Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Agua Chiquita Creek-Lincoln National Forest
One of those early trips found me investigating the tiny Sacramento River and the tinier Agua Chiquita Creek in the Lincoln National Forest. It was August. I saw a few tiny black forms below the concrete spillway on the Sacramento. Further downstream, in Timberon and beyond, it was pure mud. I did try a few casts, but it was pointless. Over at Agua Chiquita, the water was clearer. I tried my luck in the section below Sand Springs. There were some good pools,but there was no action. I did see one brookie before I gave up. A subsequent visit, either later that year or the following year had me believing that one I saw may have been the last of the tribe. Now,there was nothing, just as I had found over at Tierra Blanca Creek( another stream mentioned in the book) in the Gila's Black Range. Fires,persistent drought, and rogue cattle grazing put an end to trout in Agua Chiquita, if not at that time, then soon afterwards.
The last few years our Gila /Rio Grande Chapter of Trout Unlimited had been studying and working on the stream with idea of establishing a population of Rio Grande Cutthroats.The Forest Service also began building a pipe fence to exclude cattle in certain sections towards that end as well.The notion has since been abandoned due in large part to the fact that during the entire period of study and work there has been very, very little water in the stream. When I visited a few weeks ago, the stream looked as I first saw it: beautiful with green grass, little falls and pools. It had finally been replenished by a week or more of late season September rains and was looking like it should hold trout. But it doesn't right now. Perhaps if the rain and snow come back like they should, it will once again.