Miwako Kato laughed nervously as she began to lose her struggle against the current of the San Juan River. At 5’3”, 100 pounds, armpits deep in the icy, fast-moving river, Miwako would soon be in real trouble.
We moved to the North Valley in my single-digit years. My first week there, I tentatively explored the neighborhood, which looked so strange to me with its lack of sidewalks and surplus of green. I wanted to find some kids to hang out with. I found the ditch system instead.
The simplest place to fish in the city is, of course, Tingley Beach, a newly renovated recreation area consisting of three fishing ponds stocked with rainbow trout and catfish. This is the wrong destination if you want to get away from it all, especially on weekends when it's packed to the gills (heh, heh) with families. That said, it's definitely a great place to bring the kids. Once the new trees grow a bit bigger, it'll be even nicer. It's got a café and a miniature train that connects up with the zoo, the aquarium and the botanic garden. I'm told that fishing clinics are frequently offered there and volunteers circulate around the park to answer fishing questions. New Mexico Fish and Game agents are supposedly out in force, too, so make sure you have a license. Entrance is free. Tingley Beach is located just east of the river on Tingley Drive, south of Central. For more information, go to www.cabq.gov/biopark/tingley.
Unless you're under the age of 12, you’ll need a license if you're going to fish in New Mexico. You can pick one up at numerous outdoors and general stores around town. A license will allow you to fish from April 1 through March 31 of the following year. If you don’t have a valid license, and you’re caught, the penalty is $110 per rod. For details, call 222-4700 or go to www.wildife.state.nm.us.
La Llorona isn't the only monster you have to worry about if you plan to spend time loitering along Albuquerque's ditches. For years, I'd heard rumors of catfish lurking in those waters the length of full-grown men, with gaping, toothy maws 18-inches across, capable of swallowing small children whole, or chewing off an adult's leg.
Albuquerque's ditches can be deadly, as you'll learn when you go to this cautionary website: www.ditchesaredeadly.com. If you plan to fish in our city's ditches, use common sense and never swim in them.