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.

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