The Monday October 10, 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 413 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 baetis hatches are getting stronger by the day and 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 olive 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 10 on the Rio Mora; Good: 42 cfs on the Pecos near Terrero; Good
Fishing continues to be good on the Pecos and Mora. The water is low and clear necessitating longer leader, finer tippets and smaller flies. The cool weather and cloud cover is keeping fish happy and feeding. Hoppers, caddis, and little yellow sallies can still bring up a fish or two, but blue winged olives are the strongest hatch. 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 pattern can get you into fish. Micromays, bat wing emergers, and split case bwo's work great. 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 run through November 7th. Please see the Park's website for more information. National Forest accesses are not affected.
The Rio Costilla .22 cfs below Costilla Reservoir; Poor below Costilla Dam, better below Commache Creek confluence
The Rio Costilla is done for the year as irrigation season is over and the release out of the dam is damn near zero. Put it on your radar for next summer. The best fishing will be in the Valle Vidal which opens July 1st, 2017. Shure Ponds should fish fairly well before the cold sets in.
Rio Grande 112 cfs at Cerro; Good: 230 cfs at Pilar; Good for trout, Fair for pike, Fair for smallmouth bass
The Rio is fairly clear and fishing better every day. 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 21 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Good
The Jemez streams are low and the water is clear, and they also did benefit from the cool down the cloud cover has provided. Hoppers, caddis and little yellow sallies 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 if ther isn't any surface action. Fishing continues to good in the Valles Caldera. Hoppers and beetles continue to work well, but small 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 28 cfs above Chama; Good: 60 cfs above El Vado Reservoir; Good: 194 cfs below El Vado Dam; Good: and 249 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Fair to Good
There is a new stream gauge above Chama. It will reflect what is flowing through the Sargent Wildlife Area. That part of the Chama area is one of the colder parts of the state and temps have dipped below freezing so mornings are a little slow. Dry rigs work well here in the pocket water. The river flowing into El Vado Reservoir is high below the Heron Dam outlet so fish above Heron Dam here. The release below El Vado is finally down to a wadeable flow and has been stable for several days. 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 although I've had no reports. The river is fairly clear and the same fly choices 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 10 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Slow: 9 cfs at Cimarron; Slow
The fishing has suffered with the lower release. The fishing is technical with the low flow and skittish fish. Lengthen your leader and be willing to tie on some 6X. 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, and baetis nymphs and blue winged olive dries are good choices.
In Southern Colorado:
Animas River 379 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. Other good fishing can be had on some of the tribs around the ski resort or around Pagosa.
The Conejos River 75 cfs below Platoro Reservoir; Good: 148 cfs at Mogote; Good.
The Conejos is fishing well as long as your fly choices are beatis or baetis. 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 from Mogote Campground or Aspen Glade than the fly water. Work the riffled water for the best success.
Rio Grande at Thirty Mile Bridge; Good: 352 cfs at Wagon Wheel Gap; Good
The dam release is unknown as the stream gauge is down currently. Like everywhere else, baetis is the name of the game. Go small whether your throwing dries or nymphing. The best reports I've had have been below South Fork.
Pagosa Area- Piedra River 116 cfs at Arboles; Good; San Juan River 112 cfs at Pagosa Springs; Good
There is still some good fishing around Pagosa. Everything here is centered on baetis nympshs or dries, but you might get an occasional fish to take a caddis, hopper, or a little yellow sally. 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.
Arkansas River 111 cfs at Granite; Good: 239 cfs at Salida; Good
The water is a bit colder above the Twin Lakes outflow up into Hayden Meadows. The river from Buena Vista down stream into Brown's Canyon is a great place to camp and fish. 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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