In case you haven’t heard, SoCal has been under “storm watch” for the last couple of weeks, which means… it has been raining and the fishing has been lousy.
I know that sounds trite to those of you reading this after shoveling three feet of heavy off the driveway and it’s easy to think we are just a bunch of pansies getting worked up over a little bit of water, but the reality of the situation is that despite what the old song says or what the common perception of SoCal weather is… it rains here and it rains hard – just not often. The standing state record for maximum rainfall in a 24-hr. period (occurred in 1943 just a few miles from downtown L.A.) topped out at 26.12 inches – yeah, over an inch and hour for 24 hours straight. That’s a lot of water for anywhere.
Now I’ll grant that comparably speaking, SoCal winter temps ARE milder than most other areas of the country – rarely has anyone had their nipples freeze solid just from removing their shirt at a local football game, like say, in Green Bay. And the fact is that the lowest recorded temperature for downtown Los Angeles, 28 degrees, has only occurred three times since recording began in the 1870’s, but unless you’ve lived here, it would be wise not to underestimate what our cold, wet, winter storms can do.
Every couple of years, and this appears to be one of them, we experience a series of truly wicked storms that hammer the region in a short, intense period of time and generally jack things up in a pretty royal fashion.
Forget about trying to fish the L.A. River. They’ve got helicopters plucking stranded transients and wayward German Shepherds from mid-stream bridge abutments while uprooted trees and battered shopping carts go tumbling past at some 35 miles per hour – all stuff that can seriously hamper the back cast or foul the drift.
Nor is it a good idea to surf fish right now. The coastal waters are a surging, pounding, fetid brew of bacteria, toxins and pollutants sprinkled with many tons of urban debris that inundate and impale the beach, and anyone fool enough to be standing there, with each set of breakers.
Likewise, most of the local urban lakes resemble bogs more than lakes due to the floating mats of leaves and half-submerged tree limbs washed into them from the surrounding park spaces. Better to tie on a piece of yarn and practice casting in the now clean grass then to risk nicking the new fly line on all of the debris in the water.
Yet, as they say, this too shall pass. In fact, in the big scheme of things, SoCal is doin’ all right. Sure, the rains are here and it is inconvenient from the urban angling perspective but there’s really nothing to complain about…except, maybe my friend, Ray.
You see, the other night when we finally got a break in the weather, Ray and his wife began texting me while I was attending a very important function. It seems that they had snuck off to Anaheim Lakes to take advantage of some heavy stocking there last week.
The messages went something like this:
“just got #7”
“oop, make that #8 & #9”
“Hot chocolate & fire…opp, bobber movin’ again”
It turns out that the privately operated lakes at Anaheim Lakes had come through the storms quite nicely and have (make that had – unless those text messages were bogus) some sizeable stocked Rainbow Trout that are hitting top and bottom.
So, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining and it looks like Anaheim Lakes might be the silver lining for the SoCal urban angler during this stormy season.
As for me, I’m hoping that the silver lining to all my goading and chiding of Ray and his wife is that we get to taste some of that trout.
I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’