NFR Questions about a few southwestern towns.

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by jessejames, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

    Now that the fly shop is closed and it will soon be in my rear view mirror we are SERIOUSLY thinking of moving out of the cold, snow and long cloudy/gloomy weather.
    We have researched a lot of areas with a few things in mind; 1. WEATHER We MUST have a lot of sun 250 days of sunshine minimum. We don't mind a little snow but little or no accumulation. Cold mornings are ok but warm sunny afternoons are mandatory. Summers can't be too hot we don't mind 90's in the mid-summer but long stretches in the 100's are out. 2. DEMOGRAPHICS, Small town/rural atmosphere but enough population to have clinics/hospital services and decent shopping without driving to "town" to shop. 3. RECREATION. I like to fish but am content to fish lakes and ponds as well as moving water. However also love to bicycle and would like to ride year around, hiking is also high on my list. 4. INTERESTING GEOGRAPHY, We really like to explore we would like to have some historical places, national parks, national forests, places to camp and hike.
    Here are a few we have winnowed out that meet most of the criteria above. Not in any order of preference.
    1. Farmington NM the San Juan river flows through it. Great road biking. Red rock and Ancient Indian ruins. Close to the four corners area, and just across the border from Durango CO. Too close to a big coal fired generating plant.

    2. Prescott AZ works for most of our criteria but not much fishing. In the foothills nearly 3800', closer to Phoenix and spring training baseball. Cool old historic downtown area. Probably the warmest winters but marginally hot summers.

    3. Grand Junction CO a little too much winter but The Gunnison is there and the Green right across the Colorado river. Probably the best fishing and mountain biking.

    4. Show Low AZ Neat litte spot 5500 ' elevation in the White Mountains lot of hiking, mountain biking fishing local lakes and streams even an active fly club. In the largest stand of Ponderosa Pine in the US. in AZ who would think it.

    What do you think?
    Any body have specific intel on any of these areas?
    How about another area that would meet our criteria. Some areas we avoided because of the cost of housing; like St George Ut, Scottsdale and a few others.
  2. Steve Vaughn

    Steve Vaughn Member

    You may be looking too far afield. You just described the Tri-Cities, WA.

  3. Kevin J. Burnham

    Kevin J. Burnham Active Member

    St.George Ut.,Reno/Tahoe,Boise,Redding/Red Bluff,Medford.
    JesseCFowl likes this.
  4. IveofIone

    IveofIone Active Member

    Walla Walla?
    Blake Harmon likes this.
  5. deansie

    deansie Member

    Having lived in CO for 7 years, here's my take on your Rocky Mountain selections (not much experience w/ AZ but what about Flagstaff);
    • Grand Junction: You could fish every day for the rest of your life on the Grand Mesa and not touch the same piece of water twice. The Gunny is not really too close (thinking Black Canyon) but some great fisheries in a 2 hour drive like the Roaring Fork Valley, White River and Animas. While on the Western Slope, its still the Rockies so the road biking is the best in the country. July and part of August will be 100* almost every day and the winters won't be as cold as you think. Town is ok and big enough not to be too bored plus Denver, SLC, Moab, Durango, Steamboat, Aspen, etc are all w/in a short drive.
    • Farmington: If you're going to move there, just move to Durango...great fishing, cycling, skiing and beer. If you move there you have to race the train to Silverton...
    Last point...check out Montrose, CO too. Good luck!!
    sean_k, BakerSean1 and JesseCFowl like this.
  6. Kcahill

    Kcahill Active Member

    I enjoyed myself there but I couldnt see living there, its a gas\oil boom town. 90% of the trucks on the road are white diesel pick ups with gas company logos. Fishing the San Juan is incredible though....

    If you want to head down there for a weekend though to check it out yell at me and I will split a guide for a couple days on the juan!

  7. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

    Jessee, you didn't mention it on your list, but being close to friends, family and fishing buddies would have enter into the criteria somewhere.
  8. Dan Page

    Dan Page Active Member

    I spent 15 yrs in central AZ--mostly out of Payson. Thought it was the most perfect weather-just as you described. There was (and maybe still is) some good fishing around. 4 to 7 thousand foot elevations do get cold in the winter, but still mostly sunny. Getting crowded there as well. Incredible geography in the Southwest for sure. Huge difference between Prescott and Show Low. I often think about the SW, but have finally learned to love the rain and man it would be hard to be so far from steelhead. Also some extreme droughts down there of late.
  9. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

    Dan my wifes sister lives in Payson and that is on the radar also. It seems like it is reight between Prescott and Show Low not just geographically but weather wise. She says that they get designer snow it looks pretty in the morning and is gone by noon. I like the looks of Show Low in the white mountains but there is more winter there according to the historical weather records. Haven't seen either place yet so the next step is this winter we will head to AZ in the travel trailer and check out all the likely spots. The AZ fish and game list several lakes and streams around Prescott have you ever fished there?
    Tri-cities WA can't do it the weather is ok except for the wind and the only scenery is sage brush.
    Walla Walla possibility almost moved there 10 years ago,
    keith Farmington doesnt sound right to me it is getting 86'd.
    Thanks for your responses
  10. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

    Montana. Some places(Dillon) get little or no snow. Lots of sun in the winter time but not much heat to it. Most rivers open year around, if they ain't iced over that is. No 100 degree days this year again. Stays about in the 80's from June to October.
  11. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

    Alamosa, Colorado.
  12. Travis Bille

    Travis Bille Active Member

    Aztec NM is a bit closer to Da Juan and it's a nice little town. You could also look east a little bit and go to Chama, which is small but really beautiful. I want to retire in Northern NM. Da Juan is the coolest river
  13. Lugan

    Lugan Joe Streamer

    I have family for 20 years in Avon, CO and I have spent a lot of time in the CO-NM-UT region fishing, mountain biking and skiing. I agree with "deansie" that instead of Farmington, just move to Durango. It is at a slightly higher altitude and consequently gets a little more winter than in northern NM, but it's a seriously cool town with more outdoor recreation than you could cover in ten lifetimes. Has proximity to the San Juan plus numerous streams big and small in CO and NM.

    I like Grand Junction too, but it's not as cool, and there is a little less fishing very close by versus Durango. Grand Junction does have the MTB trail network around Fruita plus other areas that are spectacular. It's also close enough to Moab UT that a day trip for a ride there is feasible. Likewise skiing and fishing east of there in the high CO mountains.

    IMO you can't lose with either one. I envy your choices, and more important, I'm happy to hear you're looking forward rather than backward!
  14. Dan Page

    Dan Page Active Member

    I did a LOT of hunting and fishing in AZ and into NM. Show Low does get more winter. I can give detailed information later on all the above if you're interested, but gotta run now.
  15. Jason Rolfe

    Jason Rolfe Wanderer

    I'd do Colorado if it was me. My dad lives on the front range (Loveland, CO). Maybe a little colder for you in the winter, but they still get something like 300 days of sunshine there. The mountains are in your backyard, there are amazing rivers pouring off all of them. Can't beat that.

    I'm pretty sure you could find an ideal spot like this just about anywhere in Colorado. Plus, if you smoke weed, you can now do so legally there! :D

  16. I think Deansie's suggestion of Montrose is worth looking into.

    I have a friend who lived for all his professional career in Maryland, but who wanted to retire in the west. He developed virtually the same list you have (close to small city with health care facilities and airport, good climate, near fly fishing). He and his wife spent several summers in the years before he retired visiting many places between New Mexico and Montana and ended up buying property in Montrose.

    My wife and I have been playing that game, too, as we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We lived for a few years in Boulder, CO, and, while I think Denver metro area (and including Boulder) is too crowded, the Fort Collins area is very appealing. But then, so is SW Montana, western CO, parts of Idaho, ... I don't think I would go as far south as AZ or NM for reasons having to do with future climate change.

  17. obiwankanobi

    obiwankanobi Active Member

    Being a Durango born native, I can vouch that it is a very fun and eclectic town. I still have family there today and enjoy returning to see what is new. I would not go here if you do not like the snow. I have pics of me as child standing on the roof of our house with the dogs since the snow level was so high. You would have to enjoy this if you lived there for any length of time.The upside is that you have many fishing opportunities.

    I also have family that live in Grand Junction and I would personally not move there. It is the Tri-Cities of Colorado and unfortunately has its share of mexican gang's. It was a great place to live 20 years ago.

    I will pitch this one for you......what about Montrose, Colorado? It gets its share of snow but not as much as Durango. My grandparents used to live there and I still have family that lives there now. It is your typical normal smaller town with low crime and numerous options for outdoor activities. They have a great and extensive bike trail that I enjoyed many times where the scenery around you consists of snow topped rocky mountains and fields of aspens and sagebrush. You have numerous stillwater destinations composed of mountain lakes and reservoirs. The Gunnison and Uncompahgre River are close and there nearby tailwater fisheries that are blue ribbon destinations. Since its close to Telluride, you see an occasional celeb and I remember seeing Tom Cruise park his lamborghini at a local grocery store.

    Make us all jealous and move to Bozeman, MT. If fly fishing heaven could fall to earth it would land here. You have the Big Horn, Boulder, Rock Creek, Stillwater, Yellowstone all the nearby spring creeks nearly at your doorstep. Head west and now you are at the park and have all that water open to you. If you hate the winter here, you could always head downtown to a local coffee shop, share a spliff with a local college student and read the newspaper.
  18. William Fifield

    William Fifield Santiago, no fish in 84 days.

    While I was reading your post, I was thinking, "Pretty much describes Prescott, AZ." However, I'm basing this on four days I spent visiting there last January. Cold mornings, in mid 20s, but afternoons in the 50s. If high desert qualifies as interesting, which, to me, it does, you can check that box. I saw lakes but did not get a chance to find out about fishing scene. people seemed generally friendly. Nearby mountains. Interesting downtown. Seems like a fun place.
  19. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

    Three recomendations for Montrose CO the home of Ross reels... I will check that out maybe add it too my list. I took Farmington off. Durango iss out too much winter and really expensive housing.
  20. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    Jesse, Montrose is also the home of Scott rods.