Volunteers from the Pasadena Casting Club have taken the golden stonefly nymph under their wings, so to speak. Ten members of the conservation-minded group spent a Saturday stirring up the streambed in Bear Creek, a tributary to the West Fork of the San Gabriel River, and using homemade sieves of window screen to capture about 100 of the vital aquatic insects, which provide food for wild trout in the streams.
The golden stones, as they are called, were placed in coolers and packed about five miles upstream in the West Fork, where they were reintroduced. Insects were dispersed from the West Fork in April, 1981, when more than 200,000 cubic yards of silt was inadvertently washed down the stream by the Department of Public Works during repairs on a broken valve at Cogswell Dam.
Conservationists say that the golden stone, an environmentally sensitive insect used as an indicator species in testing the quality of habitats, is vital to the preservation of trout, which have been endangered since the 1981 washout.
The Pasadena Casting Club is one of 23 angling and conservation groups that have been working to restore the wild trout habitat in the West Fork. If the transplanted golden stones are found to have survived when club members return to the area later this month, more may be moved in a yearly transplant program, club leader Jim Edmondson said.