How the Trout Buddha spent his summer vacation. My trip to northern New Mexico reached beyond just good green chili and actually included some fishing. Our second guided day took us to the the Rio Grand Gorge Wild Rivers Recreation Area and a hike to the
lower Red River. The Red River has taken some hits over the years thanks to the mining industry. In fact isn't that what the M in BLM stands for? (Bureau of Livestock and Mining - no wait that is not it). My brother and I under the guidance of trusty Taos Fly Shop guide Ron hiked the popular Aguaje trail to the Red River. Not popular on this day as there were no other fly anglers in site. In fact, no hikers, no campers, no picnickers, nothing. Just us on a beautiful summer day on (and then below) the mesa. Lots of brown, rainbows, and cutbows. Wonderful small pocket water fishing. Good insect activity and abundant fish (mix of hatchery and some wild reproduction) seemed to indicate that maybe the Red is making a mild comeback. I had requested the shop provide me with two very different days. They obliged with two of the most beautiful days I have had on the water. Can't say enough about the Taos mesa.
Taos is a tough town that suffers from some of the problems associated with "tourist towns". Lots to draw in tourists, not much to help the economy of the majority of local people who are trapped in the service economy. I try to mange my guilt by eating local, staying a locally owned hotel, doing my best to tip well, and trying not to be a jerk. Taos will survive. I view it as the tough tattooed sibling of a fancier and well to do Santa Fe. Worth a visit and pack your fly rod.
Some images from the Rio Grande Gorge and the Lower Red River