Posts tagged: Rainbow Trout

SAN GABRIEL RIVER NATIVES

By , February 12, 2013 11:44 pm

SGR Natives

It is no secret that my fishing buddy, Sean and I frequently fly fish the various forks of the upper San Gabriel River drainage as well as the lower sections and even the mouth of the river all the way down in Seal Beach. Exactly where we have the best success and land the most fish…well, that is and will remain a secret.

 However it is also no secret that the San Gabriel offers a huge variety of fishing opportunities for the urban angler looking for something slightly different and maybe even the opportunity to put into practice those line-mending techniques typically reserved for streams and rivers greater than an hour from home.

The upper San Gabriel is divided into three major forks  (North Fork, West Fork and East Fork) and drains an area of the Angeles National Forest about 400 square miles in size. Each fork varies in character from steep gradient, fast-moving, cold water to slower, slightly silted water. All three major forks and several smaller feeds hold fish. While some of the upper sections hold native trout that seldom see flies.

Speckled Dace

The lower section holds bass, sunfish, catfish, tilapia and carp while sand bass, kelp bass, flatfish and several other salt-water species can be taken on the fly down at the mouth of the river.

So the other day, after a very pleasant afternoon on the San Gabriel, I settled down in my favorite chair and began an internet search to see what 411 I could drum up on this very special river.

Now, you can probably imagine what an urban river that is only about an hour away from millions of people is subjected to on a day-to-day basis and you can also probably imagine what craziness people might post about their…um… activities on this river.

Although I’ll never be able to un-see some of the

nonsense I came across, I eventually found some research papers on the Fish & Game website describing the results from an electro-fishing survey performed in 2007 and 2008 on the upper stretches of the river above the Cogswell Dam.

As might be expected, rainbow trout were found throughout the drainage system. However, the next three most commonly seen species

 were: the speckled dace, the santa ana sucker and the arroyo chub.

Santa Ana Sucker

None of these native fish are considered game fish, though there are records and even historical photos (circa 1940) of suckers being taken on rod and reel. Chub can grow about five inches in length and slightly resemble minnows or very young goldfish. Chub can grow about six inches and also vaguely resemble minnows. Suckers can also grow slightly larger though under today’s conditions they usually don’t. They look some thing like a skinny carp.

As native species, the arroyo chub, speckled dace, and santa ana sucker have all figured prominently in various hotly–contested, lengthy and expensive legal and scientific battles. However, my interest in these fish (for the purposes of this article) rest more in their abundance as prey items and thus as potential clues as to how local urban anglers can use that info to catch more trout.

Arroyo Chub

My internet searching has found documents mentioning heavy predation by bass and sunfish on these native fish but little on trout predation. However, since trout are known to be efficient piscivores, especially as they grow to adult size, I am surmising that suckers, dace and chub are, in fact, part of the diet of rainbow trout in the San Gabriel River.

Armed with this hypothesis, I’ve decided to test it by carefully selecting some fly patterns resembling these fish for my next foray into the Angeles Forest.

I’ll keep you posted on how these patterns work…but I won’t be giving away any info on our secret spots.

I love this addiction called urban fly fishing.

GIFT OF GAB

By , January 19, 2013 10:14 pm

Gift of Gab

As I was fishing today at Ralph Clark Park Lake, an older gentleman walked up to me to ask me what I was doing (Like you can’t tell that I’m fishing). The thought crossed my mind, “How many fish have I missed out on, because I love talking to people so much”.

I’ve met so many fisherman, and usually as I walk past them, I shoot out a quick hello attached to something like “Any bites”. The normal response that I get is silence or a dirty look. Not in all situations, some of the people that I’ve met have been nice, and at times have even given some good fishing advice. Yet the majority of the times it seems to be people coming up to me, and I end up talking with them for about 30 minutes or so.

For example on this last trip out, I was only able to set aside about 2 hours to fish. Of those two hours I would say that about 1 1/2 hours were spent talking to people.

The first conversation was with a guy out fishing with his kid, and he looked like he had no idea what he was doing. I showed him how to rig up some Powerbait on a treble hook (as I mashed his barbs down, explaining the importance of doing it). By the time I had left, his son had caught his first fish, and the dad was one happy camper.

My second conversation was with an older Mexican guy that I spoke with en Espanol. He asked me what kind of fishing I was doing. So  I explained to him what Fly Fishing was, and let him cast my rod for about 10 minutes. Hopefully adding one new person to the Fly Fishing Community!

What A Way, To End The Day

Finally I moved on, and had a chance to wet my line. After about 10 minutes I was into an nice little stocker Rainbow Trout, that I had caught on a Bead Head Woolly Bugger. Immediately after, a guy who had been tossing around a Swim Bait (Trout Imitation) that had to weigh over a pound walked up to me and asked “What ya throwin”? I showed him my fly rod, as he continued to explain to me that he had no idea you could use a Fly Rod anywhere other than on a Trout Stream.

While I walked back to the car, he followed me as I showed him pictures of the different species that I catch on a fly rod. So I guess it’s a trade off, I may lose some time fishing, but every time I’m out I get to meet some really interesting person.

It guess that’s why we call it Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

By , January 17, 2012 10:43 pm

In Urban fly Fishing this one statement rings so true ”Timing is Everything”.

Especially when your doing a little Urban Park Fishing for stocked Rainbow Trout.

In the Urban setting we have a lot to compete with.

First there’s the Bait Fisherman. They fish for Trout at park lakes for one reason and one reason only, to eat the fish!

Second there’s the Cormorants, those vicious swimming birds that gobble up any fish they can get their beak on.

Third there’s the Bass. I’m not so much complaining about this one. Just take a quick look at the “All tackle top 25 Largemouth Bass ever caught”. California litters the list, and the main reason is our Trout stocking program. Our bass are getting protein, and a lot of it. Which makes for faster growth rates and heavier fish across the board.

The fourth and final road block is the Trout themselves. We’re talking stocked fish here, and their diet of pellets at the hatcheries sure looks a lot more like Power Bait than it does a Caddis Dry Fly or a Prince Nymph.

However a lot of times genetics kick into high gear, and the Stockers will just as readily take a Garlic Dipped Nightcrawler as they will a Woolly Bugger.

I had one such day last Saturday, as I pulled up to one of the Local Park Lakes with Rod and Reel in hand.

I could see a load of bait fisherman stacked up on edge of the lake. Not hard to see that the  Fish and Game truck must have been there just hours ago, and the Bows were still schooled up trying to acclimate to their new environment.

I took my position carefully across from where the baiters were, and tied on a size 14 Yellow Stimulator with a dropper Red size 18 Midge, and a small Egg Pattern.

One cast and I was into a really decent sized Rainbow splashing about. I finally got it to the net, and before I had even looked up there were 5 guys surrounding me “What are you using” they asked. A Fly I answered somewhat sarcastically.  

They stared at me for a moment and then retreated back, so as not to lose their precious spot they had been in since 5 am that morning.

Second cast. Wait for it “Fish on” I shouted out with excitement, another great sized Rainbow. I let him go to the reply of  “Come on save some fish for us”.

I cast a few more times without luck. So I reeled in my set up, and decided to switch over to a size 12 Black Bead Head Woolly Bugger.

A couple of casts getting the action right , and whack a fish comes out of left field and nails it at my feet so hard the rod almost slipped out of my hand. After a little fight and a quick 16  inch measurement in the net, back to the water he went.

 By this time all of the bait fishermen had switched over to a micro jig, and one kid had even ran to the car to get his Fly Rod.

At that point I decided to call it a day. The water was getting crowded, and I could feel the glares burning holes in the back of my head.

I did make a quick stop over to the kid to check out his fly rig. He had some 10 pound test rigged up to a wet fly with a bobber at the end of the fly line.

I pulled out a couple of flies and some tippet, and showed him how to rig up a hopper/dropper. After a quick casting lesson he was off to the races.

That’s what it’s really all about, seeing the enjoyment on a kids face the first time he picks up a fly rod. I think I can genuinely say that moment was worth more than any fish I had caught that day.

Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!

 

ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN

By , December 28, 2011 6:04 am

After the last few fishing trips I’ve had, let’s just say that I’ve been reluctant to get out. Let’s do a quick little recap.

The first trip out dealt me nothing more than my 3 Piece Okuma 3 Weight Guide Select Fly Rod, wait I mean 4 piece Rod after I slammed it in my truck door. Luckily it came with a warranty.

You all know how my Second trip out looked from Dan’s post CARDIO-FLY. Let’s just say that I have a high tolerance for pain, but getting stung by a scorpion is no joking matter.

My Third Trip left me with the worst case of Poison Oak that I’ve ever had, and I’m now starting to wear shorts again.

But everything (Yes even my bad luck) has a season, and I think that this season is finally behind me.

I found myself just a little more hesitant to get up in the morning. I was looking for any reason not to get in the car and start driving. But I found all my gear just where it was supposed to be, and yes I have a backup 3 weight Fly Rod.

So there I was driving up in to Mount Baldy, with all kinds of thoughts going around in my head of what could possibly go wrong this time. Maybe I’d get eaten by a Mountain Lion, bitten by a Rattle Snake, a car accident, something. But as the miles counted down I soon found myself standing at the creeks edge, taking long deep breathes.

I thought to myself “Here we Go”, now please understand that I am not a pessimistic person. My wife has even at times accused me of being a little too optimistic in light of some of the situations life has thrown at us.

But come on I was on a roll. I’m a history buff, and let’s just say that my recent history was telling me to be really, really careful.

As I hit the water, my old careless self started to creep back up, and I found myself making dangerous jumps from boulder to boulder, stepping all over Poison Oak, and even fishing freezing cold water and 40 degree air temperature  in my good ol’ Wrangler Cargo shorts.

After just a couple of casts I was back to myself, and pulling in decent size rainbows on almost every cast. After fishing about a 1 3/4 mile section of the stream, I found myself satisfied for the day. Okay I’ll be honest I didn’t want to push my luck. A couple of hours on the water and no accidents.

Call it what you will, Lucky, Blessed, all I know is I’m back.

Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!

 

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