the West Fork for more than 30 years and have no knowledge of any brown trout there, so I am wondering where that comment came from. It used to be much better prior to the release of silt from Cogswell years back. Now with many of the deep holes filled in with silt, the water is shallower and gets warmer making it much less capable of supporting a good year-round fishery. While the fish are still there, they are probably less likely to survive the ordeal of “catch and release” when they are caught in the hot summer months. Bear creek comes in below the second bridge but can’t be seen from the road since it is obscured by brush. I hope we get some good storms in the next few years to wash out the brush and silt and restore it back to its previous grandeur.

  12. Sean Fenner Sean Fenner says:

    Thanks for the input. However I have to disagree with a couple of things you commented on. First the stream has been producing Wild Rainbows for decades, and there are almost no stocked fish left as it has not been stocked since late 2008. Due to the recent drought Bear Creek can be seen just fine from the West Fork Road, and the ocassional Brown Trout does come into the stream from the upper and lower reservoirs as they were stocked to keep the Bass and Panfish populations in the reservoirs down. Some of the species in the West Fork (again rare not plentiful but there) are the arroyo chub, speckled dace, and santa ana sucker. Hope this helps.


  13. Matthew says:

    Saturday morning I took a trip up to the west fork , caught 2 rainbows about 6-8in with the fly rod using a new pattern from orvis its a type of spinner but looks like a small black gnat…. size is like 20-22 so its pretty small. after that I headed up bear creek to find the trout population was very strong ,and healthy ; I seen more wild trout then I every had in my life in the first 1.5 miles of the creek , fish from 1in to a least 10in swimming in schools of 10-20. I’m very pleased to see how well the fish are breeding ,so please anyone who visits here keep the sreams clean and free of trash so everyone can enjoy the beauty, and good fishing, and always catch and release your fish unharmed. thanks

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