Saturday, March 19, 2011
Rito de los Frijoles-Bandelier National Monument
I tried fishing here two summers ago but the water was low, the air temperature hot and the section right above Ceremonial Cave didn't have seem to have many fish.This time I drove out to the Ponderosa Group campground on NM 4 and hiked the mile and a half trail to get to the creek about 6 miles further upstream. Beware: the last segment of this trail goes more or less straight( well not straight at all actually,but very little horizontal distance is covered) down using many switchbacks, which it means it's straight up on the way out. My time going in was about a half hour.My time going out was about 40 minutes, and I was chugging both ways( for me). It's a different world down in the canyon bottom here from the drier ponderosa forest at the visitor center. Instead there is spruce and fir along the stream and on the north facing slopes, and even though it was winter,I could tell there's a myriad of deciduous vegetation lining the creek,which would provide more cover in the summer,but it would make it virtually impossible to cast( it was difficult enough as it was). I fished this little mountain brook for an hour and a half, catching 3 small rainbows and one very small brookie. It was fun,but I wish I could have stayed longer. It was another tip of the tongue taste, which can get old after awhile. It would be great to hike in here or at the trail that makes a crossing even further upstream and do a shuttle hike. I guess a loop is possible too, with a couple of miles of road walking. IMPORTANT NOTE: this stream may no longer have fish due the fire and floods in the summer of 2012. Check with the Monument regarding conditions.