Fishing Report for
South Fork of the San Gabriel at River Down Road


May 3, 2016 - Clint Barton

Tuesday May 3, I fished the South San Gabriel at the Rim Rock Dr/River Down Rd location. Right away I caught this 13" Guadalupe bass on a popper/dropper and wound up catching another small bass and a half dozen sunfish like this one. I saw several larger bass but they apparently saw me and developed “lock jaw”.

April 27, 2011 - Clint Barton

Fished the South San Gabriel at River Down Road Friday morning. It was cloudy and the wind was blowing some. I started out around 8:30 am and went up river. I was using my new Tenkara rod fishing the Tenkara method. I caught several small sunfish and one shiner using a floating beetle pattern. After a couple of hours I went down river from the starting point and found some larger fish. I caught double digit numbers of sunfish mostly on the beetle pattern. I started sight casting to a couple of bass and finally managed to catch them on a small white crystal bugger on the first cast. There was ample water and flow and most of the pools were knee deep with a couple not quite waste deep. If we can continue to get rain the fishery should recover nicely. Stopped fishing around 12:30 as the wind was continuing to increase.

June 24, 2011 - Tim Nickels

Begin and end times: 2pm to 5pm
Air Temperature, weather conditions: Hot, clear, sunny, probably 100, very windy
Water temperature, water condition: Water was extremely low, extremely hot, extremely clear
Flies that worked: Big leggy topwater bugs, Llano bugs, foam hoppers

En route to chase carp on the North San Gabe, I realized I hadn't seen the So. San Gabe for a while and decided to check out the stretch upstream of the River Down Road access. There has been a lot of development in this area, the walkdown has been rebuilt with extensive erosion control. There was land clearing going on for new housing development a bit upstream (still a good ways back from the water). The river was very low as expected, but the fish were plentiful and active. There were many dry stretches between pool, but the remaining pools were deep enough and shaded enough that they held good fish. Any big leggy topwater bug worked well, but especially the big foam hoppers like Chris had at his shop a few weeks back. Several nice guads and LMBs were caught, and a few 1lb fish were spotted. Lots of shorebirds were around eating fish trapped in pools. It was brutally hot out there, I jumped in the water twice in two of the deepest holes, both times the water was hot like bathwater. The fish are in surprisingly good shape for the river conditions. Caught dozens of feisty sunfish, half dozen fun bass, one beautiful big rio. I believe I saw some cruising carp but by this time I was too spent to exert the effort to try to catch them.

August 28, 2010 - Tim Nickels

Date: 8/28/10
Begin and end times: 9 - 2
Air Temperature, weather conditions: 70° in the morning, 90° by early afternoon, sunny, clear
Water temperature, water condition: Water is very clear, cool enough
Flies that worked: green/orange clousers, Llano bugs, white wooly bugger

Fished upstream from the River Down access, river is very low but still flowing. Some pools are isolated with no flow between them. FIsh are easy to locate in the deep pools, they are skittish but very aggressive. Long casts worked well with the clear water. Caught lots of guad bass, the river is full of them, lots in the 8-10" range. The river is also packed with bass fingerlings

November 8, 2009 - Clint Barton

I fished the South San Gabriel Sunday afternoon during the light rain showers. The water is great and the flow was just about perfect. I met two ladies from the Texas Women Fly Fishers who had caught a few small fish during the morning. I managed to catch 3 bass in the 10-12" range and a couple of hand sized sunfish. I didn't see an overabundance of fish but they are definitely on the way back!

October 18, 2009 - Tim Nickels

Begin and end times: 11:00-2:00
Air Temperature, weather conditions: 70's. clear, slight breeze
Water temperature, water condition: Comfortable for wet wading, gin clear water
Flies that worked: small Llano bugs, conehead black wooly bugger, small beadhead streamer in olve & white

Exquisite. Perfect weather. Previously I'd only caught small sunfish out of the S San Gabriel and suspected all the mature fish were lost in the drought. Today I came across a dozen or so 8-12" bass that were very healthy. They let me fish for them for about an hour, I brought a couple of 10" fish to hand and missed around 6 due to a variety of ineptness. The bottom of the river has been scoured clean, water is perfectly clear, great cover along the banks.

April 18, 2009 - Tim Nickels

Begin and end times: 2pm 6pm
Air Temperature, weather conditions: Clear, sunny, 80°
Water temperature, water condition:Water was comfortable wading temp. River was quite full after last 2 days of rain, slightly off color but had cleared a lot in the 4 hours I was there. Water level appeared to still be rising. Lots of bigger pools were un-wadable due depth/visibility.

This was my first visit to fish the South San Gabriel, I know it has been ridiculously low for a long time. The river was in great shape, lots of water and lots of flow. Small fish were plentiful, lots of small sunfish and bass. No bigger fish were caught or seen, in spite of the incredible fishiness of the bigger pools now. I hope that the extended drought conditions didnt impact the bigger fish too much.

The photos show the water color and flow in the area upstream from the River Down access point.

July 4, 2008 - Alex Argyros

DATE: July 4, 2008
FLIES THAT WORKED: Black popper, olive cat's whisker

Fished from River Downs downstream for about a mile. River is very low, but there are still some pools and runs that hold a decent amount of water. Caught two diminutive bass and countless panfish. Almost all of the panfish were caught on a motionless black popper.

On a slightly different note, I'm concerned about what appears to be a new subdivision going in at the River Down Access. Will access to the river be affected? And how will the river fare with a bunch of new houses on its banks?

September 3, 2007 - Bruce Wilks

Went fly fishing on South Fork of the San Gabriel at River Down Road last Monday 11:30am to 5:30pm with Chris Johnson, We Started wading about two miles upstream above the hospital, wading down to the hospital, waded to IH-35, then back upstream to where we started. Fished with my new ADG 5wt TF 905/6-4 and caught 5 small bass and 29 sunfish. Caught about 17 fish on #10 olive and black beadhead buggers and the rest on #10 green and white foam spiders. I am sure Chris caught at least 45 fish... This 5wt is very easy to cast with little effort. While wade fishing and casting for 6.5 hours, had little or no fatigue in my arm. With over cast conditions, very clear water with a hard bottom for easy wading and sight casting, along with lots of structure along the bank and sub surface, so accurate casting to visible fish was very important, which this rod allowed me to do. Lots of fun...!!!

August 13, 2007 - Don Johnson

I fished from about 7:00 AM till about 10:30 AM. The tempature rose from about 75° to about 90° while I was fishing. The water was very clear and the river was beautiful. I fished downstream far enough to see the Wolf Ranch shopping center at the top of the bluff on the north side of the river. I caught: a lot of small sunfish plus two in the 8 inch range, one small 8 inch bass, and one quite nice 17 inch bass (see photo - I only had him on the bank long enough for the photo, then released him, frisky and healthy). All the fish were caught on an olive woolybugger tied on a 1/64 ounce micro jig.

The river flow at the USGS gauge downstream at I-35 was 30cfs.