The big splash…

For more years than I care to remember, I’ve been able to take out my frustrations about not having a gold medal trout stream in my back yard by traveling up to the Rio Penasco, an unexpected spring-fed trout fishery on the eastern slopes of the Sacramento Mountains just two hours away.

The water here is all privately owned and our local fly fishing club, the Mesilla Valley Fly Fishers, Inc., has been able to negotiate leases with private land owners for rights to fly fish on this unique section of water.

Both my children and my wife learned how to fly fish on this water and it’s been a special place for me and many others. The most remarkable thing about it is that it is a fishery that is really unexpected in this part of the world.

Last Thursday, as I have done several times before, I helped re-stock the leased waters with some really beautiful, healthy and fat Rainbow trout, about 12-14 inches in length. Since the water is all under catch and release rules, I hope the 20 or so trout I tossed into some nice deep pools will flourish for many seasons and hopefully help increase the natural population. And I hope I will re-acquaint myself with a few of them. 

Instead of gently releasing them into their new waters, those who regularly stock fish say the best technique is to toss them in with a splash to “wake them up” from their numbing ride in a tank on the back of a stocking truck. So I do that with a great deal of gusto, but make sure all that I toss in the water start swimming right away for cover — which they always do.

While not as rewarding as re-stocking native Gila trout on my all-time favorite stream, Whitewater Creek in the Gila National Forest, it always makes me happy to put fish into a river where they can flourish and give us humans a rewarding experience without harvesting them.

Here are some photos of my day’s activities.

Loading up Rainbow trout in bucket for stocking
Ready for the splash in the Rio Penasco

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