Authors Note: This article first appeared on Fallfish Tenkara. However, in an effort to create a resource for Japan and Tenkara enthusiasts I have moved non-Japan related content from Fallfish Tenkara to this site.
Ever since I discovered Tenkara the Los Angeles River has been high on my list of rivers to fish. It may seem a little odd to want to fish one of the most polluted rivers in the US so badly – a river of which nearly 100% of its natural habitat has been decimated. But the Los Angeles River is making a comeback and I dig comeback stories. In 50 years when the steelhead finally return I want to say I fished the river when the 180 began (b.t.w. this book is a great read and the $ goes to a great cause). I want to be a part of that story of restoration. Anglers now flock to the river to try their luck at catching base, tilapia, bluegill, catfish, and above all carp (which is populating more and more hipster Instagram feeds). Not to mention I had lived very close to it for years and never went to check it out so I felt I owed it to myself to go see what all the fuss was about.
So within a few hours of returning from an awesome trip to the High Sierra I hooked up with a new Tenkara buddy and we headed down to the Los Angeles River. We parked at Marsh Street Nature Park, which is very close to the intersection of the 2 Freeway and Interstate 5. Power lines crisscrossed the clear blue sky and the sounds of air brakes and trains were only drowned out when you were standing in the river. It was a stark contrast to the tranquility of the Upper Owens River that I had just fished the day before. Still I was happy.
I was very surprised to see so much water in the river. Because of the current drought California is experiencing I was expecting it to be a trickle but there is enough water in the river for kayaks and I spotted a large group while fishing a shallow pool. After fishing several promising looking spots, and only catching one 3” baby small mouth bass (or maybe it was a mosquito fish?), we headed to the Spokes Café for some refreshments. We had only explored a very small section of the river closest to the park but I had been pleasantly surprised by what I had found in the river channel. There was an abundance of life, the water was deep and wide in many places, there wasn’t too much trash, and I felt strangely refreshed but above all I was excited to see what the future holds for the Los Angeles River.
To get involved or to just get more information be sure to check out LA River Fly Fishing