Start of Summer 2019 well, sorta...
Happiest first days of Summer from Sacred Waters CO, Inc. & Charity Foundation in the land of Polar
Opposites. It's officially the Summer Solstice but here in the Rocky Mountains of Pagosa Springs,
Colorado and it's still snowing in the mountains and pouring sheets of rain as I type this...
Over the last few months I have been analyzing snowpack, short-term and long-term weather forecasts,
stream flows trying to figure out and predict future fishing conditions, hatches, etc. here at Sacred
Waters CO in around Southwest Colorado it's been a little tougher than usual to say the least. Continually putting off
writing to get the best prediction/forecast out for you. Any real good fishing in the next 2 weeks would
be at very best-case scenario. My original prediction was July 15-20 timeframe of the San Juan getting
under 1000 cfs and clear enough to be fishable, depending on how much more rain and snow we may get
from the peak out of 4030cfs a few weeks ago as my standard baseline. With this following suit in our
other local fisheries. But I never officially published any of my thoughts cause of the forecasts of more
rain & snow since it peaked till present, most didn't accumulate too much moisture till the last few days
now it has rained & snowed a lot more so need to recalculate my math some more too. There was a
period of time I thought I could of been inaccurate of runoff calming down sooner than originally
predicted because of the rain forecasts if temps would of stayed hot (normal) the rain could/would of
burnt off the snow a lot faster but with most all these storms being from cold fronts it continues to snow
up high instead of rain and cold days & nights just keep slowing down the melt not accelerating it.
But, we finally are getting to more true average weather, Summer type conditions with similar throughout the next two weeks so hopefully this is our last big push of runoff water and we'll be fishing soon enough...
*PLEASE keep an eye out for more updated fishing and weather conditions soon and much more
Assuming most should know by now last year 2018 we had experienced one of the worst droughts and
wildfire seasons in recorded history. Now this year 2019, we have experienced one of the larger
snowpack and higher water years in a long long time.
Throughout most of 2018 those of you who follow Sacred Waters CO social media pages, websites,
receive our newsletter emails and/or from personal conversations. You may recall me predicting these
events we have and are experiencing. The optimistic outlook I have also mentioned multiple times in the
last 10 years or more on the standards of nature has its ways, survival of the fittest, and the nature of
weather. Based on the cyclical nature of our historic weather patterns, these kinds of droughts, wildfire
years through recorded history go on about 12-18-year cycles. My theory is this stuff has happened
most likely since we entered this age even before accurate recorded history. Most of us know these
forests have burnt for thousands of years and need to do so to be healthy. We know as well the USFS
admit they mismanaged wildfire for most of their existence till recently. My theory is Nature has its
ways whether we like it or not. Yes, our wildfires are more intense and do more damage than good due
to 75+ years of wildfire & forest mismanagement but I’m just considering recent state of affairs as a
cleanse and yes, the recovery time will take longer in some areas. The purge or cleanse of these
wildfires, and drought conditions killing off some flora & fauna can also be viewed as a survival of the
fittest and the strong will survive is just another step forward in the current evolution of our flora &
fauna. As our plants and animals are thinned out by wildfire, lack of food & water, the strong will survive
and eventually thrive creating healthier, smarter, stronger class of genes in our fauna & flora in the long
run. Another light at the end of the tunnel is historically speaking and if history repeats itself after a few
years of severe drought we usually have 2-3 years of above average precipitation and cooler than
average temperatures as we are experiencing currently, then leveling off to right around average plus or
minus just a little for another 6-8yrs.
Nature always finds a way and the strong will survive.
So, on that note here at Sacred Waters CO we survived are into our third year with much optimism new
exciting changes, and projects in the works with a lot of new more diverse board, guides, donors, & waters.
First off, THANK YOU Donors!!!
Sticking to Sacred Waters C.A.R.E. Mission we had Advocated and Educated Conservation and
Rehabilitation as much as possible through the last 3 years. I can’t easily breakdown each of our CARE
Mission Pillars of Conservation, Advocacy, Rehabilitation, & Education because they all do tend to go
hand and hand while overlapping greatly. But below are some accomplishments of our Mission so far
over the last 3 years and many are always ongoing hopefully well into the future.
With some extra monies too since we had to cancel some events due to the drought of 2018 we were
able to give monetary donations to other conservation & veterans based nonprofits such as Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, National Veterans Hockey League, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, and Patriot Anglers of N. TX & S. OK
We have also started an Interest growing savings account in 2018. A Tax-Deductible Conservation Fund
from Guest Fees and Donations that can carry over unlike most Non-profit Accounts to build a fund for
future Conservation Efforts Only.
Fortunately, we did get in a rescheduled Patriot Anglers Disabled Combat Veterans Charity Event here from Oct.
21st-27th 2018 that was a Great Success! To see photos from that event they were posted on Sacred
Waters CO Facebook & Instagram Social Media Accounts and in attached photos on this Blog Post above on
our websites. Somehow my last Blog Post of Nov. 2018 did not save or post.
As always, all our Charity Participates have all gone home with some Free Gifts from Sacred Waters CO
and a Partner / Pro Staff Fishing Companies ranging from anything from Free rods, reels, lines,
leader/tippet, tools/accessories, nets, flies, hats, t-shirts, and/or decals/stickers.
We cannot say enough thank you’s to our donors and donor members as should everyone who may fish
here locally or future members. We have accomplished a lot here in our Sacred Waters and it has not
only benefited our Ranches but has benefited our local fisheries public &/or private as a whole. Thank
you again, Sacred Waters Donors & Donor Members for making this all possible. So should anyone else
who is Not a Donor, Donor Member, Guest, Charity Participate, always remember well into the future as
you fish around here the quality of fishing be it on Sacred Waters Conservation Waters/Ranches or
waters affected by and influenced by our Conservation Waters/Ranches that these 2017 & 2018 Donors
& Donor Members made this possible. Sacred Waters CO will continue doing the best we can to save
what we can. But everything above or below our Conservation Waters we don’t have any control over.
On the bright side for many is fish don’t have boundaries so the fishes protected in all our waters will
help repopulate everything else that gets abused & destroyed every year. Unfortunately, this tends to
be our reality every Summer just a lot worse this last Summer of 2018 and now as I predicted we are
starting this recovery process. Thank you, thank you, thank you........
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” – John Lennon
We have a change of the guard going on this year with many New Board Members, Officers, and
Professional Anglers joining the Sacred Waters CO Team. Adding a much-needed diversity of
backgrounds, experiences, talents, &/or ideas to the organizations. You may have noticed this on our
websites About Us Pages and our social media pages, with more being added over the next few weeks
as the Board & Professional Angler Staff grows and changes through our next few board meetings.
We are now in our third year with a solid annual donor base for Donor Members and Charity Donors
keeping the lights on per se. Which has financed not only all our initial startup costs, everything we’ve
accomplished so far with our Mission Goals, and charity events. Even in one of the worst droughts ever
and now highest water/flood year in a long time. As always thank you all for being selfless and generous
understanding, supporting SWCO, our Mission, and seeing the bigger picture… But we are limited to only
15 High Level Donor Memberships (5 of each Level) and semi-limited/conditional availability on Bronze
Level Trips till we grow, and we can’t grow without you the New Donors and Members.
We had added a New Testimonials Page on both the SWCO Websites and had been shared also on our
Facebook Page. These pages don’t just warm our hearts with the wonderful words shared about Sacred
Waters CO and me personally but in turn will show many people who we truly are and what we
have/are accomplishing here. You will also see a Comment Submission Form on Page to add your own
We have been working on Grant Applications throughout this Spring to generate more funds for not
only to help provide more Charity Events in the future here. But as well as to finance bigger better
environmental, conservation projects we had planned on since day #1 of SWCO and have slowly been
able to work on as time and money have allowed. As mentioned last year major data collections of our
fish and aquatic insect populations and habitat evaluations by our Fisheries Biologist and two
Stream/Habitat specialists will be much easier to accomplish if we do receive some of this funding from
Grants. We originally planned on bi-annual evaluations and annual follow up work we put them off last
year because of the drought, so far could not do anything in 2019 because of the flooding, hopefully we
will be able to get back on track with this major long-term project starting this Summer or Fall.
We had just finally received a US Forest Service Permit for Guided Fishing trips in the San Juan National
Forest. This opens more locations and fishing opportunities from the continental divide of Wolf Creek
Pass to the East the whole way through the Pagosa District to the Piedra River drainage to the West.
These guided trips are available to ALL Donor Levels and will especially benefit the Bronze Level
(Daytrip) Donors/Clients and the public. We hope this too will not only help SWCO get more exposure to
the general public, up our revenue with monies outside of guide pay going to our growth and the
greater good of the SWCO Mission. Having so many more locations to choose from too will help us to
continue to spread out fishing pressure even more, have a choice of different waters to always have
options of the very best locations, in the best fishing conditions, and much greater variety of waters,
landscapes, fishes, &/or new adventures for our Donors, Clients, Charities, etc.… Much of the same or
better benefits as we explained in 2018 emails and blog posts about adding fishing to the Bronze Level. These guided trips will be priced the same as our Bronze Level Fees, with day-trips, overnight/multi day backpacking, or horseback available. Multi-day backpacking/hike-in & horseback fees based on location & number of days (please contact us for details & pricing).
The San Juan River Cutthroat Discovery. Recently Colorado Parks and Wildlife had discovered some
populations on a sub-species of Cutthroats unique to this region that had been thought to be extinct for
100+yrs. We had shared this information on our SWCO & Personal Social Media Pages. If you had not
seen or heard about it, we have attended meeting with CPW, USFS, & TU discussing these unique rare
fish, where they have been found so far, the steps and plans of cultivating stocks/populations of them,
and recovery projects to repopulate them. This is an amazing discovery and project, possibly the biggest
thing in fisheries science to or that may ever happen in our lives. We at SWCO had reached out in said
meetings to help however we can so in the future here (current scope of work on project is 6-year
process) so far. With this being said as thing move forward with this project, we may be soliciting you for
volunteer time, donations, etc.… to help SWCO, USFS & CPW to work on this project. The other exciting
news about this discovery and these rare unique fish is we have some of the locations they currently live
in and are planned to be repopulated in with of USFS Outfitting Permit so we can not only have a
possibility of catching these fish but also having these areas we can monitor these fish, shut down at
least guided fishing in these areas when conditions aren’t good for the fish and so forth. I could go on &
on for pages on all the details, plans, excitement but I’ll keep it short. Anyone wanting to learn more
though please feel free to contact me and I share what I know and find out in the future.
We are also opening lines of communication and putting feelers out with some new ranch owners in the
area. As well as revisiting with some other ranch owners on working out lease contracts to expand our
Conservation Waters/Ranches here locally.
The Year of the Float Trips… One of many good things to come out of this large snowpack and high-
water year is the extended Float/Boat Trip Season. We should see more fishable floating conditions
soon enough probably in the next week or two. Many of those who know about Mesa Canyon/Bass
Ranch Floats on the San Juan know it’s usually a really short season sometimes a few weeks, sometimes
only a few days and know it can be one of the Best Floats & Fishing Trips you can have in the entire
Country. The float trip season on the San Juan Proper usually ends by the first week of July at best most
years this year it may not even get started till then. This has always been a hard trip to schedule due to
its short somewhat unpredictable window. This year being forecasted to be a wetter than normal and
cooler than average Summer and with a high-water equivalent well above average deep snowpack it
may last for a long time this year. If interested in Float trips on the San Juan Proper this is the year, my
thoughts at present are we should have clearer water above town any day may be within the next week
and floatable & fishable conditions probably into the second week of July or so. Boat fishing below town
could start to be good by the second week of July or so and only get better till it gets too low to float
which may not be till August.
Charity Events on the Books so far for 2019:
At present we have 3 Veteran’s Charity Fishing Events already on schedule for 2019.
The Dark Horse Group, 5-6 Combat Marines who were the frontline in Fallujah, Iraq. These Marines are
from all over the country and not any kind of nonprofit group scheduled for Sept. 5 th -9 th 2019. (with this
group any volunteers &/or donations of housing options, cooking/food, &/or money to help with travel
expenses would be greatly appreciated and please feel free to contact me to discuss details, make
donations, or to volunteer. Thank You)
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Group of Fort Hood, TX. 6 Veterans Scheduled for Sept. 18 th -23 rd ,
2019. (PHWFF is a national nonprofit group we have worked with for 5-6 yrs. Prior to and after starting
SWCO with chapters hosted from Dallas, Ft. Hood, & Colorado Springs over the years.) Of course, any
volunteers and/or donations are welcome and appreciated housing is already booked, but monetary,
fishing gear, and/or food/cooks always welcome and helpful.
Patriot Anglers of N. TX & S. OK 6-8 Disabled Combat Veterans scheduled for Oct. 21 st -25 th , 2019. This
group is a nonprofit of disabled combat veterans from all around Northern Texas and Southern
Oklahoma. We had worked with this group since their start as a PHWFF Chapter before branching out
into their own new, different program and group in 2016 hosting them on trips here at SWCO in 2017,
2018, as well as joining them in Texas, Oklahoma, other locals in Colorado for events, fundraisers and
such. (Of course, any volunteers and/or donations are welcome and appreciated housing is already
booked, cooks & food already taken care of but monetary, or fishing gear always welcome and helpful.)
With some of our recent changes here within and out of our control we have stopped operations on some of the
Pine/Los Pinos Tailwater Conservation Ranches/Waters for the moment. This river had been underutilized the last two years due to it overall mismanagement of water flows and tough fishing conditions. Not being favored by our Donor
Members and Charity participates. With one ranch owner going through a divorce and both our leased
ranches recently going up for sale recently we could not work out a good plan for this season and not all
that big of a loss considering all the factors. Most of you have heard me express my love for this fisheries
and opinion of it being 1 of the best big trout waters in the country which I still believe and can be even
better with actual proper management. We will revisit the ideas of leasing or purchasing some
waters/ranches on this river in the future as we grow, but at this point in time we just are not big
enough or have a large enough budget to influence Pine River Irrigation District to properly manage this
rivers flows to benefit the fishery &/or anglers nor can be benefit ranch owners financially speaking if
people can’t get enough good fishing condition windows on these ranches. And at this point and with
our current donor base its unfavorable compared to our other waters/ranches.
We do still have the same amount of Private Conservation Waters/Ranches as we did our First year of
2017, technically more than last year 2018 because we had to shut most of them down prior to and
after the main busy fishing times because of the drought, and in 2019 with all the New National Forest
Waters on our new permit of 100+ miles of water and not having to worry about shutting down to fishing due to
waters/ranches getting too low, hot, lethal and unethical to fish this year we actually have the most
water ever available here at Sacred Waters CO.
With some ongoing contract/lease negotiations it may be even more soon enough too.
New or Renewing Donor Memberships:
Donation amounts for 2017 Charter Donors are set for Life at the discounted rate if renewed Annually as
discussed annually and in your emails & member agreements/contracts packet that were mailed out with your
2017 Charter Donors that have not renewed annually you will not get the 2017 discounts in the future.
For New/1st Time 2018 or 2019 Donors/Members their rate will be set for 3 years at discounted rates
listed below benefiting them to renew Annually if we ever must raise the rates in the future.
“The future depends on what you do today.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Discounted Rates for 2019:
Rates for New Donor Levels for 2019:
Bronze Level: Was $150.00. Now Only: $100.00, Applicable Guide Fees Apply and less (-) $25.00 on total
Guide Fee on Bronze Level Donor Trips for all your trips in 2019 up to December 31st of 2019.
Silver Level: Was $3500.00. Now Only: $3400.00, Less (-) $25.00 off for Guest Guide Fees for all trips in
Gold Level: Was $5500.00. Now Only: $5200.00, Less (-) $25.00 off for Guest/s Guide Fees per person
per trip for all Trips in 2019.
Platinum/Corporate Level: Was $10,000.00. Now Only: $9500.00. Less (-) $25.00 off for Guest/s Guide
Fees per person per trip for all of 2019.
Much more Details or to become a Donor Member please review SWCO Donor Contract, Rules,
Regulations, and Procedures Booklet by Clicking this link or visiting our Join Us / Donate Pages.
*Please keep in mind if you do donate in 2019 this will also be your membership renewal level for up
to 3 years if you consecutively renewed annually. *
(*After January 1st of 2020 all Donor Member Level Packages will go back up to Original Pricing, Guest/s
Fees will also return to original pricing, and all level prices are subject to increase as we expand through
the future. *)
Please review the FB & IG Social Media Pages and our Websites. I hope it can help show you all more
easily and clearly the Efforts and Accomplishments SWCO has put forth with your and other donors’
generous donations. These Social Media Pages are updated with the most up to date need to know
information almost daily.
If you want to get some of the best fishing anywhere in 100 miles of Pagosa Springs, CO in the future
here. Donate Today and help us protect our local fisheries and provide the healing benefits of outdoor
therapy to as many people as possible. We can't really predict or control/change the weather, but we
can provide the best fishing at the best times and protect our waters and fishes at the worst times. But
we can only accomplish this with your generous donations.
Last but Not Least! We did get a few scouting runs in on our local waters in the strange somewhat of a Spring we had. This year has been weird to say the least going from Winter to Summer, to Winter, to Summer, to Winter, to Finally actual Summer. The fishing windows were very few and far between from Ice Out to Present but we at least got in a few Guide Days/Scouting Trips to evaluate how the fishes survived the Winter. It's looking to be a Great Season for 2019! (A few photo samples here below...)
Thank You, Tight Lines;
Founder, President of Sacred Waters Co
Professional Angler, Custom Fly Tyer/Designer
Freelance Outdoors Writer, Photographer, & Fisheries Consultant
Sacred Waters CO
135 Country Center Dr F 166
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
Sacred Waters Facebook
(* Sacred Waters CO, Inc. and Sacred Waters CO Foundation are Equal Opportunity Employers and Service Providers working through Special Use Permits from USDA San Juan National Forest Pagosa District and the State of Colorado. Licensed/Permitted, Bonded & Insured Outfitter in Colorado #OUT.0003217 * )
Our President Joseph Eichelberger, with 20 years of guiding experience and a long family heritage of responsible outdoorsmanship, brings a unique perspective to our blog as he promotes fishing conservation and education in Pagosa Springs, CO where he's lived since 2008.