Sunday, June 5, 2011

high country opener 2011

image courtesy of David @ BCFN, thx David!
For this year's High Country Opener, I opted for some smaller water, a scoch off the beaten path.  So much so, as a matter of record, that it's a bit of a wonder we made it back in one piece.
backcountry angler in his element
Considering the trackless wilderness, deadfall-choked canyon, mountain goat scrambling, I for one, was lucky to have come out of it relatively cheaply: one fly box, small, lost to The Oblivion, one noticeable limp in my gait this day.  

But those cutthroats! now, worth every ounce of blood (literally), sweat (liberally), tears (figuratively) invested in the adventure.

unsuspecting quarry
With the high country opening up, David @ BCFN asked if I would be up for a trip, graciously allowing me to pick the venue.  Pressure on, and knowing a fellow cutthroat enthusiast in David, I offered some rather untrammeled water, water in need of better exploration and documentation.  

Purely for Science, you understand.  ;-)  

Our venue: a remote assemblage of some of the greenest acreage the great state of New Mexico has to offer.  As for the water- a mixture of lush mountain meadows and rugged canyons both, most all of it sheltering colorful Rio Grande Cutthroats sporting the most buttery-golden hue. 

God's country
There's gold in them thar hills!

In the am, we spent a good amount of time sampling one of the area's countless feeder streams, mostly unproductive, but offering beautiful vistas of shining mountain meadows around every bend.  A bit discouraged by the lack of fishy cooperation, we set our sights down canyon, into The Wild.

An hour's scramble over deadfalls, around rockpiles, through thickets, rattlesnake dens, landmine fields, broken glass, and finally, legions of TSA screeners, (alright I may have made that last part up) we finally cast our eyes on the prize, running clear and cold.  

With Grade A Prime Rio Grande Cutthroats finning in every pool.  (not made up) ;-]

David proved a backcountry angler of the most experienced sort, making short work of the catching.  And in the marveling in the day such as this.  

the stalk

How lucky we, to sample some of the finest riches on this good earth!

 Thanks David, twas a fine opener indeed.

You can catch David's writeup on our trip at BCFN in the next coupla days, give it a read, he runs a fine blog over there! 

Cutthroat fishing god's green acres?  Pretty schweet.  

Elk calf 'hiding' out within a 4wt's distance?  Awesome.

What a great trip.


  1. Beautiful creek and photos Mike. Looks like you guys found yourselves a little slice of heaven. I love the look of those cutts.


  2. Is the saying, "A kid at a candy store" too cliche to write down here? What a trip Mike, awesome write-up to boot! I'm glad I was able to participate in this study of The Wild.

  3. What a way to open the season, catch my first cutthroat of the year. Gonna be a great summer! Mike

  4. Nice! I see some familiar turf there :)
    That elk calf photo is a keeper too!!

  5. RE: elk calf- I know! Never experienced that before, might never again- too sweet!