Fly Fishing Report for Saturday March 22, 2008
Current New Mexico annual fishing licenses expire on March 31st. Get out there before the streams become too high and while your license is valid! Licenses for the 2008-2009 license year are available for sale NOW. Please note however, that all anglers fishing through the end of the month of March must continue to possess the 2008 license, and the new 2009 license is not valid until April 1st.
Stone Lake on the Jicarilla Nation opens on April 1st. There is currently some ice on the lake, but more open water is expected for the opener. Overall, the prospects for fishing on the Jicarilla Nation look very good. Drought years of the past have taken their toll, but this years snowpack means ample water for the lakes. Most rivers like the Chama, San Juan, Conejos, and Rio Grande are going to have an extended runoff, so dust off your float tube and get out to the Jicarilla lakes this spring: fishing is going to be awesome!
San Juan River 3970 cfs below Navajo Dam; Fair to Good
Releases out of the dam went up to 4000 cfs on Monday the 10th. Wading gets a little tougher, but it did also move some fish out of the deeper runs where they been holding. The water is murky. The reports prior to this latest increase in flows had been good. Fish the upper flats, cable hole, and lower flats for easier wading. Crossing the main channel isn't advised at these flows! Midge nymphing has been the most productive and expect to use flies as large as #18's and 20's. Most fish are holding in the deeper water tight to the bottom so adjust your weight accordingly. The best producers are red and orange San Juan worms, chamois leeches, or egg patterns, with a trailing red or black midge. Black, olive, or flesh bunny leeches round out the fly choices. Don't forget your wading staff!
Rio Grande 602 cfs at Cerro; Slow: 826 cfs at Pilar; Fair for pike, Slow to Fair for trout, Slow for smallmouth bass
The Rio Grande is likely to be murky as long as this spring like weather continues. Most of the tributaries have gone up only slightly, with most of the excess water coming from some localized snowmelt. Fishing can be good on the Rio, just look at flows or call for a report before you go. The caddis hatch will probably blow out with the expected runoff. We'll be sure to post anything relevant to that here. Pike hunt by feel and they'll take large streamers that move water regardless of water clarity, just be sure to cover the water more thoroughly. Fish for trout off of the gravel bars using olive RS2's, softhackle pheasant tail, black, brown or olive woolly buggers, autumn splendors, zoo cougars, conehead madonna’s, double hackle peacocks, poundmeisters, and caddis nymphs. For pike, show them big rabbit strip flies, large streamers or diving flies.
Pecos River 49 cfs below Terrero; Slow to Fair
The river above the village of Pecos has come up a little over the last two days with the warmer weather. Fishing is better in the afternoons after things have warmed up a bit. Fish the deeper pools with a nymph rig. The best producers have been a stonefly nymph with a trailing pheasant tail or black midge. Egg patterns, and red and chartreuse copper higgins generally work on the stockers. The river adjacent to Monastery Lake and all the way up to and behind the fish hatchery is private. Please respect all of the landowners along the Pecos and stay out of all posted private waters. The FIRST PUBLIC access is Dalton Day Use. Dalton is approximately 6 miles upstream of the village of Pecos. Please report anyone over harvesting fish or poaching to New Mexico Game and Fish at 1-800-432-4263.
Cimarron River Slow
The Cimarron River is dam controlled for the most part by Eagle Nest dam. Releases out of the dam are just above 1 cfs today. Fish elsewhere until the later this spring.
Jemez Mountain Streams 96 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Slow to Fair
The Jemez streams have been showing signs of runoff and are getting murky. The lower elevation streams like the Jemez River and the Guadalupe are high so fish the East Fork or the San Antonio, or Jemez River above Jemez Springs. Fishing is slow to fair, so be methodical and fish small nymphs. Expect the headwater streams to still be somewhat snowbound and fishing slow.
The Chama River above the village of Chama; Poor: below the town of Tierrra Amarilla; Slow: 1180 cfs below El Vado Dam; Poor: and 102 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Fair
Releases out of El Vado dam went up again this week. The fishing is generally fair below El Vado using big nymphs with flash and sparkle or streamers, however the current flows make the river unwadeable and have stirred things up quite a bit. Releases are expected to stay at these levels for a few more weeks. The Chama River above the village of Chama is running high and quite cold. The river below Abiquiu went up dramatically as the release went to 1520 cfs late last week, but is way down to 102 cfs at the moment. Both sections usually fish best at about 150 cfs. Water managers are making room in the reservoirs for the expected above average runoff. The Chama River above El Vado and below Abiquiu are Special Trout Waters with reduced bag limits. The density of fish is very low there and is not stocked. Please report anyone over harvesting here to New Mexico Game and Fish at 1-800-432-4263.
Clayton, Charette, and Maxwell Lakes all opened Saturday, March 1st. MacAllister Lake however, will remain closed to fishing until further notice. I've had very few reports since they've opened and most are rated slow at best. Fishing is expected to be slow as water temps are still relatively cold. If you go, please use caution as the spring winds can make boating and float tubing dangerous. MacAllister Lake has had a lake wide fish kill and the water levels are really low. Game and Fish has no plans currently to stock MacAllister Lake.
In Southern Colorado:
Conejos River 129 cfs at Mogote; Slow
While we are happy to have record snows in the Conejos Basin, fishing prospects are going to be tough here until later this spring before runoff, then again in mid-summer. A lot of the upper river is still under ice. We could see an increase in the release out of Platoro Reservoir to make room for melting snows which would only add to the runoff out of South Fork, Elk Creek and the other lower tributaries. On the other side of the divide, the Piedra River is already starting to show signs of spring runoff. As much as we love to fish here, it could be the spring to go and (re)explore some water closer to home. We'll keep the report on the Conejos updated.
Arkansas River; Slow to Fair
The Arkansas River is fishing slow above Salida. The river downstream of Salida was fishing fair towards Canon City but, water managers have began to increase the release of water out of Twin Lakes. Blue winged olives have been coming off lately. Hopefully the extra water doesn't blow out the caddis hatch. Just in case it doesn't, start your fly tying now. Streamers, midges, caddis, and baetis are the flies for the Ark.
Animas River 455 cfs at Durango; Slow
The Animas River near Durango is fishing slow to fair. The warmer days we've had lately have made the Animas come up over the past couple of days. Big browns will take streamers especially if it's overcast. The Animas is a great place to fish on the Southern Ute Reservation. Permits can be obtained at the Durango fly shops, Zia Sporting Goods in Farmington, or Float-n-Fish in Navajo Dam. It makes for a nice diversion from the San Juan River about 45 minutes away.
Water and fishing condtitions are changing daily! Please CALL the fly shop for the latest in stream flows and water conditions.
Please see our announcements page for more news and upcoming events!
Call us at the shop for conditions on waters not listed here. 888-988-7688 out of Santa Fe or 988-7688 in Santa Fe.
For the latest in stream flows, see our links page and click on New Mexico Stream Flows.