The Sunday November 20, 2016 Fly Fishing Report for Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado
Autumn 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 375 cfs below Navajo Dam; Good
The release below Navajo Dam has been rather stable and it is unlikely the Bureau of Rec will increase the flow this late in the season. 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. The fish 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 in the #24-28 range are the top producers near the dam especially in the mornings. Move down river after lunch to get the baetis hatch. Chocolate and gray have been the best baetis colors in a size 22-24. 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 7.8 on the Rio Mora; Slow to Fair: 35 cfs on the Pecos near Terrero; Slow to Fair
Fishing should continue to be fair on the Pecos and Mora albeit just a little later in the day. The water is low and clear necessitating longer leader, finer tippets and smaller flies. Dry fly fishing is pretty much over although a few gullible fish will take a small hoppers or caddis. There could also be some blue winged olives flying about. Imitations like a low water baetis, or olive BDE will get fish on the surface. If the fish are reluctant to rise, a dry dropper rig with a small baetis or midge pattern can get you into fish. Micromays, bat wing emergers, and split case bwo's work great. The Rio Mora is low but fishing OK. Please respect the landowners and stay out of any private property along the river. The fishing season on Pecos National Historical Park ended on November 7th. Please see the Park's website for more information. National Forest accesses are not affected.
Rio Grande 336 cfs at Cerro; Good: 526 cfs at Pilar; Good for trout, Fair for pike, Fair for smallmouth bass
The Rio came up as was expected when the irrigation canals in Colorado stopped getting water diverted from the river. Clarity will resume after a week or so although it is fishable now. I haven't had any reports since the change in flow. The Rio is a great fall through spring fishery giving you other options as the fishing slows in the mountains. Throw big nymphs such as big crane flies or stoneflies and trail a smaller baetis pattern. Streamers will also move some fish and at least with a streamer, you never know what you'll get. Pike fishing is picking up as well. Your best bet for them is a large streamers that move water.
Jemez Mountain Streams 31 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Slow to Fair
Colder weather has slowed the fishing here and on most mountain streams. The Jemez streams are low and the water is clear making the case for a longer leader and finer tippets. Hoppers and caddis are diminishing in number but can get you a few fish. Like elsewhere, blue winged olives are the most prolific bug making up the fish's diet. Dry dropper rigs with a small baetis nymph works well when there isn't any surface action. 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 above Chama; Slow: 42 cfs above El Vado Reservoir; Slow to Fair: 224 cfs below El Vado Dam; Good: and 249 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Good
The upper Chama area is one of the colder parts of the state and temps have dipped below freezing so mornings are a little slow. Dry dropper rigs work well here in the pocket water. The river flowing into El Vado Reservoir can be high below the Heron Dam outlet. Get a look before you go down or fish above Heron Dam outlet. The release below El Vado is finally down to a wadeable flow and has been stable for a couple of weeks. 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. The release below Abiquiu Dam is also down to a great level for fishing. It's murky, but clearing and people are catching fish. The same fly choices below El Vado would work here. The 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 .42 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Poor: 5.5cfs at Cimarron; Poor to Slow
The day was going to come when the water out of Eagle Nest Dam was pretty much turned off. That day is here and I don't expect any change in release or fishing until spring.
In Southern Colorado:
Animas River 226 cfs at Durango; Fair
The Animas is at a decent level and clarity. Fishing streamers and covering water is the most productive. tactic. Nymph rigs dredging the obvious seams can also produce.
The Conejos River 39 cfs below Platoro Reservoir; Slow to Fair: 83 cfs at Mogote; Fair to Good.
The Conejos is fishing fairly well as long as your fly choices are beatis or baetis or midges. The release out of Platoro is good for the moment. Hit this stretch of the river before the water managers turn the flow down to almost nothing. The current release makes for some easy wading into the Pinnacles. I've had better reports down low from Mogote Campground or Aspen Glade than the fly water. Work the riffled water for the best success.
Arkansas River 194 cfs at Granite; Slow to Fair: 373 cfs at Salida; Fair to Good
The water is a bit colder above the Twin Lakes outflow up into Hayden Meadows. 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, you guessed it, blue winged olives. Fish in the deeper runs mid-channel in the and cover the shallow riffles from mid-day on if you see active surface feeding.
It's autumn 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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