LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Summer is officially a little less than a month away, but this weekend’s beautiful weather came just in time for the reopening of the L.A. River’s recreational areas.

Starting Monday, the urban waterway will be open along parts of the Elysian Valley to those who want to explore the often mocked treasure of the L.A. via kayak. It kicks off the four months folks can cruise down the river, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“We’re away from our media, we’re in the middle of the city, but we’re in the middle of nature,” Steve Appleton, owner LA River Kayak Safari, told CBS2 News Sunday.

Despite what some people may think about our concrete river, it is teeming with vegetation and wildlife, including fish.

“We caught some catfish, we also caught some carp,” said Maura Palacios who was out on the causeway Sunday.

The most visible river residents are the variety of birds seen eating and sunning.

“I’m one of those bird nerds, so I come here bird-watching all the time,” said Rachel Meyer. “My friends fish here. I had no idea there’s so many people that actually eat the fish from here, which is kind of crazy.”

Those concerned about bacteria in the water can rest assured.

Appleton said bacteria are only a concern for days following a rainstorm. He added kayaking down the river is a great way to connect with family and see the natural wonders L.A. has to offer.

“You can be surprised by just the change of environment, and then you are gonna see wildlife, almost certainly,” said Appleton. “Depends on the time of day, but sometimes it’s just remarkable how many things we see, how many different kinds of birds and fish.”

The Los Angeles Dept. of Sanitation rated the river’s quality yellow for “caution” on May 24 for the Elysian Valley Recreation Zone, which urges users to “exercise increased caution.”