Someone Helped Save the Chama

This was an email sent to me by Toner Mitchell – He works at the Reel Life in ABQ.  This is awesome.

BTW… about 10 years ago a buddy and I were fishing the Chama and I swear I saw the biggest brown of my life… He rose to a BAT that was flying just about the water line.. I swear it was at least as 15 lbs…..  That is my story and I am sticking to it


By March 5, the Bureau of Reclamation had run out of water to run from El Vado to Abiquiu and had to drop the flow to 150 cfs. From there, they were expecting to drop it further, potentially to 50 cfs, which would have endangered a great number of brown trout fry or alevins that DGF has said are on the verge of emerging from spawning gravels. This week, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority decided to move some of their San Juan Chama water from El Vado to Abiquiu, effectively improving the odds of the juvenile browns surviving.

This is huge. For all the griping we do about people fishing over spawning fish and harvesting lunker browns, perhaps the greatest threat to the Chama brown trout fishery is the dewatering of active redds due to the agencies simply running out of options. Earlier this winter, BOR dug up some SJ Chama water to release from Heron, ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF OUR FISH, and here ABCWUA is doing their part to help in what promises to be a crappy water year. Perhaps we’ve all just been talking to one another, but it’s still more than any of us might have expected.
I think it would go a long way toward maintaining this spirit of cooperation if we all contacted John Stomp of ABCWUA – – to express our appreciation for going beyond the call for us. Please copy his supervisor, Mark Sanchez, at so that he too knows we appreciate them working on our behalf. It’s as simple as “As a member of Trout Unlimited (or “fisherman” or “sportsman”), I thank you for your efforts, etc.”
There will be similar water issues on all the tailwaters we fish, – the San Juan, Abiquiu, Conejos, Cimarron, and Costilla – especially in these dry times, so every tiny bit of good will we can create with fellow stakeholders will help us maintain and hopefully improve these fisheries. So please contact John at your earliest convenience.
I am going to post this same message on the Truchas Chapter Facebook page. Please go there and share the post; one doesn’t have to be a TU member to appreciate the value of this moment. But it’s important to get the message out.