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San Juan New Years in the Old Years

It’s difficult to remember exactly when it began, our annual New Years fishing trip on the San Juan River below Navajo Dam. We had hair and it wasn’t gray, and some of us still had muscles. We brought our kitchen kits and coolers, cooking our meals and washing dishes, then staying up half the night playing cribbage, … Read more

The ecology of multiple use

Effective partnerships win The 2014 listing of the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse as a federally endangered species caused the closure of an expansive meadow along the Rio Cebolla to all uses – camping, fishing and especially grazing. As a gathering pasture in the spring and fall, the meadow was critical to the operations of … Read more

Faith

Fly fishing in New Mexico.

I was driving home the other morning from my son’s school, where a prospective head of school had fielded questions from an auditorium full of parents. One father had asked how the candidate would promote critical thinking in an environment so well known for its “indoctrination” of our nation’s youth. He seemed to accept this reality, yet expressed hope that debate would be encouraged on controversial topics. One of them, no surprise, was … Read more

Corridors paved with water

A view of the mountains in New Mexico.

When teaching guide clients how to read a stream, I stressed three basic conditions that dictate where a trout will hold: access to food, access to safety and access to shelter from energy-sapping currents. A healthy and stable abundance of any or all of these conditions affords trout the option of staying put, perhaps enabling … Read more

Small-stream tactics in the age of non-native invasives

Native Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Contrary to many conservation-minded anglers, I am one who believes that, along with cockroaches, coyotes and Siberian elm trees, brown trout will survive the apocalypse. They possess many of the traits we Americans admire most: they are intelligent, confident, adaptable, rugged, ambitious and breathtakingly handsome. And for the time being … Read more

Honor Float

Paul Zimmerman teaches fly tying to military veterans. At 91 years of age, and as the sole care provider for his wife Patti, he is reluctant to leave her alone. He conducts all of his lessons at his home, an arrangement that’s also convenient for his students, who are often most comfortable with one-on-one engagement and places where calmness and quiet prevail.  “Our situation was different from Vietnam,” says Zimmerman, a … Read more

The Pecos is fishing great … for now

The lifeblood of the Village of Pecos, the Pecos River flows through public and private lands in a narrow canyon flanked by in aspen, Gambel oak, and mixed conifer. The Pecos boasts a fun salmon fly hatch in early summer, and I love how spooky the fish are in autumn, when elk bugles echo, the banks blaze with yellow cottonwoods, and the water resembles the air above, cold, clear and … Read more

Ranches

According to one stereotype, a rancher’s commitment to the lifestyle is mainly self-serving. The fences they build are as much to keep the public out as to detain resident wildlife (translation: elk) for the purpose of selling high-dollar hunting opportunities. When not dewatering streams, they restore and stock them for their own fishing pleasure and that of paying anglers in search of lunkers in a crowd-free … Read more