L.A. RIVER GOES “OFF THA’ HOOK” WITH FIRST-EVER FLY FISHING DERBY SEP 6
- PRO AND NEWBIE ANGLERS TO JOIN CATCH-AND-RELEASE TOURNEY
- CATCHES TO BE CATALOGED IN SEARCH FOR SIGNS OF STEELHEAD TROUT
On Saturday, September 6th, from 8:30 am to 12 pm, join Congressman Adam Schiff, CA State Senator Kevin DeLeon, LA City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, Lewis MacAdams, Friends of the Los Angeles River, Jim Burns, LA River Fly Fishing, Lewis MacAdams, Friends of the Los Angeles River, Dr. Rosi Dagit, conservation biologist, and Atwater Village Neighborhood Council for the First-ever L.A. River Fishing Derby, “Off tha’ Hook”
It will take place at North Atwater Park, 3900 Chevy Chase Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90039, and will cost $35 for adults. Free for children accompanied by an adult. Free to observe.
Adults and children can Catch-and-release fish in the green-bottomed Glendale Narrows section of the highly urban Los Angeles River, in sight of industrial buildings and the 5 freeway. The Los Angeles River Rover, FoLAR’s 38’ mobile visitor center/education lab, will be on site.
The sport of fly fishing conjures up images of wild mountain streams far from civilization, but on Saturday, September 6th, the urban setting of the Los Angeles River will for the first time play host to professional and beginner anglers in the first-ever Friends of the Los Angeles River “Off tha’ Hook” Fish Derby.
“When I began carp fishing the L.A River four years ago, I never imagined that the fates would converge to give the city its first fishing derby in the 21st or any other century,” said Jim Burns, proprietor of the blog lariverflyfishing.com. “The sudden rush of events from its designation by the EPA as navigable to the Corps decision to seek $1 billion in funding makes the revival of this beautiful, lush waterway for fishing, boating and family recreation a forgone reality.”
The establishment of the recreation zones along the Los Angeles River beginning in 2011 opened the river to uses that few would have previously associated with the 51-mile channel and its concrete beds. Since then, summers along the river have seen visitors and neighbors hiking along the river or exploring it in kayaks. And fishing has been legal with the purchase of a state fishing license. In addition to celebrating the river’s availability for fishing, “Off tha’ Hook” will demonstrate stewardship for would be anglers, informing the public about the responsibility to clear all lines, hooks, and trash from the river and its environs.
To attract interest from all levels of fishers, “Off tha’ Hook” will be held on one of two “free” days designated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, when licenses are not required. After an 8:30am press conference featuring the elected officials who made this happen, Flyfishing and Traditional Derbies will begin at 9 a.m. sharp. At 10 a.m. a “Family Fish” will begin for children with supervising adults. An awards ceremony will be held at 11 a.m.
In addition to calling attention to the river’s recreational possibilities, the fishing derby’s haul will help scientists understand the health of its riparian ecology.
“FoLAR has said for years that our work will be done when the steelhead trout return to the river,” said Lewis MacAdams, FoLAR co-founder and president. “Los Angeles cares about its river more than ever before, and with the selection of the Locally Preferred Plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the river’s true revitalization is a greater possibility than ever before. Who knows what we’ll catch?”
Steelhead, who once flourished in the L.A. River but have not been seen there since 1948, would provide both evidence of the river’s returning health and a call to action to restore it further. The fish is anadromous, meaning it changes from a freshwater to a saltwater fish over the course of its life.
While fly fishing as a sport has long focused on catching trout in quiet hard-to-reach settings, urban fly fishing has developed in recent years, with carp tournaments in Denver and Seattle. The Los Angeles River Fish Derby will be the most urban yet, in a city who until recently was more likely to think of its river as a concrete storm drain that a diverse wildlife habitat.
“When people hear ‘fly fishing’ they probably don’t think of Atwater Village as the place to be,” said Karen Barnett, River Committee Chair of the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council. “But our community is a great place to live, to work and to play, and because ‘A River Runs Through It,’ that’s about to include the first annual L.A. River fishing derby. We’re proud to be a part of bringing this great sport to the heart of L.A.