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In Santa Fe, ‘fish find freedom, flee fishing fest’ after rainstorm

Santa Fe City Councilor Ron Trujillo dumps a netload of rainbow trout into the Santa Fe River near the State Land Office Friday morning to stock the river for the Kids’ Fishing Derby that had been scheduled for Saturday morning, June 3. But a rainstorm later in the day washed the fish downstream and derby was called off. (EDDIE MOORE/JOURNAL)

SANTA FE, N.M. — Santa Fe’s annual Kids’ Fishing Derby scheduled for Saturday morning (June 3) is a washout.

Friday morning, City Councilor Ron Trujillo and others released about 500 state Department of Game and Fish rainbow trout into the river downtown for the free fishing event.

But city officials announced later via Twitter that Friday afternoon’s thunderstorm over the Santa Fe area had created a “storm surge” in the river that broke through temporary dams intended to hold the fish in the derby area, along the Santa Fe River Park downtown from Don Gaspar Avenue upstream to the Old Santa Fe Trail.

The fish were released downstream by the high waters. “Fish Find Freedom, Flee Fishing Fest…,” tweeted city spokesman Matt Ross.

Another tweet said the city Water Division planned to increase flows in the river, which is fed by reservoirs uphill from Canyon Road, “to support easier movement of fish downriver.”

The riverbed is often dry and the fish would have to travel miles to reach the Rio Grande west of town, or possibly the effluent issued into the river by the city wastewater treatment plant off Airport Road in south Santa Fe.

Ross tweeted that an effort would be made to reschedule the popular fishing derby.