Although the river water was ideal in temperature and clarity for trout, fisheries biologist Marc Wethington, with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, knew that more had to be done to improve the fish habitat in the below-dam reaches. He also knew that fixing the river would take some very dedicated, conservation-minded partners, so he approached John Hansen, wildlife biologist with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Together, they began involving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the New Mexico State Environmental Agency, local members of the Navajo Nation, and the community at large. They knew, too, it was going to take a lot more money than either had in their budgets. So they began approaching environmentally concerned businesses and individuals in the area. According to Hansen, “It was really neat to see how both companies and individuals began to step up to the plate. Companies such as Adobe Contractors, Golden Equipment Co., Volvo Construction Equipment, local tribes, fishing clubs, guide and fly shops, oil and gas companies. Everyone, big and small. It was very encouraging.”
I’ve spent at least thirty days of my life on that river, and must say that while improvement might be hard to come by (being that it is so damn good to begin with), getting such a fine cadre of folks together to work on enhancement proves what an important fishery it really is.
If you (like I) ever wondered how big pocket-water-creating boulders wound up in the middle of medaled trout water (when there was no rocky cliff in sight that might have held said boulder prior), well now you know – someone is looking out for you AND Mr. Fish!
Never been to the San Juan? Well here’s some enticement for planning a trip – some fun (and somewhat astounding) fishery facts.
(h/t to Moldy Chum)