I’m too damned old to waste my time on solutions to the Fenn Treasure Hunt that don’t include some basic assumptions.
For example, I have assumed that the Fenn’s treasure chest is hidden in New Mexico. I’ve explained why in an earlier entry. While that decision could be criticized, it cannot be debated. It’s my assumption, and I cling to it like a grizzly bear does to a chubby, tasty flatlander.
I have also assumed that “warm waters” as used in the first clue of Fenn’s Poem (Begin it where warm waters halt…) is Fenn’s gracious, poetic, and pretty damned transparent nod to the the New Mexico State Game and Fish Department Fishing Rules and Information pamphlet. He is, after all, a lifelong, devout and dedicated fisherman, and would be familiar with them
Since I’m about to jump into them, you can download a copy (in Adobe Acrobat) format of the 2013 Fishing Proclamation (as the Rules are referred to) here.
First, the phrase “warm waters,” in the context of fishing, is unique to New Mexico. No other Rocky Mountain state uses the phrase in the context of fishing.
Second, while it is common knowledge that trout thrive in waters just either side of 55 degrees, there is nothing in anything the NMG&FD publishes that defines hot, warm, cool or cold waters in terms of temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius. You will, on the other hand, find lists, with appropriate images, of warm water species and cold water species on the NMG&FD website without any reference to water temperatures.
Third, you can find the definition of warm waters on page 16 of the above referred to publication. In the first paragraph it says, “Warm waters include all streams, lakes, and ponds, except those designated as trout waters (pages 24–25, 31).
Thus, the distinction, in the context of New Mexico fishing, is not between warm waters and cool waters, or warm water species and cool water species.
It’s between warm waters and Special Trout Waters, irrespective of temperature or specie. And, all the designated trout waters are listed on pages 24 and 25 of the above referred to document.
For example, using the entry for the Cimarron River Special Trout Water near the bottom of page 24:
“One trout only, at least 16 inches. Cimarron River from the east end of Tolby Campground downstream 1.4 miles to the first U.S. Hwy. 64 bridge.”
Therefore, in this case, warm waters halt at the east end of Tolby Campground, at which point Special Trout Waters begin, and continue downstream 1.4 miles, at which point warm waters begin and continue downstream to the Cimarron’s confluence with Ponil Creek.
Now you know where to start your search in Cimarron Canyon. Am I a nice guy, or what?
By going through the list on pages 24 and 25, you can determine where many of the warm waters in Northern New Mexico halt.
Helpful hint: Don’t waste your time with Cabresto, Doctor, or Jack’s Creeks.
There is one other thing.
Due to the unique manner in which warm and Special trout waters are interrelated, there are 11 other locations in the mountains North of Santa Fe that meet the above definition of where warm waters halt, but are not listed on pages 24 and 25.
But, those are my secret.