The Friday August 19, 2016 Fly Fishing Report for Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado
Summer rains and changes in dam release can affect your fishing plans. You can check on current flows before you go by clicking on New Mexico Stream Flows or Colorado Stream Flows here or from our links page.
San Juan River 675 cfs below Navajo Dam; Good
The release below Navajo Dam is back up again for the moment. The Bureau of Rec will likely raise or lower the release again depending on flows on the Animas. It's still a midges game. Long line nymphing with a standard attractor and midge larvae set up. Fish pupa patterns higher up in the column around 10 or 11 am and dries mid-day. Even thought the baetis hatches are fairly light and not bringing a lot of fish to the surface, they seem to key in on baetis patterns after lunch until the evening when midges become the favorite trout food again. Black and olive midge larvae and pupa are the top producers near the dam especially in the mornings. Move down river after lunch to get the baetis hatch. Chocolate and olive have been the best baetis colors. Johnny flash and foam wing emergers are among the favorites. The Special Trout Water section is all catch and release and has a two fly only rule. If you see someone in violation, turn them into Game and Fish at 1-800-432-4263. Officers have been checking people for licenses, barbless flies, and the number of flies on your rig! File those barbs or go barbless, as the fines are steep!
Pecos River 13 on the Rio Mora; Good: 55 cfs on the Pecos near Terrero; Very Good
The effects of this weeks rains are minimal and the water is fairly clear and fishing well. The cool weather and cloud cover is also keeping fish happy and feeding. The bugs of summer are all over from Dalton and up past Cowles. Hoppers, caddis, blue-winged olives, and little yellow sallies are bringing up fish. A dropper nymph on a buoyant dry fly can keep you into fish in the sunniest part of the day. The Rio Mora is low but fishing well and is perfectly suited to throwing dry flies. .Please respect the landowners and stay out of any private property along the river. The fishing season on Pecos National Historical Park will resume in early September. Please see the Park's website for more information.
The Rio Costilla 43 cfs below Costilla Reservoir; Good
The Rio Costilla has been fishing well since opening day on July 1st. The release is at a great level for fishing as the higher the flows the fish hold tighter to the banks. Fish any soft water but pay attention to flies drifted along the banks. Strike quickly as those cutties are fast. Hoppers, humpies, stimulators, hippie stompers, royal wulffs and other high riding dry flies hugging the banks are good choices.
The Rio is slightly murky but fairly clear considering how much rain has fallen over the region. The Rio is just starting to turn on and should improve as we move into fall. The Rio for most of us is a fall through spring fishery adding to the other places that are still fishing well at this end of summer time. Visibility is two feet. If you go, use big nymphs such as big crane flies or stoneflies or throw streamers. At least with a streamer, you never know what you'll get but your chances of catching something will increase. Pike fishing is slow. Your best bet for them is a large streamers that move water. There is also lots of rafting traffic around Pilar.
Jemez Mountain Streams 12 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Good
The Jemez streams are low and the water is clear, but they did benefit from the cool down the rain and cloud cover has provided. Hoppers, caddis and little yellow sallies are out and are also bringing fish to the surface. Fishing continues to good in the Valles Caldera. Hoppers and beetles have worked well, but caddis or stimulators will also work on the surface. The Fishing Program on the Valles Caldera National Preserve is now under National Park Service rules. There is no longer a reservation system. It's all first come first served until all of the backcountry access permits are issued for the day. Please see the Preserve's website for more details.
Chama River 43 cfs above Chama; Good: 64 cfs above El Vado Reservoir; Fair: 987 cfs below El Vado Dam; Fair: and 622 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Slow
There is a new stream gauge above Chama. It will reflect what is flowing through the Sargent Wildlife Area. A lot of rain fell here last night and I suspect that the upper Chama is very murky. It'll take a day or two to clear barring any more rain. Dry fly dropper rigs work well here in the pocket water. The river flowing into El Vado Reservoir is at a nice level. Get a look before you hike down into it. Irrigation return upstream does murk up the water greatly affecting visibility. The release below El Vado typically does go up on Friday and back down on Sundays to accommodate the river rafters and is usually down to a fishable level during the week.. Lately that hasn't been the case so check the flows before you go. A release greater than 400 cfs makes crossing the river impossible. Streamers, stonefly nymphs and cranefly larvae are the top flies on the river flowing out of El Vado. Chama River above El Vado and below Abiquiu are Special Trout Waters with reduced bag limits. Please report anyone over harvesting there to New Mexico Game and Fish at 1-800-432-4263.
Cimarron River 15 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Good: 16 cfs at Cimarron; Good
Decent fishing continues despite a low release. The fishing is a little technical with the low flow and skittish fish. Lengthen your leader and be willing to tie on some 6X. Always check the flows before you go as the release can go up or down daily. The river does pick up more trib flow starting with Tolby Creek at the upper end of the state park and Clear Creek on the lower end. Scuds, red midge larvae, baetis nymphs, and golden stonefly nymphs have been reported to be working on the river. PMD's, caddis and little yellow sallies are good choices for fishing dry.
In Southern Colorado:
Animas River 361 cfs at Durango; Fair
The Animas is at a decent clarity between storms. Give it a couple of days to clear if it isn't. Cooler water and weather has helped the fishing here. Fishing streamers and covering water is the most productive. tactic. Nymph rigs dredging the obvious seams can also produce. Other good fishing can be had on some of the tribs around the ski resort or around Pagosa.
The Conejos River 40 cfs below Platoro Reservoir; Good: 183 cfs at Mogote; Good.
The Conejos is fishing fairly well especially the upper river off of Forest Road 250. Green drakes dwindling but a few are still flying around dusk above the South Fork. The release out of Platoro is barely decent enough to hold fish on the edges and they are quite fond of a San Juan worm. The current release makes for some easy wading into the Pinnacles. The river from Spectacle Lake down to the fly water and Mogote Campground is a little tough mid-day. Go small. Baetis nymphs under a hopper worked fairly well for me, but the fish shunned bigger stonefly nymphs. Elk Creek, the South Fork and Lake Fork are also fishing very well for the angler seeking some solitude and a chance to catch cutthroats.
Rio Grande 166 cfs at Thirty Mile Bridge; Good: 386 cfs at Wagon Wheel Gap; Good
The days of a high dam release seems to be over and the river is at a nice level on the upper Rio Grande above Creede. The fish are feeding on a variety of things, but mostly PMD's, caddis, little yellow sallies, and hoppers. Access is tough below South Fork and that section is best fished from a boat.
Pagosa Area- Piedra River 111 cfs at Arboles; Fair; San Juan River 97 cfs at Pagosa Springs; Fair
I am sure there is still some excellent summer fishing around Pagosa, but last nights rains have brought up the local streams. Everything will clear unless more rain falls over the area.The upper forks of the Piedra and Williams Creek are great places to camp and fish. The San Juan in Pagosa does fish well but also sees a fair amount of pressure. Consider the East Fork, Sand Creek and Turkey Creek especially for fishing dries. Caddis, hoppers, and littel yellow sallies are out.
Arkansas River 266 cfs at Granite; Good: 380 cfs at Salida; Good
The higher releases out of Clear Creek and Twin Lakes for rafting are over. The flows are dropping and the access is much easier on much of the Ark. The wading is easiest upstream of Twin Lakes outflow up into Hayden Meadows. The river from Buena Vista down stream into Brown's Canyon is a great place without the rafting traffic. I have had good reports downstream of Salida into Big Horn Sheep Canyon. Fish hold just off of the shelves mid-day and are taking a variety of flies. Fish in the deeper runs mid-channel in the and cover the shallow riffles from mid-day on if you see active surface feeding. PMD's, caddis and red quills are the choice flies for the Ark.
It's monsoon season in New Mexico and water and fishing conditions and water flows can change with the weather! Please CALL the fly shop for the latest in stream flows and water conditions.
For the most current stream flow data, see our links page or click here for New Mexico Stream Flows. or here for Colorado Steam Flows.
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