Like the Cimarron, I didn’t think I was going to have the opportunity to fish the Pecos River east of Santa Fe for the same reasons I’ve been talking about – flows too low, weather too cold. Again, I lucked out and was able to hook up with Norman Maktima, one of the best guides on the Pecos and a competitive fly-fisherman on the national scene. More about Norman in my guide column.
The Pecos is about 900 miles in length terminating in Texas into the Rio Grande. As with so many western fisheries, the abuse of the rivers and its wildlife is disturbing. In the case of the Pecos, trout were harvested in such a way as to almost destroy the fishery. This was remedied in the early 1990s when some 20 miles of the upper Pecos river was designated as a Wild and Scenic River. By some accounts, the river is now better than ever.
I fished north and south of the Pecos Box Canyon. Although there were quite a number of anglers for the middle of the week, we were able to find some unmanned spots. As it turned out, the fish were not there and we figured that several of the spots where we landed had already been fished earlier in the day. Of course, it goes without saying that I missed my fair share of fish because it seemed as if their bite was ever so gentle and I missed the cue on my yarn indicator.
We ended up downriver a bit on some private property where we caught one large fish after another. There’s something to be said for untraveled streams, but it’s hard to come by in this day and age.