With steelhead still returning and a derelict dam preventing their migration, a community stands at the crossroads. Tales of vintage chrome runs, fishing fools Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable, a million-and-a-half cubic yards of sediment that needs to go to the sea, and a few lonely steelies — desperately seeking.

Words: Ben Marcus

“Like all small towns, Malibu, CA, is home to a lot of storytellers. Some have no visible means of support, so they hang around the coffee shops and talk and talk and talk and never seem to run out of BS.

Others have won Oscars.

Around town you hear stories that Malibu Creek was once home to a thriving steelhead run. Hang out in the bar at Beau Rivage eating tapas and French onion soup, and you’ll hear a guy talk about how he won a fishing derby in the 1970s pulling an eight-pound steelhead out of the ocean from the Malibu Pier: “I won a year of free fishing on the charter boats,” said the fishing fool.”

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