Tyler Berg with his dad and a 20-inch brown trout Tyler caught at Navajo Lake May 2019. Courtesy photo
In this time of change, the Department would like to encourage anglers to continue COVID safe practices; it is a great time to mend equipment, stock tackle boxes and prepare for upcoming fishing trips.
In the weekly fishing report, provided by Dustin Berg of Go Unlimited (supporting disabled anglers) and the Department of Game and Fish, we will continue to share tips and tricks to help you be ready and to safely go on your next adventure.
Pictures and Stories in honor of Father’s Day – In this week’s fishing report, Dustin shares some memories of fishing with dad. If you choose to go fishing this father’s day weekend, make sure to practice #ResponsibleRecreation.
Dustin talks about fishing with his dad
Many dads have opened the door to endless outdoor adventure for their kids by first taking them fishing. My dad started taking me fishing in about 1988. We’d venture out into the Jemez Mountains and float bugs and worms down the mountain streams.
I have fond memories of chasing grasshoppers through tall grass and using those grasshoppers I caught as bait for the fish. The Guadalupe Box in the Jemez Mountains was one of our favorite places to go. There were wily brown trout lurking in the deeper dark pools that would erupt violently on our floating grasshopper baits. It was thrilling for me as a young boy and even still sends a jolt of electricity through my veins today.
As I grew older and more capable, my dad poured fuel into the fire by taking me further into the great outdoors. We backpacked into remote places near Red River, bow hunted the Gila Mountains and picked up fly fishing and wading the San Juan River.
On the San Juan River, we’d camp at Cottonwood Campground and fish upstream to a place called ET Rock. Wading the San Juan is an experience one never forgets. The abundance of large trout swimming around your boots is a fishermen’s dream. We preferred to fish with dry flies because the sight of watching a trout rise to take your bait is an absolute rush.
The entire stretch of river from Cottonwood Campground to ET Rock was excellent fishing, but it was at ET Rock where I caught my first 24-inch rainbow trout. I am not positive, but I think I caught that fish on a black midge cluster fly or brown elk hair caddis. We caught a lot of fish on those two flies and I believe they work often because of their close resemblance to many naturally occurring bug species. My dad and I had some really great times fishing up there on the Juan.
Thirty-two years later, I am blessed to be a dad taking my son, Tyler, fishing. My hope is that he will learn the many lessons in life that are taught through being in nature and experiencing adventure. The informal and often impromptu education found only in the great outdoors is priceless. I am so grateful that my dad took me out and taught me how to fish.
Here is a “dad story” from Theran Lewis owner/operator of T&S Mainstream Bait Shop in Pena Blanca by Cochiti Lake.
My Dad and I were in a band together from 1976-1979. We played Thursday night thru Sunday night at a bar in Santa Fe called the Turf Club. It was right across from the racetrack. It is no longer there, of course.
After finishing up one Sunday night in the summer of 1977, around midnight, my family loaded up in my Dad’s old 1971 Chevy truck and headed out to Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a family camping trip. I was 16 years old around that time. The only other time we had gone fishing was when I was very young, so I knew almost nothing about fishing. My Dad, on the other hand, was an expert, or so I believed.
The second day into our unbelievably fantastic camping trip, my dad sets out to catch the big one. After a couple of hours, he comes back to our campsite frustrated and empty handed. My Dad calls me over and tells me, “I want you to go over there to our neighbor’s camp and find out what kind of bait that guy is using, because he’s killing it out there.”
So, taking it upon myself to solve this mystery for my Dad, I went right over to our neighbor’s camp site, politely knocked on their tent and walked right in. What I saw next was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I had no idea how I was even going to explain it to my Dad.
Thanking the nice gentleman for allowing me to barge in on him, I returned to our campsite and proceeded to tell my dad the secret to his success.
“Dad,” I said. “You’re not going to believe what this guy is doing. You’re in trouble. He has cut open a fish and he’s going through its stomach, pulling out everything that the fish has eaten and he’s making something called flies.”
These flies that the gentleman was making by hand look just like the bugs that the fish had been eating. Well, to say that my dad’s fishing expedition abruptly ended that day would be a great way to end this story, but he maintained his resolve and continued fishing that river until he completely ran out of salmon eggs. He never caught one fish that entire trip.
Be respectful of the environment
In New Mexico, we have beautiful streams, rivers and lakes that we encourage people to enjoy. Part of enjoying these places is to enter, experience and not destroy. Encourage others to be stewards of the land. Lead by example. It is devastating to these locations when people show up and leave their trash.
Besides the point that leaving your trash turns an otherwise natural environment into an unsightly litter box, it passes on a terrible lesson to the next generation of outdoorsmen. It also harms wildlife. If two out of 10 people leave their trash, and 500 people visit the area, it equals a lot of nasty waste left in the outdoors. There are many wild animals that rely on our state’s limited water sources that might consume or become entrapped in leftover trash. These animals die from such negative overlaps in culture. Think of them. Think of the people who look up to you.
Lead by example and take the easy steps to haul your trash back to the city to dispose of it. Do it for your own outdoors enjoyment and the sake of everything in our great outdoors.
Learn more about Leave No Trace here.