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Local wild trout

Discussion in 'Special Feature: Q&A with Jim Brown' started by rmont, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. rmont

    rmont Member

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    What a great asset for SD Fish, I have fished with Jim for over 27 years and he has turned me on to some incredible local fishing! Jim I was thinking about fly fishing for local wild trout this Sunday. Do you think the run off is still to much to fly fish? If not, what pattern would you recommend? Thanks.
    Ron
     
  2. Jim Brown

    Jim Brown City Lakes Program Manager 1974-2003 (retired)
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    Thanks for the compliment Ron. When I grew up there were numerous local stream that held "wild trout" steambred rainbows which in most cases were the progeny of earlier planting by the DFG. At this point, after years of low to no water and some major fires, the number of streams has been reduced substantially. Nonetheless, there are very few options left and all are very sensiitive to how much pressure they can withstand. The one saving grace is that most of the fish are small enough so as to not be very attractive to most anglers - still, I know all about the desire to see a trout of any size rise up to take your dry fly as it rides down the current.

    Since I know you'd rather fish them with a dry fly than a nymph, I'd say you cant go wrong with an elkhair caddis or parachute Adams. These stream can be loaded with caddis and the Adams is a pretty universal facsimile of many other aquatic insects. Most importantly maybe is the fact that they are both very visible to the angler using them. The same flies will do well in our local lakes if and when they have a good midge hatch and the DFW rainbows start keying on them. The larger planted trout from the private hatcheries tend to be more inclined to taking a streamer, although you will sometimes find them in the mix with the DFW Quarter Pounders feeding on the emerging midges.

    The recently flooded and shallow east ends of Cuyamaca and Morena give hope to the return of some very enjoyable fly fishing in the months ahead.
     
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  3. landman10

    landman10 Well-Known Member

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    You guys are bringing back memories now. I would get trout below Cuyamaca all the time even way down by Descanso and Green Valley. Now below Morena I only would get bass and bluegill.
    How times change.
    Thanks Jim for all the history that your sharing.
     
  4. Jim Brown

    Jim Brown City Lakes Program Manager 1974-2003 (retired)
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    No problem and there is soooooo much more to share about the history of trout fishing here, and not just about rainbows, but browns, steelhead, brookies, cutthroat and silver salmon were released into local streams and lakes. In the 20's, San Diego kind of pioneered the concept of "cage culture" in which the fish were raised in both Otay in a net enclosure similar to a bait receiver in the bay. Twice a day the fish were fed trout chow by the caretaker and once they were large enough not to be an easy meal themselves, they were released into the lake.

    Rainbows and browns were stocked in Barrett where they carried over and made runs into Pine Valley Creek and Cottonwood Creek in Hauser Canyon. Now you've got me thinking about a much longer story about this for Lake Boy.

    While we still have a very few streams with some very remarkable little survivors, I'm not too keen on fishing them myself because their populations and to a certain degree the fish themselves are so fragile.
     
  5. mcfish

    SDFish VIP

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    Back in the 70s I had a friend who insisted he caught browns in Pine Valley creek....I thought he was full of it....maybe I was wrong!
     
  6. Jim Brown

    Jim Brown City Lakes Program Manager 1974-2003 (retired)
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    He was absolutely right, although I don't recall the year that we put fingerling browns in Pine Valley Creek and Boulder Creek, and they thrived. I tried to keep track of their growth for Bill Richardson the former fisheries supervisor out of Long Beach who okayed the request for Browns. As best as I can recall, after a year in Pine Valley Creek the biggest fish I recorded was 11 inches and a season later the largest was slightly over 15 inches, but they got wiped out pretty quickly.

    I'll never forget going up to check on them and seeing a couple kids with their rods and a metal stringer with some beautiful fish on it. I stopped to visit with the boys and gently encourage that they consider catch and release, but one of the boys shook his head, explaining, "my dad is paying me for each fish I catch."

    Just as stunning to me was that he was catching them on one of those Mepp's spinners that featured the hook embedded in a plastic fish. All of the fish were stocked below the old Highway 80 bridge, but spread out pretty well downstream as far as the I-8 bridge and probably beyond.
     
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  7. sherpa

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    I remember fishing trout in Pine Creek back when there were Beaver dams, and going through a private ranch and going down I think it was Horse Creek Cyn trail and catching nice rainbows and maybe Browns but that was a long time ago, been a few times on a couple of drainage off of Palomar Mt and catching native trout, nothing over 8-10" but it was fun and quite a walk in and out. When I used to hike Cuyamaca State park there were small trout 6-8" in the creek above the bridge at the turn out where they park the horse trailers. When I first got married in 1966 after work my wife and I would go to Greenvalley Falls campground and fish planted Rainbows they would migrate clear down into Descanso where you could pick up a few in the bigger holes in the creek. I do remember when trout were planted below Morena dam also. Around this time when the F&G planted trout in Santa Ysabel creek above the dam about 1/2 mile above the road. That dam doesn't hold water any more.
     
  8. BruceSmith

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    The stories of a resident population of browns and rainbows was why I started forays into Hauser canyon and the base of Morena dam. In the early 90's the lake was still high enough to substantiate flow at the base for the dam. Once they drew it down to 13% and below it pretty much was stagnate water after that or at least all I could find. I never did catch a trout down there, it is so overgrown that fishing with a rod and reel was near impossible. I tried to access the stream further down in the canyon but was stopped due to gates and private property.
     
  9. Jim Brown

    Jim Brown City Lakes Program Manager 1974-2003 (retired)
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    Bruce, may years ago Hauser Canyon was stocked with some regularity, but was devoid of trout when it received its last plant, which I handled. Larry got a load of DFG fingerlings which we split up with him going east and north (Kitchen, Pine, Boulder and Cedar as i recall) and I went south. I put a couple buckets in the creek from Green Head Duck Club that becomes Buckman before it merges with Kitchen/Cottonwood, one bucket immediately below the Morena Dam and the remainder in Hauser Canyon. The fish remained present in all waters for several years.
     
  10. kcnelle619

    kcnelle619 Member

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    @jimbrown Jim I'd love to check out a few of the streams that you believe still might be holding some trout...I fly fished Boulder creek, sweetwater river, and he san luis rey when i was younger but been out of SD for awhile now working as a guide in the San Bernadino mountains for the past 6 years...Back in SD now and would love to walk a stream and see some fish dancing!!!
     
  11. Jim Brown

    Jim Brown City Lakes Program Manager 1974-2003 (retired)
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    Several years ago I was approached by a young man who told me he wanted to do some investigation and monitoring of local streams that held trout. After a lengthy discussion over the fact that these streams and their fisheries were so sensitive that they could not withstand fishing pressure, particularly in the low water and summer months when those fish are barely surviving I agreed to share the information with him, even giving him my maps.

    Sadly, it was only a few months later that I saw he was distributing brochures for his guide service to fish local streams for wild trout. I've never felt so foolish for trying to help someone or felt more betrayed in terms of trust.

    I feel it is likely those fish not lost to low, warm water in the ensuing years were bumped off by him, but I'll make you a deal - check out the streams you mentioned and PM me with regard to water conditions and I will give you a couple suggestions, but know this - DFW law has been changed to protect some waters in the county.

    Since you are a San Berdoo guide - what is the status of Deep Creek and Holcomb or the kokanee that once existed below Arrowhead?
     
  12. kcnelle619

    kcnelle619 Member

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    Hi Jim,

    Below Arrowhead, roughly from splinters cabin to devils hole, has been good lately from what ive heard...it was very good last fall...unfortunately from devils hole and down towards the desert there is a lot of traffic now, especially off roaders looking to have a good time...as far as the kakonee, i have never seen them, i think that was well before my time...holcomb creek has been dry the past couple years, so unfortunately i fear those trout are gone...other than that, the santa ana and deep creek are healthy and the trout are doing well...i saw a post on here about deep creek saying there were no more fash in the stream, far from it...early and heavy runoff had an impact, but the fish are there, and they are healthy...prince nymphs below, royal humpy above the surface...thank you for replying!

    sincerely

    k.c.
     
  13. Larry M

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    For Jim Brown :
    North of Idyllwild and farther up pass Pine Cove there are streams running down to the road. I was told that German Brown trout were there quite a ways up stream offspring from those planted decades ago. I tried to hike there once, to much growth and drop offs for me.
    Was just wondering if this is true. Thanks.
     
  14. Jim Brown

    Jim Brown City Lakes Program Manager 1974-2003 (retired)
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    Brown trout and other trout species besides rainbows were planted in many southern California streams at one time and continue to exist in a few streams. Very rarely in the last 30 years there is a legitimate and confirmed report of one being caught in Pauma Creek. The most recent plants of browns in San Diego County were made into Boulder and Pine Valley Creek and to the best of my knowledge none are left although I know of no one who has had access to fish the Punch Bowls.

    As for the waters you mention to the north of us KC could give you a more current assessment, but Deep Creek and some forks of the Santa Ana River have long had populations of browns. The browns I caught below Lake Hemet were fairly plentiful with most in the 8 to 10 inch class while the Deep Creek browns were fewer but much larger with the largest I can confirm being a 24 incher that was landed after it swallowed an eight or nine inch rainbow that had just been hooked.

    The fact that our waters sometimes reveal a few mysteries is a real treasure for us who love fish, fishing and their history.
     
  15. kcnelle619

    kcnelle619 Member

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    Hi Larry,

    Though I have not fished the area around Idywilld extensively, I have been on Strawberry Creek numerous times...its a beautiful little stream and it does STILL hold small brownies...what Jim said above is true, the Santa Ana and Deep Creek both hold brownies as well...Perhaps the strongest Souther Californian Brown trout population is in Bear Creek though, before the confluence with the Santa Ana below the damn...Its tough fishing, and very hard to get to, but the reward is well worth it...
     
  16. huntingtheriverking

    huntingtheriverking New Member

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    Jim, thanks for sharing this information. Very helpful.

    Just my two cents:

    South Fork below Lake Hemet appears to have completely dried up during the recent drought. It's running at this time, but I'm not hopeful that the fish survived.

    There are still a couple of other creeks holding browns in the San Gabriels and San Bernardino Mountains. Almost all require considerable hiking to and from the locations, which is a good thing as it protects these fisheries.

    Most of the local creeks took a severe hammering from the drought. One that I used to catch 20 + fish on in an afternoon is nearly devoid of fish now. A few have had increased numbers of fish pushed down from unreachable pools into the lower, fishable reaches by the heavy storms we thankfully received hthis winter.

    OVerall, it's a tough time to find fish but much better than it was in the last couple of years.
     
  17. Jim Brown

    Jim Brown City Lakes Program Manager 1974-2003 (retired)
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    Thanks for the update aside from the not so good news which does not come as a surprise.
     
  18. calreef18

    calreef18 Well-Known Member

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    If anybody wants to start a PM chain with some local data to exchange, im in. Hiked a few spots in SD and LA the past few weekends and can do a little mini summary if anybody wants to share some spots or the general health/condition of the areas visited. C+R guy here just looking to keep our local waters safe for future generations to enjoy.
     
  19. Larry M

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    Don't know how I missed these post, probably wasn't paying attention.
    We use to live in Pine Cove on Mountain View Road the stream that I was talking about was north of us. I knew someone who was into hiking and would hike to the fishing spot. I was in my early 30s and tried to hike it but too much overgrowth and steep drop offs, never made it. Lake Hemet was my go to spot.
    I use to get a wood permit from the forest service. One day while cutting trees along the fire road a truck came along and dumped a load of rainbows into the stream.
     
    #19 Larry M, May 30, 2017
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  20. Steve Adrignola

    Steve Adrignola Well-Known Member

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    Larry
    Was that a young "Whipper Snapper" named Ansel Adams taking pictures on that trail?
    Wondering, you say the 1930's
     
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