Category: River Beds
Sitting in hospital waiting rooms and doctors offices has to be one of the least pleasurable ways to spend ones time. However, due to circumstances beyond our control, that is exactly where we have been for much of the last few weeks.
So, as I sit in these places, I am left to ponder some of the great mysteries of modern health care and am left to conclude that it all just doesn’t make much sense.
How is it that I can perch my backside on a pointed piece of granite jutting out from a muddy river bank which plummets at a forty-five degree angle into icy water but I can’t find a waiting room in all of SoCal that has reasonably comfortable chairs?
How is it that I can hold an algae covered size sixteen Pheasant tail between my teeth and never even trigger a gag reflex but feel the immediate urge to hurl as soon as some sugar-hyped, whimpering, green-nosed toddler wipes his face on the chair next to me?
How is it that I can follow detailed tying instructions and produce a reasonably good imitation of a carp fly, or follow questionable directions to a new fishing spot scribbled on the back of an In-N-Out receipt, or manage to figure out increasingly convoluted state fishing regulations but can’t seem to fill out one of those stinkin’ hospital forms in a meaningful way?
How is it that a cafeteria that employs scores of highly educated and well-trained professional nutritionists can’t produce a palatable meal for someone who’s not that picky — someone who willing and regularly chooses to dine on jerky, cheese sticks and canteen water without complaint?
How is it that navigating the hallways, red tape and front desks of our health care system is more vexing then the worst wind knot or bird’s nest ever encountered?
Yeah, how is all that.
Needless to say, the modern healthcare system can be an exasperating experience, however, I would like to think that I’m a silver lining kind of guy (after all, my chosen passion is “brown-lining”) so apart from ranting against healthcare I’d like to “prescribe” a far more effective therapy that doesn’t involve paper gowns, IV’s, hypodermic needles or insurance forms. Yeah, you guessed it — urban flyfishing.
You see, after far too many hours spent trapped inside medical offices, I fairly screamed to my beautiful and long-suffering bride that we needed some outside time – yeah, outside where the temperature was not regulated and the lighting was not fluorescent and where you might get dirty and where – if you chose carefully—the sound of rushing water drowned out most other noises and… well, you get the picture.
And much to my delight, my lovely wife agreed with me. So within short order we found ourselves at a local park with fly rods in hand, casting black and olive wooly buggers toward likely looking cover as the sun slipped low on the horizon.
And, as anticipated, my chosen form of “self-medication” began to help the clenched jaw and gritted teeth to relax and the shoulders to unknot and the furrowed brow to unwrinkle and the rhythm of my breathing to slow down and things to slowly, gently return to the form of normalcy that had left for a while.
So all that to say, if it wasn’t clear before: I love this addiction called urban flyfishin’.
Last Saturday morning my younger brother Steven and I had a couple of hours to go and get a quick scouting report on the main So Cal River Beds. We started the morning with Starbucks and a little bit of music to get us in the spirit.
First stop was to the LA River at Glendale Narrows. The water was clear and promising, the trees were green and lush, but the Carp were no where to be found. We walked about a mile stretch of the river with a Mallards, Geese, and Cormorants. A Chow Chow dog stopped us in the middle of our trek back to the car, as the about 14 year kid holding him back looked more scared than we did. So, off the the next Brownline on the map we went.
Next up was the San Gabriel Riverat Whittier Narrows which I was hoping to see stuffed with Tilapia and again not a single fish spotted. I stopped a few older Hispanic men fishing the river and after a short great of “Contraron Pescados” and after three simultaneous No’s, to the other side of the river we went. We stepped around the bushes and into the “Homeless City” we found ourselves. I quickly apologized and we said our goodbyes to our newly found friends. At this point I was starting to get a little worried, as in my mind I was thinking that this time last year there were fish all over these two stretches of River.
Our third and final destination was the Santa Ana River Bed at the intersection of the 91 & 57 freeways and by this time I wasn’t in the best of mood. We had about 30 minutes left before we had to shoot home to meet my wife and get to the Aquarium Of The Pacific to meet our friends. We walked a short stretch and one guy told us he’d seen a pod of Carp earlier that morning, but no fish again (not one). On the way back to the car I viewed an Osprey carrying a Trout from Santa Ana River Lakes in it’s claws racing to get the fish to it’s hatchlings.
In short the lack of fish concerns me, especially since I have been hearing stories of guys down at all three river beds with bait nets pulling out 100′s of fish. If you decide to fish down here, please practice “Catch and Release”. The fish aren’t good eating and it’s not like the California Department of Fish & Game stocks these waters. I will be really hard for people to petition the state to get these made into recognized fisheries, if there aren’t any fish left!
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