On the River submissions....trout tales of our members.
Took a back country horseback trip into the "Bob" this past July. Fished the headwaters of the South Fork of the Flathead. The dry fly fishing was amazing for big native westslope cutthroats.
During the recent TU annual meeting I had the pleasure on hosting a TU member from Arizona on a fishing trip. Dave wanted to fish small streams for Rio Grande cutthroat trout. So given our time constraints, I picked out an area in the Sangre de Cristos about an 1 1/2 hours from Santa Fe I had fished the week before. Dave was a bit surprised when I told him the 10-15 ft wide stream we drove by in the morning was not a small stream. I think he had his doubts when we finally arrived at our destination, a 2-4 ft wide creek at 9500 ft elevation.
The fishing was tough as the water was crystal clear and shallow and the sky was sunny. And when we spotted fish it was hard to get in position to cast without spooking them. But Dave managed to catch his first ever RGCT and came away happy and with an appreciation for small stream fishing NM style. He is even planning to give a presentation on his experience to his Phoenix TU chapter.
This was my first time fly fishing on the San Juan River. A friend, a seasoned veteran of the San Juan, said for my first trip we should get a guide and boat. Drift boat fishing was also another first for me. Fishing via drift boat, I would get a better feel for the whole river. The late September weather was great. We had a nice day and I was really happy with landing a couple rainbows that were 22" and 20". My friend also had nice day by landing some real nice browns. Altogether we caught several fish that day. The guide was really nice in that he had lots of patients with me. I really learned a lot on the trip, skills that will make me a better fly fisherman.
There are multiple routes to Johnson Lake via Pecos or the Santa Fe side of the divide. See Pecos Wilderness map from USFS. My preferred route is via Cave Creek on the Pecos side of the divide. This is an approximate 15 mile round trip hike. Johnson sits above 11,000 feet on the backside of Redondo Peak. On this trip we hiked and fished in mid June. Snow banks were still present around the higher slopes surrounding the lake. The lake contains cutthroats…Snake River and Rio Grande Cutthroats….some fish caught looked to contain a mix of both. The inlet and outlet of the lake contained many spawners, however we left them alone to do their deed, and we fished for the trout actively feeding within the lake. This is a good weekend trip if you’re seeking solitude, alpine trout, and beautiful mountainous country. Remember camping is prohibited in the bowl of the lake.