Team USA – New Mexico Qualifier – Mundo Lake and Stone Lake

Front Range Anglers Employees Randy Hanner (Team USA) and Russell Miller (Team Coloardo) after a first and second place finish on Mundo Lake.

This past weekend there was a regional Loch style qualifier for Team USA Fly Fishing down in Dulce, NM.  The quiet reservation was taken over by 24 anglers from around the country to test their skills on Stone Lake and Mundo Lake.  For those of you who have not been down to these lakes, understand that Stone Lake can be very difficult.  The fish are not stocked big, but their summer growth rates are close to 2 inches a month!  So these fish can be picky, difficult, and massive.  The rewards of good angling pay off in pounds.   Mundo Lake is a put and take fishery with stocked fish up to 18 inches.  Good action, but the fish are not near the quality of Stone.
On Stone lake the fish seemed to be keyed in to small damsel patterns with very little flash tied into them.  The takes seemed to be on the hang or on the rise every time.  So it was critical to have a fly that would get under your line so as you retrieved the fly it makes a sharp turn just over top of the weed beds.  This action is what you needed to focous on to do well at Stone.  Anglers who dialed in on where the fish were and the correct flies had success at rates of up to one fish per hour.  Other did not fair so well and failed to even hook a fish in three hours.  Big fish were 21 inches and thick as a football.
Will Shaw getting another fish in the net on his way to a session win on Stone Lake.
Mundo Lake on the first day was fun.  Numbers of fish were high with the winner catching 25 fish that were up to 15 inches in length.  Fish would chase small streamer patterns in a variety of colors but black, olive, and white seemed to be preferred. Once you cast out you had to start to strip immediately to catch up to your flies because a trout could hit at any moment.  Then once the flies got close to the boat it was critical that you got a good hang.  The hang is the time when the bugs or streamers start to get pulled up through the water column vertically.  This technique was deadly at Mundo Lake and lakes around the globe.  
Fat as a football and as healthy as a horse.
Overall the competition was very good.  It tested competitors on many different levels and some beautiful trout got landed in the process.  Norm went above and beyond to make this event memorable and fun.  Kevin Terry the fishery biologist and Jicarilla Game & Fish have done a great job making these lakes very special and great places to get bent. 
Here are the final results from the comp.

Name Placing Points
1 Brian Capsay 6
2 Anthony Naranja 9
3 Devin Olsen 10
4 JP Martinez 10
5 Rob Kolanda 10
6 Randy Hanner 11
7 Kurt Finlayson 11
8 Russel Miller 12
9 Jimmy Smith 12
10 Josh Graffam 12
11 Norman Maktima 13
12 Josh Curtis 13
13 Glade Gunther 14
14 Jim Hickey 15
15 Will Shaw 17
16 Jeremy Sides 17
17 Jay Alipit 18
18 Laramie Smith 20
19 Isaac Dean 21
20 Chris Galvan 21
21 Chris Lee 22
22 Allen Bole 22
23 Dan Seitz 23
24 Jerome Gallegos 23
See you out there at the next qualifier in Basalt, CO.