Sometimes all the mind needs to “find a little bit of clarity”, is Fly Fishing for Trout. Just You vs. the Trout. You armed with a pattern matching every bug ever seen on the West Coast and the Trout with an amazing set of eyes. Your disadvantages are the snag lined banks and being a lefty (if you’re me). The trout, it’s hunger and the split second it has to filter your fly.
Last Saturday I woke up excited to get in the car and head up to Mount Baldy for a little Trout fishing on San Antonio Creek. It was my first time fishing there (believe it or not), and I’m always excited about what new water might have to offer. I arrived energized and ready to tackle each hole from the falls all the way to the town. Bluejays were singing and I had a good feeling!
After casting into 5 holes on different sections (and not one fish), my enthusiasm turned to frustration. I was just about ready to leave for my favorite spot on the San Gabriel River. I made up my mind however, that I would try a little tributary I had heard good things about, before I called it a day. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. First hole, first cast, and I was into a nice little Brown Trout. Then two more casts and two more fish from the same hole. I hiked a total of about 1 mile up the tributary and landed about 30 brownies along the way.
After stepping into what I thought was Poison Oak (and it turned out it was), I decided to call it a morning and head back home to my beautiful wife. As I was packing everything up, two guys stopped me and asked if I was fishing. I with Fly Rod in hand replied yes (with a little sarcasm in my voice)! Then one of the guys ignoring my tone, proceeded to tell me about a spot that they had seen with 4 or 5 pools holding a ton of fish. I replied “Thanks for the info” and proceeded to pack up my gear, and I was sceptical due to my earlier encounter on the main stream.
Down the road a ways I viewed the spot the two hikers told me about, and talked myself into taking a look. Pulled the rod and reel out, and hit the pools. Each of the pools provided about 5 Rainbow Trout, and again I was glad that I went with my instinct and gave it a shot.
After all my motto is “If there’s water, there must be fish in it!”
How about entering a big water conventional fishing tournament, and winning the grand prize of $1 Million big ones with a 883 pound tournament record marlin. Only to have it stripped away, because you were dumb enough to enter without getting a fishing license. Don’t believe it? Well it really happened at the 52nd annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament! Click the link below for the full story
The other day my phone rang at 4:00p.m. and on the other line was a fellow “UrbanFlyVenturer” letting me know that his brother is in town from the south, and he wanted to fish with me at a local park lake for an hour or two. Work was slowing down and I figured I would make it out of the office by 5:30p.m., so I asked where they wanted to meet. Ralph Clark Regional Park Lake was close, so that’s where we headed.
I arrived not really knowing what to expect. I had not fished with either of them before, and was not really sure what they were hoping to gain from the trip. Did they just want to talk to me? Did they want some fishing advise? Or was there some other motive?
Always excited to meet someone new and gain some fishing insight. I pulled up and they were waiting for me anxiously. I said “hi”, and they quickly asked “you bring any Poppers”. “I advised as a matter of fact, I brought just about every fly I own, I wasn’t sure what species or tactic you guys were after”. The brother advised that he wanted to show me some cool tactics he had learned for all flies in the popper category: poppers, chuggers, sliders, etc. All in exchange for a little info on a few tactics for Carpin streams.
A fair deal I thought and we got right down to it. We fished a total of about two and a half hours, and I was amazed at how many fish we caught in that time span. Usually when I’m getting a lesson catching fish isn’t really involved. But wow! Did I ever walk away with a new sense of confidence on how to fish these flies.
I was asked to keep the names anonymous for reasons I am really not sure, but a big “THANK YOU” to John Doe non the less!
So talk to people, get involved in a forum, and you never know what valuable information you might gain!
A 3 foot long 20 Pound Asian Carp was caught today slipping past the electric barriers that are meant to keep this out of the Great Lakes. It is reported to have been caught by a commercial fishing boat on Lake Calument in Chicago’s South Side. Click on the link below to read the article.
Fly Fishing plays alot of roles in my life. At times it’s my nemesis, other times my friend, sometimes my hobby, and even an addiction. There is never a dull moment. Just when you think that you have gotten skunked for the last time and you are going to put that gear away never to touch it again. A day like this past Saturday comes around!
I was having trouble falling asleep Friday night. My faith and will amongst many other things have recently been tried and tested to extreme measures. So here it was 4:00 am and I was wide awake after only getting about 4 hours of sleep. So, I started to gather my Fly Fishing Gear and made up my mind that the San Gabriel River would be my destination. After about an hour of cleaning out my fly boxes and a short Trout Unlimited video, I could not take sitting around anymore and off I went.
I arrived at the San Gabriel at about 5:45 am after a quick stop for a Mc Donalds ice coffee. The sun was coming up over the ridge and the birds were in beautiful harmony. I drove down to East Fork when all of the sudden 3 Coyote pups were running in front of car scared beyond measure and not knowing which way to turn.
After this got my adrenaline pumping and about 4 more coyotes running across the road. I was ready to step into the brisk air and let my fly hit the water. I tied on a Stimulator with a copper John Dropper and away I went. I hit the first pool and with the first cast, first Rainbow caught. I fished that hole for about 15 minutes and was pleasantly surprised to pull out about 15 more fish. Moving on I fished a few more pools with a few more caught and it was time to drive over to the North Fork.
I arrived at the North Fork with not another sole in sight (which if you have been there this time of year is amazing). The fish seemed to be a little bigger and hit with more reckless abandon than normal. All in all, quite a few more fish caught and this was turning out to be quite an amazing day. As the day started to heat up the hatches and the terrestrials started coming out, and so did all of the people wanting to walk there dogs right into my fishing hole. That was my que to head over to the West Fork and hike back away from the crazies.
The West Fork was beautiful as always, and I was astonished to see fish rising so close to the entrance of the trail. Since the DFG hasstopped stocking the stream, the wild fish seem to have come out in full force and what a blessing that is. I made it back a mile of so and began to wade into the cold stream with my Teva Sandals enjoying the water as it helped to take some of the heat off. I could not believe how many fish I hooked, and how many I missed for that matter. I literally lost count after catching my 50th fish of the day. Days like that just don’t come around that often especially in Southern California, and so what did I do? I decided to go for it all and tied on a giant size 10 Stimulator just to see what was really in that water, and if I could get it to rise.
Oh my, and rise it did! With a giant plash a huge Wild Bow came ripping out of the water and the fight was on. I was using my little Eagle Claw 3 Weight which feels more like a 0 weight and this fish was testing it hard. Just when I though I had it landed the fish, back into the current it went. When it was all over the fish was about 14-15 inches and the girth on it made it the biggest Wild Rainbow TroutI had ever caught on the San Gabriel River!
So don’t ever quit this beautiful sport, because “You never know when that skunk will turn into one amazing fish”!
I am always amazed at the so-called coincidences and subtle interwoven interactions of life. Toss in a connection with fishing, and I am not just amazed, I am also amused.
Consider, for example, the following thread of events from this past week:
I spoke to my sister on the phone last Monday and during the course of the conversation, we reminisced briefly about the tiny flat she and her husband used to rent in London.
It was literally on the banks of the mighty Thames, and seriously within a stone’s throw of the London Bridge and Tower.
I could actually sit out on the balcony sipping my morning coffee and casually converse with guys who were flyfishing from the muddy banks below – all in the virtual center of one of the greatest cities on earth. I loved that little place.
So then last Tuesday, while heading to our next appointment, my wife and I were cruising down one of the major thoroughfares that knit the various communities of Orange county together when we crossed over one of a thousand small drainage channels that spider all over SoCal.
From my elevated vantage at the helm of our rolling veterinary hospital I caught a quick glimpse of the mild flow of water coursing between the rip-rap lined and concrete reinforced banks.
In the milli-seconds that I had to capture the entire scene – something which I am convinced is a by-product of growing up in the car culture of SoCal – I made the assessment that that little waterway would be a great place to practice fly casting and line mending techniques. The only thing lacking would be fish.
That, of course, started me thinking about the previous day’s conversation with my sister, those barely remembered conversations with retired stockbrokers on the banks of the Thames and…
…that led me on a whole other tangent of thought with regard to loss of native fish species, the wonders of civil engineering, the re-establishment of salmon in the Thames River, urban renewal and so on and so on
Thus, with those thoughts swimming around in my head, once we finally settled in for the evening, I feverishly tuned my attention to the info super highway and typed away into the wee hours of the morning tracking down useful information which just might possibly lead to a new, untapped or long forgotten spot to fish. I am singular in purpose, if nothing else.
I did not turn up any secret “honey hole” that I’m willing to share but I did stumble upon some fascinating info nonetheless. It turns out there are something like a hundred miles of those open channels all across the greater L.A. Basin. They in turn connect to some 1500 miles of underground pipes and tunnels and eventually it all feeds into sixty or so outflows that pour into the ocean. Seems that that little phrase from the movie, Finding Nemo, does have a basis in truth (at least in SoCal) — “all (storm) drains lead to the Ocean”.
Folks who get paid to calculate such things, tell us that roughly 100 million gallons of water flows through this network on any given dry day. Toss in some rain and the flow jumps to an astounding 10 billion (yeah, with a “B”) gallons per day! That’s a lot of water.
One only has to look at a map of these channels and such and it isn’t too hard to surmise that SoCal was once a magical place of meandering creeks and small streams and living, breathing rivers.
As coincidence would have it, the very same day I was pondering these things, our fellow bloggers over at L.A. Creek Freak posted a great story (excerpted from a Press-Enterprise story of a year ago) about the re-appearance of the Santa Ana Speckled Dace in the City Creek portion of that waterway.
Dace are smallish and minnow-like and probably wouldn’t put up much of a fight except maybe on a 00 weight rig. The bigger battle would be trying to convince the judge that you were actually fishing for a legal to catch species.
Nevertheless, the story by Creek Freak directed me toward additional sites and eventually I came across some pretty interesting articles documenting the fact that at least until the 1930’s, honest-to-goodness Steelhead used to swim very close to the present day location of Los Angeles City Hall.
So…in a little more than twenty-four hours I had come full circle. From a brief snippet of conversation which stirred a memory about flyfishing on the heavily urbanized Thames to a study on the drainage system of SoCal to copies of historical documents indicating that Steelhead swam the L.A River to my fishin’ buddy, Sean and I crawling through a hole in a fence to fish a section of urban channel we had never fished before… Like I said, what an amazing and amusing series of interactions…
I want to follow up my recent post with a serious message. Please respect the waters that you fish. D0 not mess with the delicate echo system that has been created for us Fishermen to enjoy. I have noticed that at many of the local spots, fish populations have been decreasing, water quality is down, and many other factors are contributing the decline of our fisheries.
Some of the ways that we can help are by practicing “Catch and Release”as much as possible. I’m not saying don’t ever take any fish but take in moderation, like only what you are going to eat and be smart about taking fish from waterways that are hurting. Pick up trash wherever you go, I make it a habit to not only pick up my trash but any trash that I see wherever I fish. Report any misuse of waterways to The Department of Fish and Game, if you see someone snagging fish, taking too many fish, using a bait net, or anything illegal, say something and report it right away.
If we do not take action this beautiful resource that we have in California will someday become non existent. The Department of Fish and Game and local organizations have had to cut back, so it is in our hands to try and help to fix this problem.