July 15, 2016 (Click Photos to enlarge and backspace to return to page)
My wife Ella asked me to take her fishing this week. We planned to go Saturday because we were both scheduled for eye exams on Friday. At the last minute the Doctor’s office had to re-schedule, so we grabbed our fishing poles and headed for the Pecos area.
My wife and I haven’t fished together as much as we used to because she doesn’t get around in the mountains as well because of a bad knee. She has been using a cane for some time now so we needed to go place with easier access. The first place we went was Monastery Lake where we fished for about an hour and didn’t do very well and we, frankly were getting bored. We are used to fishing streams.
We have fished a lot together over the years and she developed a reputation of usually catching the first and the biggest fish of the day when we fished together. I am not so competitive that it would bother me because she deserved the credit. I am the luckiest guy in the world; my wife has never…ever complained about me fishing anytime I wanted to go. She is a real trooper and would follow me most places I would go fishing and never complain. Our grandchildren can attest to that. I told my oldest grand-daughter I was taking grandma fishing and she said, “You guys be careful and take good care of grandma.”
Our first stop was the Dalton bridge area and fished the deep pocket water and deep holes and after about twenty minutes she caught the first fish. I fished some and nothing to hand. We fished this area hard and after about an hour decided to go upstream. We landed at the Willow Creek day use area. We hiked over to the river and found a hole I like to fish and someone else was there. To honor fishing etiquette, we moved downstream to the next large hole of pocket water which I also like to fish.
The stream bottom in this area has a lot large rocks and you can easily get hung-up and lose your bait trying to get it out of the water or have to break your line and put another hook, sinker and bait on the line. My wife got hung up a few times, but that is just part of this game we play. She kept getting hits and nibbles but no hooked fish. After about an hour we both saw a large fish roll over the top of the water and the fish was at least 18 to 20 inches. Well at this point the battle between this fish and my wife was on…It is difficult to catch a fish, especially a large one after it knows you are there. That’s how they grow to be larger.
While we were fishing the run a young boy about 9-10 years old with his Dad, old asked if it would be ok to fish just downstream from where we were. I said, of course, and he thanked me. Now that’s fishing etiquette. It was so nice to have a kid be polite enough to ask to fish near us. Many adults don’t do that, they merely fish right near where you are regardless, sometimes even casting in the same hole.
We must have fished that hole for another hour or so and decided we were getting hungrier than the fish were so we drove to a shady spot down the road to have lunch. By then I basically had quit fishing primarily because this was Ella’s day to do her thing and I wanted to help with hang-ups and catching fish.
I have always liked this stretch of water from Terrero campgrounds to Willow Creek day use area. It is mostly canyon area from 30-foot-wide water to narrow deep runs and very large holes and pocket water. There are high trails to hike down to the water from the rim of the canyon but I prefer going in from upper end or the lower end of the canyon, mainly because the crowds disappear after about a half mile from either end. I have been telling people for years that there are large fish in here in the 18 to 20 inch range and larger but I cannot go in by myself anymore…orders from headquarters, if you get my drift. Earlier this there was a 24-inchor larger rainbow taken using spinners and my wife and I saw four fish today that were 18 to 22 inches long. They are in there you just need to get off the beaten path to catch them. This stretch is about the only stretch left without hordes of people.
We took our lunch break under a shade tree over a concrete picnic table and had a great lunch together, eating and resting for about an hour. There was a lot of recollection of the “Good Ole’ Days” with our kids and most of the grandchildren who we have brought to the water for their lessons in camping, cooking and fishing. Ella has always taken very good care of all of us with her motherly attention. However, in the mountains of New Mexico my job was to teach, do all the cooking and cleaning. I have always felt that was my reasonability to give my wife a break when we camped and fished. It has worked well and it was the least I could do for Ella. In addition, my breakfasts are pretty good and once was called “legendary breakfast” by someone other than myself. I have a large square cast iron skillet where I fixed bacon or sausage, potatoes and scrambled eggs taking a third of the skillet for each and when I was done everything was hot and delicious. We used to do this on an open fire. As time progressed I was able to buy a nice cook’s stove which I used for several years. I now have a two-burner Coleman gas stove that I haven’t got dirty yet.
Those days have passed and we mostly do day trips fishing the streams now and have sandwiches, chips, boiled eggs and the like for lunch and snacks in between. Well, back to fishing…
We drove downstream to the confluence of the Rio Mora and the Pecos River where a very large hole is formed with slow water on both sides. Ella fished the spot for about an hour with no fish to hand. She finally proclaimed “It’s 3 o’clock maybe we should head for home.” It was a hot day and I guess we were both getting tired…a far cry from when we used to fish 10 to 12 hours in a day.
The water was great today and it was a hot day with a slight breeze all day which made it tolerable. Ella was able to use her cane all day while I carried her stuff and helped her up and down the small dips in the landscape to get the water but we had a great day together and I am so thankful to have her by my side. There will be more trips together in the waters of Northern New Mexico. Maybe the Jemez Mountains the next time.
One final task left to do…we stopped at the Dairy Queen in Pecos to get our traditional ice cream hit at the end of the day.
Soon after we arrive home I sent a text to my granddaughter and said, “Grandma and I got home a little while ago. I just wanted you to know we had a wonderful time together and I took very good care of her…she did not fall once AND she caught to only fish.” She replied, “Glad you had a good time and you took care of her. Of course she caught the fish and she’s still got it! LOL”
I probably won’t fish until August when it starts to cool down some. I want to fish the Rio Mora, the East Fork in the Jemez and/or Rio Guadalupe. The fall fishing will be the Rio de los Pinos, Chama River below El Vado dam and maybe the Delores River in near Cortez, Colorado.