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> > Rio Puerco, Northern New Mexico

Report at a Glance

General RegionJemez Mountains
Specific LocationSan Pedro Peaks Wilderness
Time of Daylate morning/early afternoon
Fish CaughtRio Grande Cutthroat Trout
Conditions & HatchesBelow freezing to slightly above freezing. Ice present in the stream. Snow and ice all around.

Details and Discussion

Red_green_hNovember 27th, 2019, 9:21 am
New Mexico

Posts: 55
Broke in my newest 1wt set up. The fish I caught aren't monsters but fishing small overgrown mountain streams presents its own levels of difficulty i.e. trying to reach good fishing spots that aren't easily accessible from a point that is not easy to get to. Fish were biting off San Juan worms. Mostly #16 tan and red, some hits on brown. I love trying to catch these little jewels. They are a beautiful little fish. Reeling one in and holding it in my hands and then putting it back in the water gives me a sense of feeling as if I'm part of it all. It was a very refreshing feeling. It takes patience (which I don't have a lot of) and perseverance. The difficulty is that in most spots I was trying to get to I couldn't throw it, or even slingshot the fly to where I wanted it. I don't have waders so I didn't get in the stream. I had to use a strike indicator to help float the fly to the point on the stream where I wanted it to be. I got caught up on branches hanging over and above. The depth I wanted the indicator at sometimes held up the fly in the shallower part of the stream I was trying to float it through. It was difficult maneuvering the line around sharp ice so as not to severe the tippet or leader. It was a great experience and once that I covet every time I'm able to go.
There is a push in New Mexico to expand the tourism industry but I for one hope that it never happens as this state is packed with wilderness areas that boast a remoteness that rivals anywhere in the country.

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MartinlfDecember 1st, 2019, 7:48 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2998
Cool, but it may not be the best for the fish to lay them on the snow if you want to release them. Jason, any thoughts? Thanks for the beautiful photos, though, and for sharing your adventures!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Red_green_hDecember 3rd, 2019, 12:00 pm
New Mexico

Posts: 55
it may not be the best for the fish to lay them on the snow if you want to release them.


I actually thought about this when I was doing it. Was thinking it might cause him to go into shock, but water temp on a frozen lake, pond, river hovers around 4 degrees Celsius at the bottom. The stream wasn't fully frozen over but there was plenty of ice on the edges. Only had him on the snow for 30 sec. max. Would that be long enough to cold shock him? I don't know. I put him back in the water and he sat in the current for a couple seconds before darting off. Lord knows I've caught many a bluegill and perch ice fishing in the great Midwest and put them on the snow only to put them back in the water and they were flopping all the way back in and that was with an air temp of minus 20 Fahrenheit.
Jmd123December 3rd, 2019, 12:34 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2457
Nice pictures!!! Thanks for sharing!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TroutnutDecember 11th, 2019, 10:31 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2567
Nice pictures!

I don't know whether it's bad to briefly lay the fish on the snow or not. It's plausible that there wouldn't be any harm, but I would avoid it just in case. I don't know of any scientific literature or anything that actually tested it.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
WbranchDecember 17th, 2019, 8:38 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2615
It is awesome that you enjoy hiking in to these remote streams and catching these diminutive wild trout. However if you want to continue to enjoy these outings I would never lay it on the snow even for a few seconds. How would you like to lay bare ass naked in the snow for 30 seconds?
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
SmallflyguyDecember 18th, 2019, 5:28 am
Posts: 17I'd rather lay bare ass naked in the snow for 30 seconds than immersed in freezing water for 3.
Deception is my art
MartinlfDecember 18th, 2019, 9:32 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2998
Well, sharing has its potential downside, I suppose. But we all can learn from others opinions. I've certainly rethought my own ideas on catch and release a number of times, and I hope, learned more about best practices from others' feedback. Like Jason, I think it's plausible that there wouldn't be any harm, but the consensus seems to be keep 'em wet if possible, and off the snow. Anyway, don't let the Troutnut community's voice inhibit your posts. We are generally an agreeable bunch, though we can be a little ironic at times. I enjoy your photos, and think it's cool to pursue these little gems and see the beauty of small streams. Tight lines and a Merry Christmas to you in New Mexico, and to Troutnuts everywhere.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Red_green_hJanuary 15th, 2020, 1:06 pm
New Mexico

Posts: 55
Well to be honest I've done a polar bear dunk with the fellas at the VFW Post 4868 in frozen Clear Lake, IA. And I was pretty close to bare ass naked. I guess the only difference between myself and the little trout I put in the snow was about 5 shots of whiskey. Point taken though and filed away. Besides if I hadn't put him on the snow I couldn't've taken my phone out of my pocket to take the picture. But while we are discussing it. I've fought many a fish and wore them out to the point of exhaustion and put them back in the water only to have them turn upside down for a little bit before turning back over and swimming off. What is more stressful for a fish? Fighting them until they tire and wear out or putting them on the snow for a few seconds. The little one I put back in the water darted right off. The 24" rainbow I caught and put back this last summer sat there for at least a couple minutes before SLOWLY swimming away.
MartinlfFebruary 11th, 2020, 9:08 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2998
Good point, Ryan! I'd bet its much better than fighting them to exhaustion. And, we could take that last topic up another time. For now, we had a question about rods for New Mexico, and I thought of you. I'm bumping this post up and perhaps you'll see the other one and give your opinion. Hope you're doing well, catching fish, and staying warm--at least most of the time. (I've done the polar bear thing, but when I was young. You won't catch me in the water now unless it's 80 degrees or, preferably, warmer.)
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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