Saturday August 15, 2015 Fly Fishing Report for Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado
San Juan River 629 cfs below Navajo Dam; Good
The Bureau of Rec had temporarily raised the realease out of Navajo Dam to help dilute the plume of tainted water flowing into the lower San Juan from the Animas. The quality waters of the San Juan are well above the confluence of the Animas and will not be affected. As the summer goes on, we may see higher flows as the contribution of the Animas River into the San Juan declines. The fishing here continues to be very good. Midge hatches are the mid-day action from 10:00 am till 2:00 and baetis will come off in small numbers in the afternoon from 1:00 to 5:00 below Texas Hole. A second midge hatch in the late afternoons keeps the dry fly action alive all the way down to Simon Canyon. Black, gray, brown, and olive midge larvae and pupa are the top producers near the dam especially in the mornings. Chocolate and olive have been the best baetis colors. Johnny flash and foam wing emergers are among the favorites.Black and dark gray are the evening midge colors in size 24-26. The fishing downstream of Simon Canyon is slowly improving as the sediment load continues to move downstream. 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 80 cfs on Mora River; Good: 162 cfs below Terrero; Good
The eastern Sange de Cristo range got hit with more heavy rain again. As has been the case most of the summer, the river got high and murky again with the latest round of storms. There will always be less water and clearer water above Terrero. Caddis flies, yellow sallies, and hoppers are bringing some fish to the surface especially in the afternoons. Dry dropper rigs work best in the morning before things warm up. As far as nymphs go, on the lower river below Terrero, the bigger darker stonefly nymphs are still the top producers. Upriver, baetis nymphs, caddis larvae, and little golden stones are working subsurface. The Pecos National Historical Park's summer season ended Sunday August 3rd. The dates for fall haven't been posted but keep checking. See the Pecos National Historical Park's website for more information.
Rio Grande 163 cfs at Cerro; Fair to Good: 354 cfs at Pilar; Slow for trout, Slow for pike, Slow for smallmouth bass
The Rio is usually not a great place to fish mid-summer unless you go into the gorge or upriver of the Red. The water is very murky at Pilar which is typical during our rainy season. The Red River at times is also contributing some off color water. The best reports have been above it's confluence. If the cool influx of water stays around trout fishing can be good here between storms. The smallmouth fishing has picked up. Bigger flies like streamers, stonefly nymphs, and crane fly larvae with a trailing caddis pupa or larvae or baetis nymphs should get you into fish once things clear up a bit.
Jemez Mountain Streams 35 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Good
The Jemez hasn't had the amount of rain that has hit the Pecos. Fishing has been more consistent with the lack of rain. Dry fly fishing can be slow mid-day and the murky periods. The streams of the Jemez do go through a phase of slower fishing during the summer. Early morning and late afternoons offer the best fishing. If you are there mid-day, nymphing will be more productive than dry fly fishing. The Forest Service has closed some areas of the Rio Cebolla and San Antonio to fishing. All of these areas are fenced off and signed. There is still plenty of water that is not off limits. The fishing program resumed earlier in May on the Valles Caldera. The rules have changed now that the Preserve is under Park Service management. See their website for the details.
Chama River 54 cfs at La Puente; Slow to Fair: 877 cfs below El Vado Dam; Fair to Good: and 649 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Slow to Poor
The river flowing into El Vado Reservoir is at an decent level right now, however the irrigation return in this section of river has warmed it up and muddied it up considerably. The upper Chama in the Sargent Wildlife Area above the village of Chama is a little high for this time of year but that's a good thing. Fishing and wading are good and the water is clear between thunderstorms. The release below El Vado dam varies a lot. Higher releases out of El Vado occur regularly on the weekends throughout the summer. The current release makes fishing more difficult. Look for a release under 400 for safe wading and better fishing. The lower release is generally from Sunday through Thursday. Streamers, stonefly nymphs and cranefly larvae are still the top fly choices. The release below Abiquiu isn't very consistent. I'd check this place off of the list until late September or October. The release is being drawn from the base of the dam flushing silt into the river. It is very murky below Abiquiu Dam and will likely remain so until fall. 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 5.9 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Fair to Good: 20 cfs at Cimarron
Localized rain storms have actually been a bonus for the Cimarron as the release out of Eagle Nest Lake is very low. The better fishing is at the lower east end of the state park. The reports I've had have been good. Red midge larvae and scuds were the best flies. PMD nymphs, baetis nymphs, San Juan worms, and golden stone fly nymphs round out the fare for the Cimarron.
In Southern Colorado:
The Conejos River 137 cfs below Platoro Reservoir; Good: 204 cfs at Mogote; Good.
I actually like a little more water on the lower river. The slightly higher release out of Platoro means that the Pinnacles are barely wadeable. This higher release out of Platoro doees make the fishing better in the meadows. The water is low and the fishing is tougher on the lower river. These fish become quite hatch centric and feed selectively. The amount of fishing pressure here also has a negative effect. Go small. PMD nymphs and beatis nymphs can end a slump. Throw dries if you see them rising and figure out what fly is bringing the fish up. Right now it seems to be PMD's along Highway 17 and green drakes up river, or a well placed hopper anywhere. The tribs are a great place to lose the crowds and find some willing fish..
Rio Grande 130 cfs at Thirty Mile Bridge; Good: 419 cfs at Wagon Wheel Gap; Good
The days of a high release out of Rio Grande Reservoir seem to be over. This limits the use of a boat to float fish but definitely helps out the wading angler. Red quills, caddis, and yellow sallies are all out. Lower dam release can mean some warmer water around South Fork and Del Norte. Think about fishing the tribs up high for cooler water and happier fish.
Pagosa Area- Piedra River 151 cfs at Arboles; Fair to Good; San Juan River 71 cfs at Pagosa Springs; Good
Warmer water and slower fishing is being seen on the big rivers. The Piedra and Williams Creek below the dam are especially so. The San Juan at Pagosa is still cool enough to have willing fish but warms quickly downstream. Put some time on your feet and fish the three weight on some of the smaller tribs. Caddis, PMD's, red quills and hoppers round out the dry fly choices. Keep the nymphs small like the #16 range. PMD nymphs, anato-mays, golden stone nymphs are working subsurface.
Animas River 437 cfs at Durango; Poor
The Animas as most of you have seen from news reports doesn't look good. Some mine waste higher up in the drainage made it's way into the Animas over a week ago. The Animas is currently under a closure with no fishing allowed. The river looks like a normal clarity, although there is some evidence of the spill around in the form of orange colored sediment along the banks and in the eddies. Reports have been very slow in getting word to the public as to what health affects and the health of the fishery will be. It is believed that this mine waste is highly toxic. A study had been conducted twenty hours after the spill and so far the invertebrates sampled hadn't shown much ill effects. Time will tell how much damage has been done. Hermosa Creek and the other tribs to the Animas and the Pagosa area to the east of Durango offer the best fishing options.
Arkansas River 465 cfs at Granite; Good: 7 cfs at Salida; Good
High dam releases are seeming done on the Ark. The summer augmentation program ends today, although the general feeling is that the reduction in flows will be almost negligible with the abundant spring and summer precipitation here. There will be less water above Twin Lakes up into Hayden Meadows. The same bugs are seen flying the length of the river. Caddis, red quills, PMD's, little yelllow sallies, and golden stones are all out, however the best dry fly action is when the shadows fall back on the river late afternoons. Look for them in deeper water mid-day. There will be less rafting traffic above Buena Vista. Summer storms are most likely to murk up the river from Chalk Creek downstream.
Stream flows and dam releases can and have changed overnight. Be sure to check out our links page for stream flows for New Mexico and Colorado before you go or CALL the fly shop for the latest in stream flows and water conditions.
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