The Pecos Youth Fly Fishing Education Program is sponsored by the Friends of the Pecos National Historical Park and funded by the New Mexico Economic Development Department – Outdoor Recreation Division Outdoor Equity Grant. The program is intended to provide outdoor recreational access to New Mexico youth. This program will provide full coverage of fly fishing to give the beginning fly fishing student a thorough enough knowledge that will lead them to be independent, environmentally conscious fly fishers and stewards of our natural resources.
The primary aspects of fly fishing that the program will cover are:
- Development of fly-casting skills that will enable the new fly fisher to cast flies in most fishing situations.
- Development of the natural, stream and aquatic environment to understand trout, aquatic insects and river ecology;
- Learn the skill of fly tying which will complement the understanding of aquatic insects, and provide a means of improving fly fishing skills and an activity that can be done during months that fly fishing is not generally available (winter);
- Develop and understanding a practice of river stewardship, conservation and etiquette.
Fly casting – The program will offer three group fly casting lessons that will progressively build on previous lessons. These lessons will be conducted at the Pecos School football field. Additionally, whenever there is an on-the-water fly fishing outing, specific fly-casting techniques that apply to the specific setting, will be taught.
Fly tying – The program will offer at least three basic fly-tying sessions that will help the student develop skills to tie their own flies when they become fly fishers. These sessions will incorporate an understanding of aquatic insects and their life cycle.
Rigging for Trout fishing – Developing an understanding of fly fishing equipment and the rigging of terminal tackle to imitate aquatic insects in critical for a fly fisher to be successful. Rigging will include the learning of each of the tools of fly fishing, including rod, reel, fly line, leaders and the necessary knot tying skills to put it all together. Various sessions will be solely focused on these subjects and skills development.
Aquatic insects and wildlife in the riverine environment – Success as a fly fisherman is dependent on a good understanding aquatic wildlife and insects. We seek to catch trout with an artificial imitation of their food – aquatic insects. The program will give the student a science-lite, working understanding of both, with the emphasis on fly fishing. Proper handling of trout while fishing with an emphasis on preserving healthy fish will be taught. Students will learn the proper etiquette that fishermen must show toward each other to ensure a good experience for everyone on the water. The program will help the student develop an appreciation for the importance of a healthy natural environment to supporting healthy fisheries. This comes in the form of knowing what the human impact, both locally and globally have on the health of a stream and its surrounding environment. The Pecos River has many examples of poor and excellent stewardship. The program will expose the students to both, and will give them a first hand opportunity to have an impact on the stream the flows through their village.