Conditions at the East Fork of the San Gabriel River

by Linda Ainsworth

17 July 1999. Hiked on East Fork Trail for the 1st time this year. All the same. Hiked in 2 miles. River has definitely changed. Water somewhat low, but definitely still nice. You could see a lot of destruction from El Nino still. Did a lot of swimming in my favorite pools, and there was one extra bonus (it seems like almost every time I experience something), it being 6 Nelson Bighorn sheep no more than one mile in on the hillside and by the water at 3:00 in the afternoon!! The temperature has been quite warm (80-90), and I guess they need water real bad. They hung around for quite awhile. I had to leave before they did. I even got a few pictures of them. Wish I could download. Saw another doe on Shoemaker Canyon Rd. at around 6:00 pm.

The water has suddenly become quite warm also, so I don't think there are very many trout around. Still a lot of people parked at Heaton Flat parking area and can't really figure out where they are unless they have already hiked in early in the morning or backpacking overnight.

As far as bugs: It is the weirdest thing, but they are not around this year, except up on Glendora Ridge Road for some reason. I heard two reports of rattlesnakes on 7/17/99 (that area apparently was infested with them back in the early 1900's).

26 June 1999. Water level at West Fork San Gabriel River very low and mossy. Not very good for swimming, but trout was spotted here and there. Water level at East Fork pretty much normal and beautiful coke bottle green, as usual. After pool hopping several times, did not see any trout at East Fork. A lot of people at Heaton Flat looking for that gold stuff. Apparently, the year after El Nino provides some pretty good prospecting. The parking lot was full at 10:00 a.m. I've noticed the whole area being a lot more crowded than in past years. The weather was hot, probably in the low to mid 90's. No bugs by the water (amazing), but up on Glendora Ridge Road, the bugs are phenomenal (more heat I suppose). I saw a 5' rattlesnake at about 10:00 a.m. below Heaton Flat parking area. It was laying across the trail where I could not pass. So, I just waited a little while and it went on its way. I guess when they are cold, they cannot move.

No deer, bighorn sheep, or helicopters seen this week. I think the upper East Fork is being stocked with trout via helicopter. I will find out for sure this Saturday, July 3rd.

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Copyright © 1999 by Linda Ainsworth
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Last update: 28 July 1999.