Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NM Game & Fish Officers Take Stock of Trophy Trout in New Mexico's Legendary San Juan River

Marc Wethington, San Juan River Fisheries Biologist for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) shows off  a fat brown trout pulled from the river during a fall 2012 survey of the river and its trout population. 
Wethington uses a raft mounted, generator powered, electro-shocking unit to pass an electrical  current around and beneath his raft as he moves downstream. Fish in the vicinity of the passing raft are then stunned and float to the surface where workers can net them and put them in an on-board holding tank from which they can be retrieved, weighed, measured and inspected. 
NMDGF Conservation Officer, Storm Usrey, on the left and NMDGF Coldwater Fisheries Biologist, Richard Hansen, to the right, enjoy a beautiful fall day while working on New Mexico's blue ribbon trout stream, the San Juan River  at Navajo Dam.
Hanson releases one of many healthy trout captured during the survey operation while Usrey   takes notes. 

Karl Moffatt, publisher of the blog "Licensed to Fish" and "Outdoors New Mexico" frequently produces freelance articles for the game and fish department's "New Mexico Wildlife" magazine and is often invited to ride along during fish surveys.

The San Juan River's population of feisty rainbow trout remains stable due to a steady stocking program while the resident brown trout continue to thrive due the cold clear water flowing from the base Navajo Dam.
Large brown trout can frequently be found in shallower waters by gravel bars on the lower San Juan River during the fall as they prepare to spawn. Anglers are urged to leave them be so they can reproduce successfully.   
The San Juan River below Navajo Dam offers anglers over seven miles excellent trout fishing and incredible scenery. Special regulations apply. Consult your fishing proclamation. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Alder Guard Station: Rustic Comfort on the Rio Grande.

The Rio Grande at South Fork Colorado provides miles of good public fishing amid spectacular scenery and is just a short drive from the US Forest Service's Alder Guard Station rental cabin. Photo by Wren Propp.

Alder Guard Station provides the public an affordable stay at a historic facility featuring excellent amenities and a great location. Go to for more info and reservations.

 A well stocked wood pile and a good wood burning stove provides the heat and ambiance at Alder Guard Station during a cool autumn evening.

Alder Guard Station features big windows to take in the view from the living room of this cozy cabin situated in the Rio Grande National Forest near South Fork, Colorado.

The well equipped kitchen at Alder Guard Station could use a microwave oven and a couple of good cast iron skillets to make it even better.

Alder Guard Station features hot, running water and the opportunity to soak in this huge, old fashioned, claw foot, bathtub, A real luxury of the old west.
Alder Guard Station provides five single beds in two rooms on the second floor accessed by a steep staircase.

Spreading the living room futon out on the floor made for an even better place to crash for this couple.

The picnic tables under the towering pine trees in the front yard at Alder Guard Station were the place to be on a warm, sunny, autumn morning.

Nearby Shaw Lake above Big Meadows Reservoir is a popular fishing and sightseeing destination.

A well equipped, autumn angler armed with a spin casting rig outfitted with a bubble and a Pistol Pete might snag a late season trout or two at Shaw Lake in southern Colorado.

The Rio Grande as it flows through the nearby town of Del Norte features in-stream habitat improvements designed to attract and hold fish for anglers to catch.
The Rio Grande in southern Colorado offers excellent public access, pretty good habitat and not bad fishing but it also lives up to its reputation as one of the most mercurial rivers in the west, producing good action one day and nary a nibble the next. Photo by Wren Propp.
Returning to New Mexico from the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado along remote US 285 can produce stunning scenes for those lucky enough to be out there at the right time.