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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Echo Park Lake exposed

Photos by Darrell Kunitomi

A coyote was not the only visitor roaming around Echo Park Lake on Sunday. After a van apparently knocked down a portion of the fence circling the park,  Darrell Kunitomi of Echo Park took a walk inside to get close up photos of the now nearly empty lake, which has been drained as part of a nearly two-year-long construction project. What did Kunitomi, who has visited and fished at the lake since he was a boy, see  in the now exposed muck at the bottom of the lake ?  Guns?  Bodies? A coyote? Sorry, none of the above. Here’s what he saw:

Lots of bottles, various items including nets, skateboard, pipes and tree trunks. One Christmas tree. 50 gallon drums scattered around the lake appeared to be items placed for fish structure/habitat after lake refurbishment in ’84. Holes were punched in to sink them. Was also interested to see where piles of brick and other rock were placed, also for fish structure.

Was fascinated to see exactly what the bottom of the old lake looks like. Know the entire lake well from fishing it as a boy. To see exactly what lay in front of me w/o water on top, simply amazing.

The Echo park resident said the smell was strong at times but it didn’t bother him. “It is maximum organic.”  Click on the link below for more photos and observations from an Echo Park Lake visitor.

We called the south end of the lake the deep end. It was shady, fenced-off and seemed to be the place where big fish would be. Now dry, interesting to see tree limbs and barrel. May appear gunky to the non-fisher, but this is indeed where fish would hang. Also shows the rock and concrete placed around lake’s bank to create shelf to help anyone who fell in.

Lotus bed dam view. Interesting to see how large this structure actually is. I assume it was placed to keep the lotus bed from encroaching on the lake general. As we all know, no need for that for past few years. Am very glad the lotus bed will be restored.

General northern view.

Trees are apparently all numbered. Those that didn’t make the cut got cut down.

This is what remains of what I assume was an old pepper tree, western bank.

/The Lady of the Lake (I hope) is removed and in storage. Her pedestal base is not only gone but excavated. She should return to northern penninsula when all’s said and done

Walkway at boathouse is gone, torn out. Entire walkway around the lake is apparently history and will be replaced. Boathouse itself is undergoing a makeover long overdue.

Bottom view, at boathouse. Expected trash and bottles there.

Skateboard, south end.



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  1. Hey, did you see a red and yellow Frisbee in there?! My ex-roommate (who I wont mention throws like a girl) lost it in the lake awhile back.

  2. Thanks for sharing these photos!

  3. Good work! Sorry I missed my chance to take advantage of the breach and get a close-up look.

  4. Does anyone know how I can get my skateboard back…

  5. i want that skateboard!

  6. Ask Willy E. Coyote to get the skateboard for you, when hes done with his hipster lunch. Great photos! Probably taken by **. I would say, but he probably would get busted for trespassing. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I’m very disappointed no bodies were recovered. There goes my office pool.

  8. Late 80s era skate deck

  9. Nice photos! I am very happy to see that someone is documenting the cleanup/excavations!

  10. what exactly is a “hipster lunch”? are you tired of that word yet? i am.

  11. That would be the white goose in the other photo, that got tore up by the coyote. I will never get tired of calling people hipster. Its not a bad word. Sorry that your tired of that word, but the word will be used repeatedly on this blog.

  12. bummer. guess i gotta embrace the hate… om.

  13. What fish were left in the lake after it was drained?

  14. I grew up at that lake.I’m glad that it’s being documented as well.As a kid I got my picture on the local paper a couple of times trying to cool down by the inlet.I really miss those boat rides.

  15. I wonder if anyone will be going through the sediment,you would be amazed at what memories one would find.

  16. I imagine Blue Gills, Large Mouth Bass or Catfish where left there. I use to fish them back in the day, cook them up, and eat them.

  17. Re bods — corpses fill with gases and float. Even if sunk only bones would remain, crawdads would do their function. Some muck is feet deep in there, there could be bones. Doubt it.

    Rog, sorry the fish you remember – bluegills and others — were wiped out by introduction of Florida bass, horrible things even for this angler. They ate everything. The lake in recent years had nothing for kids to catch. It hosted only the Floridas and carp. Fish we knew from our youth long-gone.

    And I can’t believe you ate them.

  18. Darrell, thanks so much for sharing these pics. I can see the lake from my bedroom window but this gives a much better idea of what things are like down there.
    Since you seem to be a fan of the lake I was wondering if you have ever checked out the USC digital library? If you are into historic pictures you will find tons of photos of happy kids fishing the lake in the 50s if you search “Fishing at Echo Park”. They even make a non-fisher imagine the fun to go fishing as a kid. Here are some:
    http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/search/controller/view/examiner-m712.html?x=1317513334285

  19. Trespassing or not, these are great!

  20. So no more lotus festival? As kids, we actually encountered a monster siZe soft shell turtle taking a tour along the little island across the little bridge of echo park. Some years in the late 80s the lake was dried and lotus roots were dug up and became delicacy to some cultural meals! Yum!

  21. That may have been the huge soft-shelled turtle I saw as a boy. He was pretty famous to us who fished there, prob over 20″ wide, long nose. He popped up here and there, and was visible when he hauled out to dry on the floats where he sat among the ducks and other fowl.

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