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1999 Trips

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March 13, 1999

San Juan

 

I can't believe it is already March. Well, my grandson James and I left about 6:00 a.m. for the San Juan. The night before we got a pretty good snow and the road was icy to San Ysidro and clear until we got to Cuba. Cuba was Iced over. We made it through town and the road was clear all the way to the San Juan...It didn't even snow there!

 

We met a friend of ours, Ian Newton and some friends he brought with him from Colorado. Greg, Micah and Micah's dad, Jim. We all started fishing above Texas hole, in the upper flats. The fishing was fairly uneventful, my first fish was at about 11:00 a.m.. I got a 24" rainbow on a small yellow egg sac with a red dot. Ian caught some fish a miracle nymph, annelid and a gray emerger. I caught some more fish in the afternoon, one on a (Mike Mora) realistic worm and some on a Gray Bunny Leech. We had a very slow day, but the weather was perfect. We quit fishing about 6:30 and went to get something to eat. After supper we went to get some and to get ready for an early start on Sunday.

 

March 14, 1999

San Juan

 

James and I got up early and went the the lower flats where we met Ian and his friends for another rendezvous with the mighty San Juan. Fishing was even slower on Sunday. We caught a few fish, some nice ones, on a Gray Bunny Leech and a red annelid. But, the fish were few and far between. The fishing was slow on both days and it was all of us. There were few fish caught by anybody.

 

James and I left for home about 2:30 p.m. The fishing, or should I say, the catching was tough but, what another great trip with my grandson James and our friend Ian. James, Ian and I are looking forward to fishing the stonefly hatches this spring/summer if we are able to time them right. That's what it's all about being together with family and friends with a stream running at our feet. .......and an occasional goose or something in the air.........Tight lines----Phil

 

March 20, 1999

Jemez

 

My wife Ella and I got up early and started for the Jemez. The Jemez River was like chocolate, due to the recent snow and warm weather. The east fork was the only stream that we found that had any clarity. We fished for a couple of hours and had lunch. The fishing was very slow, the river was up and a little murky, but it was alot of fun just to get out. The weather was great and a prince nymph was the fly.

 

After lunch we went to the Guadalupe to see how the water was. We got there about 12:30 p.m. The water is low and clear. There is not much snow pack right now so the run-off looks like it will be low and fairly quick. The ingredients for a very dry summer. The stonefly hatch in April/May should be great. Tight lines----Phil

 

April 17, 1999

Rio Grande (above Pilar)

 

My friend and client Mike Heitman and I decided, on Thursday, to go fishing. We originally were going to go the the Guadalupe but it was like chocolate. So, we chose to go to the Rio Grande because we heard about a large caddis hatch.

 

We arrived at the confluence of the Rio Grande and the Rio Pueblo de Taos and parked at the end of the road adjacent to the Rio Pueblo de Taos. It was about 7:45 a.m. and the first thing I did was cook us a big breakfast.....eggs, sausage and potatoes (sounds tasty, huh?). After we ate breakfast we started fishing upstream on the Rio Pueblo. The water temperature was only 40 degrees and the fish were a little sluggish so, after about 45 minutes we decided to go down to the Rio Grande.

 

The water temperature on the Rio Grande was 48 degrees and the fish were a little more active. Mike got the first couple of fish on a prince nymph, just be low the confluence. We fished there until about 11:30 a.m. and started fishing downstream. Catching fish slowed down for a while and by 2:00 p.m. we ended up in a small stretch about 1.5 miles below the confluence. We crossed the Rio Grande at this point (yes, I said we waded across......pretty low for this time of year) to fish the inside of some riffles. It worked, I caught a couple of real nice rainbows on a prince nymph, in the slower water. It turned out to be the fly that caught the fish.

 

A huge caddis hatch occurred about 12:00 noon so thick that you had to breath through you ears, the sky and water were thick with them. We fished with various nymphs all day until about 5:00 p.m. when the fish started feeding sporadically on the top. The caddis patterns that we had were the right color but, were just to big. We got several slurps! but didn't land any. The caddis' were dark olive with a gray wing, size #16 and our patterns were #14 or #12. During one of these hatches, I would recommend an olive body tent wing pattern or an olive body elk hair caddis pattern with gray deer hair for the wing instead of elk hair, both patterns with brown hackle, in Sizes #16 and #18.

 

We headed for home about 7:30 p.m. and while driving along the river we observed, in the wide flat areas, the water just boiling with fish feeding on the top. Well, another wonderful trip. As much as I enjoy solitude it sure is nice to have an old friend, a new friend or a family member to fish and trade lies with. See ya soon! Tight lines----Phil

 

April 24, 1999

Rio Grande (above Pilar)

 

In the midst of bad weather reports for the Taos and Santa Fe - Espanola area I decided to go fishing anyway. Well, it was a wise decision because the weather was great, there weren't many fisherman and I had a lot of water to fish by myself. The water conditions were excellent and the water level was perfect. I got there about 7:30 a.m. and started fishing about 8:00 a.m. (I think I'm going to start putting on my waders and all of the other components of my fishing uniform at home so when I get there I can fish right away!)

 

There was no caddis hatch but there was a mayfly hatch (Blue Dun #16's - #18's) in the morning but, the birds were feeding more on the insects than the fish were. The fish would take an occasional slurp but, for the most part, were not feeding off the top of the water. There is still a lot of dark green caddis larva in the water and they are breaking loose of the shucks. I suppose there will be another sizable hatch soon. I first fished with a #14 dark green caddis larvae pattern and as soon as it started to drift down stream, in the run that I was fishing, a real nice 14" Rainbow hit it like a freight train and jumped in the air several time before I was able to release him. Whoa! What a thrill! I fished that pattern for a while landing several more fish.

 

The feeding slowed down about 12:00 noon so I moved downstream about a mile and a half from the confluence of the Rio Pueblo de Taos and started fishing again. I tied on a #14 Prince Nymph (no bead head). I waded to near the slow water edge of long run and fished deep into the run and while casting upstream, I let the fly drift into the slower water at the edge of the run. Right away I set the hook on a 16" fat Rainbow and retrieved it quickly before I released it. The Prince Nymph was the fly that I used for the remainder of the day. I continued to catch several Rainbows throughout the afternoon in the same run.

 

Late in the afternoon, the wind came up, it started to sprinkle and there wasn't much action on top or bottom of the water so I decided to go home. Another great fishing trip. Tight lines----Phil

 

May 14, 1999

Rio Las Vacas

 

My friends/co-workers headed for the Rio Las Vacas about 12:30 noon. My friend Tony C De Baca and myself arrived at my friend Emilio Tapia's cabin site about 2:00 p.m. and at the same our other fishing buddies Bob Smith and Lawrence Lopez arrived. We spent some time to setup our tents and get ready to go fishing.

 

We started fishing about 3:45 p.m. with Tony heading downstream into the forest service boundary and the rest of us heading upstream. The first 15 or 20 minutes were spent giving some knot tying and casting lessons for Emilio, Lawrence and Bob. Then we started to spread out and claim our little piece of the stream.

 

The water temperature was about 44 degrees, the water was high and murky. The wind was blowing pretty hard so we all got some lessons on casting in the wind. We fished almost until dark with no one even getting a nibble. We fished nymphs.....Prince, caddis larva, small stone flies, etc. Finally, on the way back to the cabin Emilio got a heart throbbing hit in one of the undercuts along the bank and continued to get a couple more hits but, no fishy....

We headed back to camp and I fixed us dinner some caldito and peanut butter sandwiches. The caldito was courtesy of  Tony's wife Melody. We sat up for a while talking about Emilio's cabin and other war and fish stories. We decided to go to bed about 9:15 p.m.

 

May 15, 1999

Rio Las Vacas

 

We all got up early had a great breakfast and headed downstream near the Girl Scout Camp and started fishing. This day was a completely different story. First of all no wind. Everybody caught fish, even Lawrence (the beginner). He has to work on his "reeling the fish in" technique but, he did well. The flies that were successful were Prince Nymph, Large Brown Stonefly, white Zonker pattern and other nymphs. We stopped to eat lunch about 12:00. After lunch we continued to catch fish until about 3:00 p.m. when we decided to leave.

 

I usually prefer my solitude but, I have to tell you that I really enjoyed this trip. Especially, giving Bob and the other guys a couple of tips on there casting techniques and that in less than an hour watching them cast some excellent loops with no wind knots. I would like to thank Emilio Tapia for allowing us to invade his property and share some time together. Tight lines----Phil

 

May 22, 1999

Rio Las Vacas

 

My wife decided that I shouldn't be the only one having fun fishing so she convinced me that I should take her fishing. So, being the wise man that I am we headed up for the Rio Las Vacas early in the morning. We started fishing just above the canyon adjacent to the Girl Scout Camp. The water was still high and murky but clearing a little. The water temperature at 8:00 a.m. was 48 degrees so the hatches are just around the corner. The Caddis Larva in the rocks are very thick and should be good this spring and summer. The stoneflies are plentiful also.

 

We ended up fishing most of the good stretches all the way up to the bridge at NM state road 20. My wife fishes with salmon eggs but, don't let that fool you because she always makes me look like a beginner. We caught fish all day and headed home before dark. The flies that worked were the Prince Nymph, Brown Wooly Bugger and Caddis Larva. My wife Ella caught the biggest and the most, of course. That's why it's always nice to have her along. Well another great fishing trip (yeah, like a fishing trip is possible to be otherwise). My good friend Mike Mora and I are going to attempt to fish the Guadalupe Box next week, unless there is a tornado or something. Tight lines----Phil

 

September 18, 1999

Rio Cebolla

 

Well, believe it or not I actually got to go fishing. Being busy at work and trying to buy a house all summer I got behind with my fishing. Well, we purchased and moved into a beautiful new home. Now, on with the important stuff.

 

My best friend Richard and I went to fish the upper Rio Cebolla for some cutthroats. We left my house about 6:15 a.m. and got to the fishing spot about 7:15 a.m. But, first I cooked us a great breakfast. When we finished breakfast we hiked up for about 35 minutes and stated fishing. My friend Richard does not fish but enjoys the outdoors. So, he had the pleasure of carrying the day-pack with our lunch and stuff.

 

All I can say it was a great for fishing. The water was crystal clear and running moderately for this time of year. There seemed to be a fish in every bend of the river just waiting for us to fool them with something to attack. Even though the fishing was good I noticed that when we would got near a larger fish, he would just nudge the fly with the top of his nose. So, thinking I'm smarter that the fish I started crawling on the ground near the larger holes and the fish still just nudged the flies with their nose. So much for human intelligence. But, the fishing was really good with a fish in just about every run of pocket. The flies that were successful were the reliable Elk Hair Caddis and a yellow Royal Humpy.

 

All-in-all it was a good day for fishing and I very was fortunate to spend it with my best friend Richard, especially since he doesn't even fish. I enjoyed explaining about presentation and how to read the water, etc. Richard enjoys eating fish and I just came short of promising him a couple for dinner but, wisely didn't.

 

I hope to fish Red River in a couple weeks. Tight lines----Phil

 

October 2, 1999

Red River (Lower)

 

I got to Red River, below the hatchery about 4:45 p.m. and started fishing right away and caught a couple of stocker Rainbows and a real nice Brown. I quit fishing about 6:30 hiked back to the truck went to set up camp for the night. I fixed my self a hot cup of coffee and sat in the dark for awhile gazing at the stars. I went to bed for a long night's sleep and it was a long cold night.

 

October 3, 1999

Red River (Lower)

 

I got up about 6:45 a.m. and cooked some breakfast. While I was eating Derrell Nantze, a friend of mine from Texarkana, Texas showed-up. I finished eating and we headed down to the river.

 

We started hiking downstream about 7:30 a.m. and we hiked for about 30 minutes until we just couldn't resist a good fishing spot. I put on a Prince Nymph and Derrell put on a Poundmeister and on my first cast I landed a real nice Brown. About the third cast I landed a nice Rainbow that literally tried to fly out of the water and assumed we were probably going to have a good day of fishing.

 

Derrell wasn't having much luck with his fly so tied on a Prince Nymph and started catching fish. I headed down stream and until about 12:30 caught several fish, mostly rainbows with an occasional nice brown. I used the Prince Nymph all the while. I stopped at the shelters at the bottom of the El Aguaje trail and sat down for lunch. After lunch I continued downstream for about another half mile and the fishing was slowing down. I hadn't seen Derrell for awhile so I started back upstream fishing all of the holes and pocket water on the way. Derrell fishes a spot with a great deal of persistence and I always fish every hole, run and pocket water that I can. Both methods are successful but, I end up putting a lot more miles under my feet.

 

I put on an Arizona Peacock Lady about  3:30 and tossed it upstream of a large pocket of water and my rod tip hit the water as quickly as I casted the fly, but no fish. Must have been a big one Huh? I continued upstream until I met Derrell again. Well traded fish stories for a while then started fishing again. Derrell had a pretty good day of fishing using the Prince Nymph and the Peacock Lady. We fished upstream until about 5:00 p.m. and stopped to brake down our fly rods, put them in our day packs and proceeded to hike out to our vehicles. We got to our vehicles about 6:00 p.m. and called it a day. Derrell headed for Taos and I headed home.

 

Derrell is a customer of mine who has been buying flies from me for some time and it was nice to be able to fish with him. Derrell is a very nice guy and it was a pleasure to spend the day with him and I hope the next time comes soon. Tight lines----Phil

 

October 9, 1999

Rio Grande (below Taos Junction bridge)

 

Here it is another day of fishing. I must be on a roll. When I left my house at 5:45 a.m. I had to use the heater in my truck for awhile and on the way back I used the A/C. What a great day for weather; no clouds and not even a breeze. I started fishing about 7:30 a.m. and the water was a little murky at 44 degrees but, easily fishable. I tied on a #14 bead-head Prince Nymph and got a hit on the first cast. It was a small Rainbow but he hit the fly hard. I fished that pattern for about an hour, catching a few Rainbows and then I tied on a #8 Peacock Lady. I caught a few fish on the Peacock Lady until about 11:30 a.m. and I stopped to have some lunch.

 

After lunch I moved downstream to about a mile and a half below Taos Junction Bridge and started fishing again. I tied on the old reliable Peacock Nymph and it was a good thing that I did because it was very productive, catching several medium and large sized Browns. This fly, in my opinion this is the best pattern for this entire region. One thing I had to do all day was fish these flies all the way on the bottom in slower water just at the edge of the riffles where the river forms bends. That's where the fish were.

 

I fished until about 3:30 as the fishing was starting to drop off. But, the day was another great day of fishing. It's just so hard to have a bad day of fishing. My brother and I are going to fish the upper portion of the Red River next weekend to fish for Brook Trout and Rio Grande Cuts, I'll publish a report. I'm really looking forward to fishing with my brother, we haven't fished together for a year. Tight lines----Phil

 

October 15, 1999

Red River (below Wheeler Peak)

 

My brother Craig and I finally got together to go fishing. It's been a year. Terrible isn't it? Since we don't get together often enough we decided to go "in style". We got to the town of Red River about 8:00 p.m. on Friday and checked-in to the Ponderosa Lodge, which is a very nice place with clean rooms, reasonable rates and very nice people to greet you.

 

After we checked-in we went over to Texas Red's Restaurant to have a nice meal. Craig had prime rib and I had a rib eye steak. The food was excellent with fresh bread and bottomless glasses of root beer. The service was excellent. Craig had some chocolate stuff and I had peach cobbler for desert. With full stomachs we went back to our room. I was going to tie some flies but, opted to watch a little TV. Sleep captured us soon and before we new it, it was 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Well back to the real world...

 

We were at the Wheeler Peak Wilderness trailhead at about 9:00 a.m. to fish the east fork. It was cold...about 35 degrees...and the water temperature was 40 degrees. It was a typical beautiful clear New Mexico day with a light breeze. I headed upstream towards Sawmill Creek and Craig headed downstream to fish. I started fishing with a #16 bead-head Hare's Ear Nymph with little luck. I saw fish but they appeared to be lethargic due to the water temperature. I tied on a #18 Royal Wulff. The water was crystal clear insisting that I do some crawling and sling-shot casts.  That worked because after my third cast with the new fly a very nice Brookie, in spawning plumage slowly rose to "lip" the fly. I set the hook and reeled in a very nice fish. I removed the hook and the fish slowly swam away. I fished the same fly as I fished upstream to the confluence of Saw Mill creek catching a couple of Rainbows along the way.

 

Fishing was a little slow but very enjoyable. Craig and I met at the truck about noon to swap tales. He caught some Brookies and a couple of Rainbows with an #16 Elk Hair Caddis. The sky began to stir the soup for a storm that had been predicted and it became pretty cloudy by about 2:00 p.m. We headed down to Red River below the confluence of the east and west forks about two and one half miles east of town in the Special Regulations waters. We fished up and down stream with little luck. At 3:00 p.m. we decided we would head back for home and miss the coming storm which turned out to be a good choice. The storm hit later and dropped snow all over North-Central New Mexico.

 

It wasn't a long day of fishing but, a rewarding day, never-the-less. It is always a pleasant experience to fish with my brother. We always have fun and that's what it's all about. Hope you enjoyed this trip with us. Tight lines----Phil

 

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