Trucha de México?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Teenage Entomologist, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Fly fishing high Mexican desert sounds like a very rattlesnakey time. Also sounds like a fun winter getaway for anyone with the cojones to do it. I'll stick with Eastern WA and the Bitterroot, and maybe New Mexico one day.
  2. Yeah, I'd pass on tramping around in the hills South of the border. Food for thought though.
  3. Actually, yes.

    The website that Joe T maintains is the best source of info out there on these fish. Supposedly some of the areas are safe, or at least as safe as they were back in the early and mid-2000s. They're not all tiny -- we got fish to a bit over 18", and I saw a gargantuan fish in a deep canyon in the [mumble, mumble, mumble] drainage. Many pops have the basihyal slash of cutts, but genetically they're more closely related to rainbows.

    That Conchos fish is a weird one. I may have gotten the first specimen ever on a fly (though a colleague wormed one up the day before).

    The Raramuri have been fishing them for ages, not always with hook and line -- if there was a big boulder in a pool, there would almost invariably be a big log next to it. We blew them off as just being flood-borne debris until a local kid (our guide for the day!) ran ahead of us to a pool, stuck the log under it and rocked the boulder. A trout and two mountain suckers floated out from under it, partially stunned.

    There's some very pretty water up in them hills, but also some crazy bad roads, bridges that were held together with baling wire, and a lot of... umm, interesting people.
  4. That makes me want to go there all the more.
  5. My Dad did stream surveys in the Central & Northern Mexican Sierra Madre Occidental in the 1930's. Caught some trout, all small. He talked more of the Turkey, deer and waterfowl hunting.
  6. That would have been a neat time to be kicking around that area, what with imperial woodpeckers and all sorts of other cool critters still around. That predated Needham's expeditions into the region by a bit... if you have any additional info on the specific areas he visited, I'd be very interested--particularly if it included anything south of the Rio Acaponeta!
  7. Who wants to plan a trip?
    constructeur likes this.
  8. I'm lacking details, dad passed away in 1986. I know he spent several years int the areas shown on this map:
    I believe he was HQ'd between Durango (Parral, specifically) and Chihuahua and would take a team of a couple Mexicans into the sierra for 3 weeks a month, come back to town and report/resupply. Said it was the best job he ever had. Met some very interesting folk, including descendants of Confederate soldiers who fled to Mexico rather than live under "Yankee" rule. GAE_1932.jpg

    My Dad, Circa 1932
    I remember seeing huge flocks of Parrots (Macaw?) nesting in trees, was told they flew up from coastal lowlands to escape the heat. Also some large woodpeckers, may have been imperials, but can't be sure.
    Who are the Raramuri? Indigenous people? My father got to know some of the Tahrahumara(sp?) and other (Mixtex); very interesting with different language and dialects. His father was doing the same thing further south, between Irapuato and Durango in 1908-1920 +/-, so they very likely were familiar with the area south of the Acaponeta. I know a reservoir/generating powerplant my grandfather built west of Morelia is still on-line, with one of the two original turbines he installed in 1910 still operating.
    He did speak of trout, but was more focused on bass in the reservoirs they built and especially the waterfowling, which was outstanding.
    I'd be very cautious about going there now, with the narco element and so forth, without very good local knowledge. It's rough country even without that element.
    Lovely pictures, ptychocheilus, how recently were you there?
  9. Alas, some of the streams are in pretty remote areas used by some pretty awful people. But the risk of getting your head chopped off, is a bit thrilling, no?
  10. This is some very interesting stuff.
  11. Sorry to hear that. That's a fantastic photo! There are still some thick-billed parrots around, but probably nothing like what you saw. The big honking Imperial woodpeckers are likely long gone.

    I did three trips between 2004-2006 with the Truchas Mexicanas group and then headed off for a post-doc elsewhere. We covered quite a bit of ground during that time. Our group continued working down there until 2008, when the region got substantially more unsafe. We heard rumors of trout south of the Acaponeta, but you start to get into really dangerous country around that point. We'd been told that everything south of the Durango-Mazatlan Highway was super sketchy. We tried to keep to the highest elevations, mostly because that's where the trout were, and also because there was less narco activity. We still ran into police, military, and local roadblocks, even WAY out in the sticks, and had more than a few close calls. It's not something I'd try to do by yourself unless you know somebody from the region that you're willing to trust with your life.

    The Raramuri are what the Tarahumara call themselves; it's my understanding that the term Tarahumara was invented by the Mexican government and caught on.

    Here's a couple more photos.



    Not all of the trout water is tiny… this is the mainstem Rio Yaqui.

    We had to do a major detour because we were too chicken to drive over this bridge, and we'd had enough rain that the ford was a bit iffy.

    Lots of rewards, though.

    I miss working down there.
  12. I love the high desert. México has some major problems, but hopefully they aren't in too deep to get out. Water is a problem for México, due to high population and México is a desert. Like the creeks here in California, in the summer, farmers drain the parts of the creeks that are in the Central Valley, but the part of the creek in higher elevation stays the same and has good, constant flows all year. So if that's true in México, the redband's habitat shouldn't be tampered with that much.
  13. Nice! I've been over some bridges similar to the one pictured :). Went up to a friend's grandfather's ranch and had to ford a river where water was coming in the doors; old pugeot never failed. We were about 8 years old and got left there in care of the foreman for two weeks or so; it was heaven, rode horses, had rifles (.22) and swam in creeks that carried 100+ CFS by my hazy memories. I'm sure there were trout in them, as they were plenty cold. I do remember a friend of my Dad's spent a lot of time looking for some of the famous lost gold & silver mines Frank Dobie wrote about. One particular one some Indian showed him a steep and rugged canyon with a huge slide that he said was caused when Indians revolted and dynamited the entrance, reasoning if they couldn't access it the Spaniards would leave. Sounds logical to me; Mexico was (is) rich in silver/gold.In the 1940's & 50's it didn't have any road access as it does today, nor helicopters, etc.
    ptychocheilus likes this.
  14. TE, you're somewhat right. They've held on this long because the area is remote, extremely rugged, and has folks that aren't always friendly to outsiders. There's a lot of illegal logging going on (Hop on Google Earth and check out the area around the town of Creel...) and increasing levels of harvest in many areas. One fishing technique among some of the non-Raramuri locals involves bleach. There are several government-sponsored trout hatcheries that have planted rainbow trout on top of several of the native populations, with varying degrees of hybridization and introgression. These represent the southernmost natural trout populations in North America and are strongly temperature-restricted; their available habitat only continues to shrink, and warming temperatures allow pot growers to use some of the newly-cleared areas at higher and higher elevations, with all of the associated increases in water withdrawals, pesticide and fertilizer-laden runoff, and siltation from new road construction. I really hope that they (particularly some of the smaller populations) haven't disappeared since we were there last.
  15. North America has seen too many trout species disappear, and we need to do something about it.

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