If you could go back in time to the 1940’s and 1950’s, you would find a very different looking Los Angeles River than you see today.
Back then, the river was free-flowing and hosted a robust run of steelhead. Hard to believe these days since the poor dilapidated river has been reduced to a graffiti covered concrete drainage ditch in the heart of massive urban sprawl. Now, broken bottles and diapers are the norm…not chrome ocean-run rainbows.
But there are parts of the stream…upstream of downtown LA…that still kinda resemble an actual river. I spent some time exploring one such reach on Friday. It was exciting to see that there is still a bit of river left.
And it was thriving with waterfowl, plus many fish eating birds like cormorants, herons and egrets. In the slow pools, there were clouds of minnows and some slightly larger fish as well. In fact some folks were even fishing. I wanted to believe that the fish were schools of steelhead fry but I of course knew better.
As cool as it was to see so much wildlife mere feet from a e-waste recycling center and roaring I-5, it was also so damned depressing to see how destroyed this once amazing waterway is. So, it was with mixed emotions that explored this area. Here’s a photo essay of my trek…