Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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Like pros we fished the structure


Pretty soon our pretty Echo Park Lake will be drained -- ruination before revamp, not for the first time. It'll be re-lined, and the grounds redesigned, the fauna reconsidered. Black & Veatch won the fat contract to see the work done. Till now the most recent cleanup took place in 1984, well before I had ever heard of Echo Park Lake. Darrell Kunitomi, a friend and neighbor whom I met in 1995 when I first moved to Echo Park is well-familiar with the lake and its phases and stages. A serious trout fisher (troutist?), Darrell grew up fishing Echo Park Lake, and as an adult he has taught neighborhood children the sport. Darrell emailed me some of the things he remembered as a kid in the '60s: trying to lure bass out of EP Lake's submerged shopping carts and garbage cans. As an adult, he makes his own flies -- which are tiny works of art -- and keeps binders with photos of each catch, before its release.

Darrell, an actor who also has worked for the public affairs dept. of the L.A. Times as long as I have known him, wrote:

The lake seems generally cleaner [than it was in the past] because of the muck-out of 1984, and the installation of the fountains. I don't know if the bubbler lines still work, but they aerated and turned over the lake when they did. The loss of the classic urban lake fish, though, troubles me. The ravenous bluegill and sun fish seem almost extinct, (probably) due to the introduction of Florida-strain black bass. These brutes are famed (on) the bass tourney circuit, growing larger than (their)>normal cousins. They also eat lots. There were once schools of crappie to be caught [in Echo Park Lake], smaller bass I've never identified with electric blue lines on their gill plates who hugged structure on the bottom. We'd coax them from submerged palm fronds, shopping carts and from the dark recesses of sunken trash cans. Like pros we fished the structure. Sure, the lake is clean enough for the DF&G to stock trout in the cooler months, but every kid should have the opportunity to catch a mess of bluegills. They're really the classic kid's fish of them all.

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