- Jay Walden
May 17, 2020
Sometimes I miss the old days when I traveled around the West living out of a backpack like some hobo during the Dustbowl, not knowing where I was going to sleep that night but knowing I would fish somewhere until dark, and then; hopefully, figuring it out. Waking up with the sun, turning my boots upside down to shake out the rattlers and scorpions, heading into town once a week for a room and a bath, and a cold beer; and if I was lucky, maybe one of them dancin' girls. Movin' on once I'd worn out my welcome with the local fish, off to some new hotspot I'd heard or read about somewhere. I headed out last week to check out a new location I'd heard about from a couple of oldtimers a few years back that was supposed to be home to some big fish. Now, I'm not going to give out the exact location, but it's in a state that starts with a U and ends with an H. Mainly, I chose this place because it was one of the few locations I could make in a day's drive that had relaxed restrictions that still allowed camping and fishing, and weren't stringing up tourists in the town square with the anchor ropes from their drift boats. Well, there's recon missions and then there's fishing trips and you need to know how to distinguish one from the other, because there's a distinct difference—on one you catch a bunch of fish and on the other you just drive around aimlessly looking for that spot that guy told you about wondering, "Jeeze, what's so special about this place? Ya know, a fish or two would be nice." I'd have to say that this place fell about midway between the two. First of all, it was in a pretty location—still a little chilly, given the altitude, but pretty. And I caught fish, not a lot of fish, but I caught fish, and a couple of nice ones. But, it wasn't easy like I had hoped it would be, I had to work for them, chucking streamers in the cold wind, my knees knocking together and my teeth chattering as the sun started to set, trying to get some numbers on the board. Still, it was good to get away, live like the old days, chopping wood at dusk, falling asleep in my chair staring at the fire with a tin cup of good whiskey, cowboy coffee in the morning—Kent Rollins style—if you don't know who that is, check him out on YouTube. Anyway, although the fishing could have been a little better, the trip seems to have done wonders for my grey matter, and honestly, I think the place probably has potential once the weather gets nicer, so I'm gonna leave it on my list to maybe check out again if time and circumstances permit. The thing about new places is, you're never really know until you check it out for yourself. "Some days a diamond, some days a stone," as John Denver used to say
Now as far as the San Juan goes, I said back earlier in the year that this was likely to be one of the best years of fishing we had seen for a long, long time. Well, it looks like I'm gonna have to eat my hat on that one, or at least half of it anyway, because so far, there has been no fishing—at least since back in March when the "good" was supposed to start happening. Unfortunately, this river just happens to be located in San Juan county, and that county; as luck would have it, happens to have the largest number of Covid-19 cases and largest number of deaths from that virus in the state of New Mexico. It's a bad break, no doubt. Unfortunate. So, it looks like we'll have to wait a little longer. There's still a lot of uncertainty about when we'll start to see a downward trend and it becomes safer to have people out and about, but I would guess it's going to be June 1st, before it's even a possibility. Until then, we are all just going to have to hold tight for awhile and hope for the best. As soon as there's some good news, I'll pass it along. In the meantime, stay safe out there friends and neighbors, we want you all to be able to come back when the river reopens.