Friday, August 13, 2010

Rio Ruidoso

  I fished the Ruidoso River in town for the first time. I had fished the section on the reservation a few years back, catching some small browns and a couple of nice rainbows,before the rains came. Now that part of the stream is closed to fishing and camping since the flood in 2008. At first I took a look at Carrizo Creek,but it really looked too small to fish.Well, maybe not too small,because I've fished some very small streams, it's just so hedged in with willows along much of its course that it seemed to be defying the notion of fly fishing. Also, there didn't seem like there was anywhere to park until you got to the motel just inside the reservation boundary. It was definitely not crowded but I wasn't sure how they'd feel about me leaving my car there.The stream may be more fishable on the reservation,but I figured I would have to get a permit to fish there. I guess I could have found out the answers to both of these questions, but all these little inconveniences are why I usually fish in wilderness areas.
     I then headed across Sudderth, parked at Two Rivers Park and proceeded downstream,hooking a couple of fish almost immediately while folks sat in their lawn chairs watching me.The Ruidoso is relatively large compared to the other streams in this region, and even though this section is completely canopied over, there was ample room for conventional casting. It was quiet and shady, and once past those initial spectators, I was very much by myself in a strange little bit of semi-wilderness in this busy tourist town. It began to rain around noon as it always does this time of year. I walked on mile or so,continuing a ways past the Paradise Canyon Bridge, always wondering if some homeowner was going to come out and yell at me. None did. I caught five or six fish on the way down and one more on the way back. All were rainbows( I was hoping for at least one brown), all caught on dries. I tried a beadhead nymph in some of deep murky pools,but to no avail.A couple of the fish didn't have the dull look of stockers, but were quite bright and colorful, resembling cuttbows that I have caught over at the nearby South Fork of the Rio Bonito. I don't know their origin unless they've spilled out of Mescalero Lake and into tributary Carrizo Creek.
    After lunching at a picnic table, I tried fishing upstream from the parking area for about a mile, but without even a bite.The rain, which had stopped mercifully quickly the first time, started again around three, as it frequently does this time of year. I called it day. If you're already staying in Ruidoso or don't want to hit the shops with the rest of the group,this could a pleasant few hours diversion, but I certainly would not go out of my way to do it again.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Eagle Creek(North Fork)-Lincoln National Forest

I slipped in 3 hours of fishing between thunderstorms on Thursday. I had first thought I'd go to the section of the Ruidoso River on the reservation,but it was closed just like last summer. I don't know what the story is there. I then tried to find a public access point in Ruidoso Downs, that someone had told me about,but I really didn't see anything that looked like it didn't require crossing private property. I then thought about ol' reliable, the South Fork of the Rio Bonito,but I've been there so many times, and I wanted something a little different, so I headed out for Eagle Creek,not knowing exactly what I'd find.
   The rain started coming down, so I took an early lunch in the truck. After eating, I started hiking down the road. I could see blue sky ahead, so I was hoping to walk out from under the drops,which I did. I walked along the trail and quickly saw a nice pool below where a spring was pouring into the creek. Climbing down creekside, I rigged up and promptly caught a nice brookie on my first cast. I caught a dozen or so more on a single dry fly. Most came from the deeper pools,but I caught couple of bigger ones in the deepest riffles. Smallest fish of the day: 5 inches. Largest: 10 or 11 inches.
    Past the first creek crossing of the trail(about 1/4 mile from the trailhead) there is a higher waterfall. Above here the stream gets really small and closed in with vegetation. I tried some the holes up there,but there didn't appear to be any fish. On the way back down it started raining again just I was changing flies for the first time. It really started coming down,so I tried one last pool,caught one of my best fish of the day,and then called it quits.
    If you go, you have to park at the gate on Forest Road 127a and hike to the trailhead. There may be fish in this lower part of the stream( I saw a few at the first road crossing), as well as further down all the way to the weir along the paved road to the ski area, but the section past the gate has many sections of private property,so keep your distance from cabin doors and back porches.IMPORTANT UPDATE: Eagle Creek may fishless at present due to flooding in the aftermath of the Big Bear Fire( June, 2013).Update 2016- I was informed that the brookies survived and are there at present in Eagle Creek.