Early morning, Day Four. I pitched my tent last night on the edge of this cliff. Good thing I was too tired to get up to pee in the middle of the night. Today we plan to fish all day down in the gorge at the bottom of this cliff. After three days of riding we’re really looking forward to a break from the motorcycles.
Dad, writing in his journal on the edge of the cliff with the river winding down in the canyon below. Today we’re fishing with Greg McReynolds, Trout Unlimited’s Public Lands Coordinator for New Mexico. The river below is one of his home waters.
Firing up the JetBoil to brew coffee while we wait for Greg. The little stoves boil water in about two minutes, and come with a built-in French press.
We found this bear track in the middle of camp in the morning. Dad’s started calling it a Chupacabra track. There are lots of creepy critters in the desert southwest, some legendary, some very real, including venemous spiders, tarantulas, scorpions, and lots of snakes. Enough to keep your eyes peeled at night when you’re not in your tent.
The creepiest thing we’ve seen so far, though, has to be this miniature skeleton we found in the gravel by the side of the trail. What the h*ll is that?
The trail down into the canyon reaches the bottom of the gorge at the junction between the Rio Grande and Red Rivers. That’s the Rio on the left. You can just see the Red over Greg’s right shoulder. From here we split up …
Dad and Greg started fishing the Rio …
And Tim and I headed up the Red.
It was tight water on the Red, and tough fishing.
My first fish of the day was a monster.
While I was fishing, Tim shot photos, including this great portrait of a tarantula he’d found scurrying amongst the rocks by the side of the river.
I had to yell at him to leave the spider alone and come shoot a photo of this fish, my biggest of the day, which turned out to be, unfortunately, the best trout we landed all trip.
Around 1:30 we met back up at a Forest Service shelter at the junction of the two rivers to get some shade, a bite to eat, and …
… a quick siesta.
Around 2:00 Dad headed back up the cliff to the campground and Tim, Greg, and I hiked upstream, looking for rising fish.
Late afternoon is not a prime time to fish the New Mexico desert. It was hot, bright, and still. We scouted for hours without finding a rise until finally …
… I spotted a nice fish rising across a big pool that was too deep to wade out in. I cast at the fish for an hour with no luck — it was holding in an eddy on the opposite side of the river and I couldn’t figure out how to lay out a drag-free drift. I was considering swimming across the river to try and reach it when Greg called it a day, saying we were already going to be hiking out in the dark. Read the full story of Day Four in these excerpts from our journals.
Last fall, Field & Stream Online Editor Nate Matthews and his father, Bruce, spent 15 days fishing the Rio Grande River from its headwaters in Colorado’s Continental Divide all the way to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. These excerpts from their journals tell the story of their 2500-mile motorcycle ride along the historic river, taken during momentous times in the lives of both father and son. Photographer/vidographer Tim Romano documented the excursion. Look for the print feature in June 2011.