Originally published July 25, 2015 at The Los Angeles Beat
Tucked away in Agoura, on mountainous Kanan Road, between the 101 freeway and the Pacific Coast Highway, lies an unusual and peaceful sanctuary that has been a destination for pond fishing since the 1930s. Two man-made ponds, surrounded by shady trees and rustic benches, form the enclave of Troutdale, a place where time stands still. Built in 1938, Troutdale is a family owned business, currently on its 3rd owner. The two ponds are 12-feet deep and stocked with about 800-900 trout each. Although this is essentially a disneyland version of fishing, it is relaxing and fun. It is particularly good for children or adults who have never fished before.
Entrance to Troutdale is a flat $7 fee, and with that you are given an old-school bamboo pole and canned corn kernels as bait. For an additional small amount you can rent a professional rod & reel and buy “power bait”, a salmon roe concoction that the fish apparently love. Even with this, patience is a virtue. The fish do not always bite. It’s a good idea to bring a picnic and make a day of this adventure. The first time I visited Troutdale a four-year old girl with a small children’s rod caught a fish before anyone in my group. We learned that the ponds are restocked every week or two on Thursdays. Weekends will find the ponds at their fullest and busiest.
Troutdale is open year round and is equipped with grills for frying your haul. It is not about catch & release here. The deal is that once you catch a fish, you put it in a plastic bucket filled with water and you pay for each at the end of your adventure. Fish are measured in length and the bigger the fish, the more it costs. This can turn into an expensive adventure if someone is a particularly good fisherman. I was the only one in my group of four who caught anything, and while using the bamboo pole as well. Afterward I chose to pay a little extra to have my fish cleaned. It was packed for me in ice and I took it home to pan-fry in a little olive oil and garlic. Since this was the first fish I ever caught, eating it was kind of monumental as well.
Troutdale: 2468 Troutdale Rd. (at Kanan), Agoura, CA 91301; (818) 889- 9993.