The Tuesday July 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 811 cfs below Navajo Dam; Good
The Spring Peak Release is over and we'll see some stable flows for a while. The Bureau of Rec will leave the release at the current level since there has been a significant drop in flows on the Animas River. The Bureau of Rec is mandated to keep a target flow below the city of Farmington which is a bonus for anglers fishing the San Juan, You can almost hear David Byrne's lyrics; same as it ever was, same as it ever was. Not much change as 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. Even thought the baetis hatches are waning 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 17 on the Rio Mora; Good: 51 cfs on the Pecos near Terrero; Very Good
There is still some decent flows on the Pecos keeping fish happy and feeding. Barring any runoff from rain, the river is quite clear. Stoneflies are done, but the bugs of summer are all over from Dalton and up past Cowles. Hoppers, caddis, blue-winged olives, and little yellow sallies bringing up fish. A dropper nymph on a buoyant dry fly can keep you into fish in the sunniest hot 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 runs through Monday August 8. Please see the Park's website for more information.
The Rio Costilla 86 cfs below Costilla Reservoir; Fair to Good
The Rio Costilla has been fishing well since opening day on July 1st. The rating has been somewhat reduced to fair as the release out of the dam is a little too high for optimum fishing. I thinks it's best from 30 to 70 cfs. The higher flows forces the fish tighter to the banks. Your casts will have to be a little more accurate for the time being. Hoppers, humpies, stimulators, hippie stompers, royal wulffs and other high riding dry flies hugging the banks are good choices.
Rio Grande 203 cfs at Cerro; Slow: 362 cfs at Pilar; Slow to for trout, Slow for pike, Slow for smallmouth bass
The Rio is murky. The Rio for most of us is a better fall through spring fishery anyway and there are plenty of other places that are fishing well to keep anyone occupied. We are advising people not to fish here as the higher water temps making reviving a released trout almost impossible. Visibility is around a foot. 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 9.2 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Fair to Good
The Jemez streams are low and the water is clear. Fishing can be slow mid-day in the bright sun so seek some shady areas or fish the mornings or evenings. Hoppers, caddis and little yelow sallies are out and are also bringing fish to the surface. The headwaters of the San Antonio, East Fork, and the Cebolla tend to fish better with the cooler water temps. Fishing continues to good in the Valles Caldera. Hoppers and beetles 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: 46 cfs above El Vado Reservoir; Slow to Fair: 853 cfs below El Vado Dam; Fair to Good: and 1070 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Slow
There is a new stream gauge above Chama. It will reflect what is flowing through the Sargent Wildlife Area. Dry fly dropper rigs work well here in the pocket water. Check the flows before you go as this part of the Chama does get murky if it rains upriver. 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 and makes it warmer to where the only thing you'll find are carp. It is a good place to target carp if that is your thing. It'll likely fish slow for trout and have murky water through the summer. Look to fish elsewhere. The release below El Vado is down to a fishable level during the week. The release typically does go up on Friday and back down on Sundays to accommodate the river rafters.. 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 42 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Good: 34 cfs at Cimarron; Good
Warmer weather has actually helped the stream here as it forces the water managers to release more water for the irrigators. Always check the flows before you go as the release is 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 431 cfs at Durango; Fair
The Animas is still being enjoyed by the river rafters near Durango, but the clarity is good. I did get a good report from a guy fishing streamers upriver of the Hermosa Creek confluence near Purgatory. Other good fishing can be had on some of the tribs around the ski resort or around Pagosa.
The Conejos River 181 cfs below Platoro Reservoir; Good: 253 cfs at Mogote; Good.
The Conejos is fishing very well especially on the surface. Stoneflies are waning although there are a few still flying above South Fork. Gray drakes are also declining. Green drakes however are making there first appearances in the fly water and I'd expect to see some pale morning duns very soon. The release out of Platoro is still decent enough to hold fish on the edges and they are gaga for a San Juan worm. The current release is too high for anyone but the burliest waders heading into the Pinnacles. 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 168 cfs at Thirty Mile Bridge; Good: 408 cfs at Wagon Wheel Gap; Good
Dam release seems to be over and the river is at a nice level on the upper Rio Grande above Creede. The fish are still prefering to feed on the surface going for stonefly dries and green drakes. Access is tough below South Fork and that section is best fished from a boat. The other bugs of summer like hoppers, caddis and yellow sallies are also flying and working on fish..
Pagosa Area- Piedra River 86 cfs at Arboles; Good; San Juan River 85 cfs at Pagosa Springs; Good
Excellent summer fishing around Pagosa. The upper forks of the Piedra and Williams Creek are great places to camp and fish. The San Juan in Pagosa is fishing well but does see a fair amount of pressure. Consider the East Fork, Sand Creek and Turkey Creek especially for fishing dries. Stoneflies, caddis, hoppers, and PMD's are out.
Arkansas River 550 cfs at Granite; Good: 750 cfs at Salida; Fair to Good
The releases out of Clear Creek and Twin Lakes are matching their respective inflows making for some excellent fishing on much of the Ark. The wading is easiest upstream of Twin Lakes outflow to Hayden Meadows. The river from Buena Vista down stream into Brown's Canyon sees a lot of rafting traffic. I find it better to fish downstream of Salida into Big Horn Sheep Canyon. It's still high water so the flows there make fishing out of a boat your best option. 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 golden stones are the choice flies for the Ark.
It's summer 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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