For fly fishermen at inaugural L.A. River derby, it's carpe diem


September 6, 2014 - The sport of fly fishing conjures up images of wild mountain streams, iridescent trout and lush valleys in the shadows of jagged peaks. But on Saturday, the way-out-in-the-metropolis setting of North Atwater Park played host to experienced and beginner anglers in the first annual Friends of the Los Angeles River “Off tha’ Hook” fishing derby.

Major landmarks included the 5 Freeway, sky-high electrical power-line towers and concrete slopes on both sides of the 70-foot wide-river of treated urban runoff. Best bets: carp, largemouth bass in the 4-inch range and nonnative Amazon sailfin catfish.

As ducks lounged in the murky ripples, Michael Schweit, president of the nonprofit Federation of Fly Fishers, breathed reverently and said, “You’ve got to love it – sport fishing along a Los Angeles freeway.”