New Book Highlights Sport Fishing in the Upper Rio Laja Watershed

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By Mark Hill

Many people may not be aware that the presas in the upper Rio Laja watershed provide some quality sport fishing opportunities. Anglers can catch black bass, tilapia, bluegill, catfish, and crappie in many presas and ponds within easy driving distance of San Miguel de Allende.

A new book, A Guide to Sport Fishing in the Upper Rio Laja by Mark Hill and Don Patterson, examines a dozen presas and ponds. The book provides clear maps and directions to each of the fishing sites, photos, and descriptions of the fishery and ecology of each presa and the surrounding area; it even gives tips on how to fish and what bait and lures to use.

The authors have been involved in the Rio Laja watershed for many years. Mark Hill as Director of the Ecosystem Sciences Foundation and Don Patterson as Director of Ecology for the municipality. They developed the first water sampling laboratory and groundwater data collection system, urban ecology plans, watershed mapping, rainwater capture and storage techniques, and many other projects that set the stage for further restoration throughout the watershed. Most recently the authors completed a postsecondary training course for watershed technicians.

In addition to watershed ecology, Hill and Patterson share a passion for sport fishing. Although angling is not new to Mexico or the Rio Laja watershed, there is very little information about where to fish and what to fish for. The Upper Rio Laja watershed, the higher elevation areas and headwaters for the river, are dotted with reservoirs or presas. Over time the state fisheries agency has stocked non-native fish species in many of these presas to encourage sport fishing. In many cases introduction of black bass, tilapia, and bluegill has been very successful.

Throughout their years of work in the watershed, Hill and Patterson began to recognize what little is known about the sport fishing opportunities in the Rio Laja. They also recognized that a sport fishing industry might be an economic opportunity for the communities in the boundaries of the presas. Consequently, they resolved to write a guide that would give anglers (both tourists and residents) enough information to “go fishing” in the Rio Laja watershed.

Hill and Patterson are working with the Guanajuato Institute of Ecology and fishing clubs to improve sport fishing throughout the watershed through habitat enhancement. Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to fishing clubs and ejidos for habitat restoration projects.

Even if you are not an avid angler, the book illustrates some very beautiful areas of this part of Mexico rarely seen by visitors and residents. Many of these presas are remarkable for their unique ecological settings and biological diversity where one can picnic, bike ride, hike, and photograph a variety of bird life.

For more information contact Don Patterson at 152 2604 or donaldopatterson@gmail.com

 

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