Do You Want to go Fishing in the LA River?

If you have been keeping up with what is happening on the Los Angeles River, you know there is no shortage of proposed projects floating around to revitalize it. One of those projects is proposing the creation of a good habitat for fish. Did you know that fish were once abundant in the Arroyo Seco and trout fishing was a great pastime for those living along the Arroyo? Of course, this was prior to 1920 when the Devil’s Gate Dam construction began. Once the concrete bottom was put in, for channelization, it became virtually impossible for the steelhead trout to make their way to the ocean. That, combined with the fire debris in the channel and the drought, that lasted from 2000 to 2018, caused most people assumed the trout had totally disappeared. But low and behold, a Pasadena fisherman set out to prove them wrong. In mid-April, Steve Oliva, an avid fisherman and an attorney, caught and released one trout in the Arroyo Seco.

This exciting news gives a boost to the Los Angeles River Fish Passage and Habitat Structures Design, (LARFPHSD), a City of Los Angeles project. This project, according to the Council for Watershed Health, is exploring how improvements in a 4.8-mile stretch of the river near downtown will create a “steelhead fish passage in the LA River as a migration corridor to the upper tributaries of the LA River Watershed spawning grounds,” and ultimately allow the trout to complete their life cycle. Wendy Katagi, of Stillwater Sciences, says the goal would be to “deepen and slow the river velocity during migration periods.” To accomplish this, the project calls for the concrete channel to be removed, creating a soft-bottomed river area, and fish-friendly habitat. This stretch of the river runs from the Glendale Narrows, where the soft bottom currently is at Taylor Yard, to Washington Blvd. If connected to the Glendale Narrows, the soft river bottom would span almost 16 miles long.

This project has a great team behind it, including the City of Los Angeles, US Army Corp of Engineers, Council for Watershed Health, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife, Stillwater Sciences, Bureau of Reclamation, Los Angeles County, National Marine Fisheries Service, Friends of the Los Angeles River, and the Arroyo Seco Foundation. With a backing like that, we will soon be grabbing our rods and heading toward the river.

For more information on the project, go to

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