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2005 Trips

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April 22

San Juan


Finally, finally I went fishing after a long dry spell. The waters in all the Northern New Mexico streams are swollen beyond their banks and the San Juan is the only water fishable at the moment and that will change next week when they start increasing the flow. I left home at day-break and was casting my line in the water by 10:00 am. The water was murky and cold but the weather was perfect with virtually no wind.


I hiked to Lunker Alley where I rigged my line with on a size 22 Pheasant tail nymph and trailed it with a size 22 red annelid. The water flow is 550 cfs and I was able to get a little further out near the main channel. Using these patterns for a while to no avail I replaced my trailer fly with a brown emerger and then a Disco midge and then a tan San Juan worm and finally after about another 10 minute decision I tied on a size 20 larva pattern made of clear Liqua Lace woven body with a gray beaver fur head and after the next cast set the hook in an 18 inch rainbow. The next hour or so I landed 3 more fish about the same size. Things were looking up.


At 11:45 I found a comfortable set on the grass cover bank and pulled out an Oberto pepperoni stick, a Ritz crackers and cheese combo and a bag of cashews then proceeded to have my lunch. Between bites I was trying to figure out the best plan of action for the afternoon. By the time I finished eating I was so comfortable I took a short nap. I have been under tremendous pressure lately and I guess my body was just telling to take a break. I awoke and felt as if I had slept for days and as if God had been watching over me during my slumber. I haven't felt that way in a very long time.


By 1:00 I was casting the same patterns again and after catching a couple more fish my attention was distracted by a family of geese swimming near by; Mom and Dad and four fuzzy goslings nor more than a week old. I watched them for about a half hour as they gave me a pretty good show. It is nice to just sit back sometimes and enjoy some of God's creatures.


I fished until 4:30 and hiked back to my truck to call it a day. I experienced a good of day fishing, reflecting and just enjoying the solitude when I was alone. The day brought me eight fish, in the 18 to 22 inch size range, to hand, a successful day. Before I left the river I got a photo of a fisherman with his fingers in the lungs of a nice rainbow.


April 23

San Juan


I got up before first light, ate a couple of donuts, for energy of course, and went to Texas hole, not a soul around. I walked down below Texas hole to the bottom end of the main channel and started fishing the deep run.


I tied on a gray bunny leech pattern trailed with a black wooly bugger, thinking this might help with the murky water. My assessment was accurate. I was casting upstream and retrieving the line an inch at a time and after four casts I set the hook in a nice fat 15 inch San Juan football. I fished those patterns for an hour or so and changed back to the patterns from the day before. By 11:00 I had caught six nice rainbows in the 15 to 18 inch size range. By then, the entire area started to get as crowded as a J.C. Pennys 50% off sale so it was time to hit the road for Rio Rancho. I had a very good two days of fishing. I normally like to have someone along with me when I go fishing these days but this was really nice trip. I don not know when my next trip will be, depends on the duration of the unusual runoff we are having this year but as soon as I do you will hear from me.


...tight lines...Phil


June 16

Upper Pecos


Our son Gordon brought his family to visit from Nebraska. His older son Michael and I have been planning to go fishing after they arrived but I hadn?t decided where we would go. With the high runoff this year I was unsure of the best place to go. All things being equal we chose to go to the Upper Pecos near Tererro. And the next day the rest of the family would join us to fish in the Jemez at Battleship Rock.


We woke at 5:45 am and were on the road eating an egg McMuffin and a sausage McMuffin in no time. We arrived at Tererro about 7:30 am. We dressed up in our fishing costumes and headed upstream with our fishing tools.


Michael and I hiked upstream about a mile and started fishing. The water is slightly murky and running high but easily fishable. The fish were few and far between. We tried several patterns and then I noticed the stone fly hatch was coming of the dry rocks along the banks so we started slapping a yellow stimulator on the water. After several casts I got a strike, a light tap but a strike never-the-less. We fished for about and hour and a half and didn't bring any fish to hand.


We started hiking back downstream to the truck. We had some snacks and talked about how we were going to slay the fish downstream. We drove about 4 miles and a spot I used to take my Grandchildren, James and Valene was open and we parked, got our gear and started casting. The water was rushing into this very large pool as I remembered. On my first cast a fish straightened out my line and I was on my way to landing the first fish of the day.


By the end of the day Michael and I caught seven more real nice rainbows. By 3:30 pm we were on our way home and stopped at a Pecos restaurant for a great burger and talked about how great it was fishing together. I only get to see Michael once a year?by next year he will be ready for the San Juan.


June 17

Jemez East Fork


We all got up early and boarded the caravan for the Jemez Mountains. Me, my wife Ella, our son Gordon and his wife Lori and kids Michael, Nicholas and Sierra, our daughter Stephanie, her daughter Valene and kids Brandon and Kyra?whew! A day of fishing and picnicking was on the agenda. We arrived just before 8:00 am at Battleship Rock where the East Fork and the San Antonio converges, paid our day fee and proceeded to get dressed-up into our fishing costumes for a day of fishing. Another whew!


Grandma took off in her own direction to one of her favorite holes on the San Antonio. The kids took off with their dad while Brandon and I went over to where the convergence is and on his first cast he got a nice hit and brought a small brown to hand. After a few more casts and a few more strikes we moved on upstream on the San Antonio and fished for a while.


Shortly thereafter, Grandma shows up with the catch of the day?a nice brown big enough to keep. After a couple more hours of tangled lines, lost hooks and dirty and wet kids we decided to have our picnic. After everybody finally got their fill of some great food and while some of us stayed at our picnic spot while others went back to the water to fish. You probably think this is a little strange for me but, it was very rewarding sitting back and watching my kids and their kids carrying-on the tradition of this family. No more fish were caught but boy I sure enjoyed myself. By 4:00 pm all the kids were tuckered out so we packed up and all head for home. Of course, we couldn?t leave Jemez Springs until Grandpa got everyone an ice cream?


...tight lines...Phil


August 21

Jemez Mountains


My wife has been gnawing at me for a couple of weeks to take her fishing. Well today?s the day. We loaded our truck with our gear on Saturday night for a quick take-off in the morning.


I always enjoy fishing with Ella. She likes to bait fish and when I take her I usually bait fish too; it takes me back to my beginnings seining for minnows and crawdads and digging for worms. We arrived about 7:15 am at the Conchas Trailhead on the East Fork off NM route 4 to Los Alamos north of La Cueva. Ella likes this spot because there is a real nice big pool near the road and few people fish there. Ella started fishing right away.


I caught the first fish but that?s where it usually ends...today was no different. We fished the pool and by 10:30 am we had caught 15 fish, three which we kept. Ella caught the most and, of course, the biggest. We started back down the hill towards La Cueva and parked at the day-use lot and by 11:30 we were having an early lunch.


After lunch we fished about a mile stretch of the San Antonio to no avail. We loaded into the truck again and went to Battleship Rock. We parked, paid our five bucks and hiked up the San Antonio at tad. We fished a couple of nice runs?no even a nibble. Then a downpour of rain started and we quickly walked back to the truck. The rain didn't look like it was going to give up so we drove downstream alongside the Jemez, well so much for those five bucks. We fished several holes at some the hole below Jemez Springs. We got many hits but nothing big enough to keep. By 3:30 pm we had enough fun and started for home.


On the way we stopped at a store in San Ysidro to window shop and got an ice cream before finally hitting the road for home.


I always express my joy in this diary when I fish with my son or my brother or my Grandson Brandon but my greatest joy fishing will always by with my wife, my best fishing buddy.


...tight lines...Phil


September 24



I was able to go fishing today with my two favorite fishing buddies?my wife Ella and my great-grandson Brandon. Ella did so well on the East Fork last time we went there first. We arrived at the Conchas Trailhead at 7:00 am and as soon as I get Ella setup she went down to the hole while I was getting my gear ready. I was also getting my camera out because I wanted to shoot a lot of pictures today. Brandon was still in the truck resting with a stomach ache. As soon as I walked over to the trailhead Ella was bringing to hand a nice rainbow. I asked how big it was and she said, "It's a nice fat 15 incher." Brandon heard her and his ailment was cured and he was ready to fish.


I walked back over to the truck and proceeded to get his stuff ready for him?and he went down where Grandma was fishing in haste. I could swear I saw visible streaks of his image follow him down to the hole.


Shortly after I reached them I was fixing a tangle line for Brandon. A few minutes later he cast his line back out in the water and during a short drift Brandon set the hook in a fat rainbow. This one was only slightly smaller then Grandma's. I took a few pictures and was about to cast my line when Brandon said, "Grandpa, will you help me, my line is tangled up again", I replied, "Of course, that's what Grandpa's do.? After it was fixed he cast his line out and began fishing again. I took a few more pictures of the area, put my camera aside and threw my first cast. Within a few minutes I got a strike and set the hook. It seemed to be a large fish but I couldn't see right away. It turned out to be slightly larger than Brandon's but still smaller than Grandma's.


By 10 o'clock Ella had landed two more large rainbows and Brandon caught another fish the same size as his first. I put my fishing gear back in the truck and shot a roll of film of the area while Ella and Brandon continued to fish for awhile. By 11:00 am we had six very nice rainbows for dinner and had released about five more.


Brandon was getting hungry and so were Grandpa and Grandma. We decided to take forest road 376 south to travel towards the Rio Guadalupe and find a place to have our lunch. We drove past Porter's Landing over the mountain to near the tunnels. We found a turn-out and had a leisurely lunch while watching a couple of rock climbers scaling the tall rock formations across the stream. By 1:30 we were continuing down the hill to the small community of Gilman on our way to fish the Jemez. When we reached the Jemez by the bridge we parked, then Grandma and Brandon fished the stream for a while. We later traveled upstream to the San Diego day se area.


While I was shooting some pictures, Ella and Brandon fished and the only thing they caught was one crawdad. By 3 o'clock everyone was ready to go home. A family tradition is we always get an ice cream on our way home. Today was no different. We stopped at the T-Freeze in San Ysidro and each consumed a tall ice cream cone then started for home.


This day was a very good day. My two best fishing buddies, it doesn't get better than this. Grandma did it again, the first, the biggest and the most.


...tight lines...Phil


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