Location and Directions:
The San Gabriel River is located in Los Angeles County near the city of Azusa, CA. From Int. 210. Take hwy. 39 (Azusa Av.) exit North into the canyon. Once you pass the second reservior you can turn Left to the West and North Forks or Right to the East Fork.
The river is open year round. Fishing is free as long as you have a valid Fishing License and a $5 Forest Adventure Pass to park your vehicle. (available at the ranger stations) Camping is available at several campsites on the East Fork.
Other lakes in the area:
Santa Fe Dam
Like many of the mountain streams in SoCal, this was once a very popular fishing spot, receiving weekly plantings of rainbow trout from the DFW. In 2005, the DFW halted all rainbow trout plants here in an effort to protect the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog which supposedly lives here. There are still some wild trout here along with some carp, bass and panfish in the lower section. Be sure to visit the CDFW web site for complete regulations before heading out.
Comments and Tips:
I have had great fishing days here. and bad fishing days with at least 1 fish.
This area is known to have super strong carp to Asians. That's probably why you see a lot of Asians with super long carbon fiber rods to feel the strength of these fish.
One night, i was fishing right in front of the shooting range and caught 13 carps in one night in about 2-3 hours. (Full moon in August 2011) And a week after, i only caught one fish.
Right under the bridge where you take a right to the east fork seems to be a good spot. you see people there day and night even during weekdays. you see bass jumping towards the night.
on a decent day, most people seem to catch about 5-7 carps or 3-5 bass.
There are plenty of fish here but you just need to find a good spot.
Some places are extremely tough to get to since the mountain is steep and its a tough hike. but it is definitely worth it at times.
Caution: there are LOTS of trees everywhere under water when the water level is high (especially during spring). So just be careful when you cast. If you go fishing when the water level has just gone down, you will see trees that look like a christmas tree with bunch of lures on the tree. I even saw a fishing pole hanging on the tree... probably someone wasn't paying attention when they were fishing.
I fished San Gabriel on 02/22/2011. What a trip I landed a 17" beautiful Rainbow and a few 12" inchers as well. What a beautiful resevoir to fish, just wish people picked up after themselves.
About the West Fork of the San Gabriel. For those who want catch and release it is already there, a bit above the bridge on the access road. The area even includes some sites for people to fish from wheel chairs. The river as a whole, as well as the East Fork is a good place for fly fishing novices.
Bruce Wright (greybeard)
If you know something about this area that you'd like to share, please E-mail and I'll post it here!