Local Stories & History

Late Winter Fishing on the Rio San Antonio

Spring Fishing 2014

With springtime just a few short weeks away and the weather too favorable not be on the water with a fishing pole, I took a couple of hours to go try my luck in our beautiful Jemez Mountains. I set out at about 10AM along the west side of the Rio San Antonio from the bridge at Twisted Juniper Rd. here in La Cueva (9 miles north of Jemez Springs).  Now, 10AM is not typically your best time of the day to go fishing but I still had the need to get a fishing pole in hand.  On this day, I just grabbed a ultralight rod and reel from the rack – a 6-foot pole rigged with 10-pound test Spiderwire and walked down to the water.

 DSC_0045The outside temperature was about 50F with abundant sunshine and no wind. The water temperature on the river was very cold and a bit murky from the high country spring runoff.  Moving upstream, I baited my hook with a pea sized piece of Orange Power Bait and one small split shot and began to relax.   After about 10 minutes of trial and error, I found most of the trout lying idle in the still waters adjacent to the main current.  It seemed as if the trout were not yet really “awake” for spring feeding and wanted perfect bait presentation before they had any interest.


As afternoon came, I had caught (and released) 7 nice pan-sized fish in a quarter mile stretch of the river right in front of the Elk Mountain Lodge. It was also good to see that some of the normal spring flies were beginning to emerge along the banks.  By the end of my outing, the temperature had reached about 60F and I actually had signs of a light sunburn!  The trout also seemed to become more active as the day progressed – they began to feed more aggressively.  I snapped a few pictures of the trout I landed – no “lunkers” on this outing but the average length varied from a decent 10 to 14 inches.  All in all, it was a great day.  This brief excursion was enough to get me excited about what this year’s fishing should be like.  The fishing up here never really disappoints!

 Be sure to check our Facebook page every few weeks for the local NMDGF Fishing Report!

Fourth of July in Jemez Springs

If you’ve never been to the Jemez Mountains for the 4th of July, you have indeed missed a wonderful event.  This small home-town occasion brings you back to a time when baseball, apple pie and ice cream were the highlights of the best Independence day ever.  A quaint old fashioned traditional parade, slap-your-knee funny duck races, oohs and ahhs from the firework display…  It’s all here.


The Town ordered the fireworks weeks ago with faith that some much needed rains would fall.  The conditions otherwise are typically perfect.  Warm days and mild evening temperatures make the Jemez Mountains the perfect place to celebrate the 4th.  And, if you’ve never experienced a fireworks display from behind the scenes, click on the link below to watch this 8 minute video from the 2010 celebration.  It’s a great showing of the fire fighters that actually orchestrate the show at dark.  If you listen closely, you can hear Independence Day music, the echo of the fireworks report on the canyon walls and the crowds cheering!  Goosebumps included.


The parade starts at 10:00a.m. so get their early!  Bring a lawn chair, some soda pop and settle in for a great time.  Then, visit the arts and craft booths and other events at the park.  Maybe take in some lunch at one of the local restaurants or go fishing until dusk.   Make this an annual occasion!  And don’t forget to book your room with Elk Mountain Lodge for next year’s events!  Call us at 575-829-3159 or visit:  elkmtnlodge.com

Happy Independence Day!

A Jemez New Mexico Kind of Day

The following post is by a friend of ours at Elk Mountain Lodge, NM.  His name is Chris Parker and he recently came up to the Jemez Mountains for a day of fishing.  He has a great writing style and he has allowed us to share it with you.


I’ve been driving around with my fishing gear in the back of the car for a couple of weeks. I was ready to jump, I had been just too busy to go. Then my son asked why are you driving around with your fishing stuff Dad, why indeed?

I woke up at 5:20am, 2 hours later than usual. Why indeed? Friday the 13th? Let’s go fishing. I found my fishing water bottle, filled it with ice and water and I was out the door by 7:30 am. I stopped by Taco Cabana and got an egg and chorizo soft taco and a barbacoa soft taco and 2 tortillas, hot off the grill. Got my salsas, napkins, etc. and headed for Jemez Springs.

All that traffic heading into Albuquerque to go to work and me going the opposite way, with no traffic, to go fishing, this felt good. With Rio Rancho disappearing in the rear view mirror you could just feel the city and the past week, beginning to melt away.

Following the route of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, Zia Pueblo on the horizon. As I turned off the highway to Cuba, I spied a hitchhiker at the side of the road as I entered San Isidro. He was going to Jemez Pueblo (Walatowa) to work on his field. Someone was going to disc it about 4 inches today. He was going to plant mostly chili and some corn, squash and melons. He asked me where my favorite holes were to be found and after I told him he asked, “ have you ever tried the river behind Hummingbird Music Camp?” No, well you go to the office and sign in, you should try at the bridge, there’s some good holes there.” So I pulled into HMC.

I saw an older woman walking to the mess hall, I stopped her and asked if I could fish on their river? After some banter she revealed that she was the widow of the man that founded the place, Wanda Higgins, 91 years old. “You came just in time, I just sent off 120 kids that were here.” I had the whole place to my self… She directed me to a beaver pond that had been stocked on Tuesday. Between 9:00am and 10:30am I caught 19 trout!!!  I released all but 5 and gave those to Mrs. Higgins. We reminisced for a while about people we knew from the past, George Fishbeck, Patti Pierson, Terry Stright, etc. 91 years old, with a bounce in her step and a mind sharp as a tack.

So, I went to the Elk Mountain Lodge B&B to have lunch with my buddy Terry Stright. Not being hungry yet, we went to fish the river across the street from the lodge. I caught 6 more fish! I kept 3 for dinner.

I bought some piñons that were roasted and salted just right. I love these kinds of days!