Monday, June 14, 2010

Valles Caldera and Jemez Mountains

When my plane landed in Albuquerque on Friday it was 102 degrees. I made a quick stop at Petroglyph National Monument and saw some really cool carvings.
As I made my way up to the Jemez mountains I watched the temperature drop to 85. I set up camp in a National Forest campground and as the sun set, I fished for a couple of hours on the East Fork Jemez River. I spooked more fish than I caught, but manged to land a few small ones (10 inches). Where I fished it, the river was a series of plunge pools like the one shown below. On all sides of the river were steep rock walls and so to fish the river I needed to stay in the river and walk up. Which is why I spooked so many fish.

Pocket water on East Fork Jemez
A plunge pool on the East Fork Jemez

On Saturday, I made my way over to Valles Caldera Preserve, registered, and took my designated place on the water. The fishing was interesting. I actually think it was more like golf than fishing. The water was small and the wind was up, which made casting difficult. But if I could get my fly on the water, I'd catch a fish about 6 or 7 times out of 10. I used foam beetles and hoppers and never needed to put on a nymph or streamer. All the fish were small, less than 10 inches, but really fat for 8 and 10 inch fish. I doubt that anything larger lived in this water, but I could be mistaken. I rate my experience at Valles Caldera very high. I went there so I wouldn't have to put up with a lot of people and that paid off as I drove past fishing parking lots outside of the park that were jam-packed. I saw some elk which is a big deal for someone as interested in ungulates as I. I caught a ton of fish on dry flies, practiced my casting, and did it all in a beatifull environment.
A typical San Antonio Creek brown, 8 inches of chunky fish.
A brown with San Antonio Creek in the background. The stream is really narrow and difficult to place a fly. Challenging but very rewarding.
. Another section of San Antonio Creek, this one a bit wider and easier to fish.

1 comment:

  1. I drool looking at the plunge pool. Totally awesome.