Sometimes it’s all you need. A little time away, just you and the fish. Not thinking about anything else that is going on in the world, just what fly to tie on the end of the line.
The local mountains are my get away destination and at 1-2 hours from doorstep to water, getting away is a whole lot easier than most people think. The Santa Ana River was my most recent get away destination, and the fishing was amazing.
I arrived at the entrance just as the sun was rising and the crisp cool air felt great. I hit about a 3 mile stretch of the stream and caught many Wild Browns and both Wild and Stocker Rainbows.
It’s amazing to me how these local mountain Trout can change so much from one day to another. Some days I gets hits all on dry flies, others on nymphs so tiny you can barely tie them, and still other days like this one when a good ol’ Woolly Bugger does the trick.
I am not exaggerating I tried every flies in my box, with all a couple of small fish to show for about 1 1/2 hours time. Fed up I pulled out the bugger, and the Trout ‘Went Wild”. I was getting hit after hit after hit. Browns & Rainbows it didn’t matter, I couldn’t keep them off the line.
At about 1:00 pm I decide to call it quits and make my 2 hour long journey home.
Thanks to the infamous 91 freeway traffic and people driving like a 16 year old the first time they put their hands on the wheel. But, with all my limbs in tact and no claims to my Insurance Agent (ME) I was home safe and sound with memories from the day running through my head like a wild fire.
Suddenly all of the work waiting on my desk for me on Monday, choirs to do around the house, etc didn’t seem as stressful as I had made them out to be the day before.
The last couple of weeks have been go, go, and go some more. Between Work, Personal Obligations, and my Wife’s sister being out from Las Vegas. I have had absolutely NO TIME TO FISH!!!
Saturday marked a break in the chaos. We traded in our working gloves for a nice relaxing weekend up in Big Bear, and to me that meant Saturday morning fishing on the Santa Ana River.
I arrived at my starting point at about 6:00 am, and the birds were just starting to sing their melodies as the sun rose to the east. I grabbed my gear, hit the first hole, and from the first cast I just felt all the stress and tension melt away.
I’m sure it helped that I pulled about 5 nice little Brown Troutand Rainbow Troutout of the first hole, and the fish just continued to show. I was enjoying the beauty around me so much. I almost forgot that I run a fishing blog and my camera was begging to get in on the action.
The day was more than I could ask for. I got hung up a few times and even lost a couple of flies. But, when you’re catching that many fish it doesn’t seem to matter.
The only thing I need to get through my thick head, is to bring insect repellent. After my arrival back at the cabin I was covered from head to toe in bug bites, though my bliss seemed to help me ignore them (at least until the next morning)
By 11:30 the Bait fishermen were out in full force, and I decided to say adeu. I did however stop to greet each one I passed checking for a fishing license, and to make sure they were not out laying a slaughter fest on the stream. A couple of guys even asked me if they had stocked recently (I guess I just look official), to which I replied they never stock this stream and you should probably head over to the Lake. What can I say, they just seem to rub me the wrong way. Plus, I really can’t stand the smell of Powerbait!
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!”
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”!
Sometimes in Fly Fishing you just get flat out get lucky. A few days ago was one of those days, and man was I lucky. I got to La Mirada Park Lake and the Rainbows were rising all over the place. What happens is the DFG stocks the lake and the Trout stay schooled up for about the first day.
But this was different. I have seen a few Trout stocked in Urban Lakes rising, but these Bows were going nuts. I tied on a Stimulator hands shaking with probably the worst knot I have ever tied, wanting nothing more at that moment then to get a fly in the water.
First Cast the Stimulator hit the water and a 1 1/2 pound fish hit the surface like it was the only food he had ever seen. The pounce was so reckless, the fly didn’t even get in it’s mouth. At this point my knees were shaking and I swung out a roll cast to the same spot and same result only with a fish on the other end of the line. It fought really good for a hatchery raised trout (especially since the recent stockings have producing really weak fish).
3rd cast same result, another fish in the net. Could I be dreaming? Three casts and 2 fish at a Park Lake at the end of the season. What was going on? I didn’t want to find out so I kept casting and the Rainbows kept coming.
As the sun set I realized that I had been there for about 2 hours and I had caught over 20 fish. Like I said there are just some day where you get flat out lucky. I sat down on the bench on the other side of the park and watched as the sun set on one of the most amazing Trout days I have ever had, and it wasn’t on a Lake, River, or Stream it was at an Urban Park about 10 minutes from my house.
Saturday started out as a beautiful day. I woke up early in the morning to head up to the San Gabriel River, the birds were singing and the coffee was calling my name.
The Reservoir was filling up the OHV area and will be fishable soon, and the water levels were running fast and high. I hit the corner to the entrance of West Fork and utter shock came over me, I knew since we had all of the recent rain the fork would be a little blow out but this was insane.
The water was running Dark Brown with sediment and all of the stream lining shrubbery was wiped out. I made my way back to were Bear creek dumps in and the difference in water color was shocking, it was like photos from National Geographic of the Amazon River trying to force it’s way into the ocean. I am extremely worried about how many fish will survive, and how many if any fish spawning will produce this year.
I had to get my mind of this, so I strolled over to the East Fork to fish one of my favorite holes and breathed a sign of relief when I seen the water running high and clear. What a load off my mind, a large amount of sediment run off on both major forks would be devastating to the Wild Rainbow Population.
East Fork yielded a few tiny fish and a couple of half hearted looks from some larger ones. Water Flows were high and the fish tend not to bite as well when you can’t get your fly to stay in the strike zone very long.
“I want to urge anyone that goes fishing on the San Gabriel River to practice catch and Release Only. The river is already not being stocked, so the fish you are catching are all wild and a decrease in the number of fish this year seem to be inevitable. So please do not take any of the fish on any of the forks, or in a few years there might not be any fish left!”
There are many great things about not having to work on Christmas Eve, one is that I can go fishing in the morning and another is that a lot of people are working or at home with family. That means that every year on Christmas Eve morning I am out on the water all by my lonesome.
I had to decide where I was going to fish and I have been long overdue for a hike up into Santa Anita Creekto get in a little Wild Rainbow Trout Action. I was amazed when I got the the Chantry Flats parking lot and it was almost empty, when it is normally busting at the seems with people looking to take a nice stroll amongst the beauty of the canyon.
The hike and the fishing was great. I managed a few small native fish after just a few hours time and the weather was crisp, cool, and refreshing. I was amazed to see how many trees had been uprooted though by our recent rainstorm, after such a dry season the last couple of years and then the sudden rain the roots must not have had a very strong hold.
Can’t wait for my next trip up there, I am such a sucker for the beautiful waterfall dams that line the hike about every 1/4 of a mile. If you decide to do any kind of fishing up in Santa Anita Creek, please remember to practice “Catch and Release Only”. The creek is small, has not been stocked in a long time, and cannot spare even one fish to power bait and treble hooks!!!