Fly Fishing Report for Monday April 21, 2008
Jicarilla Nation Lakes."Good news at last folks. Stone Lake seems to be turning on, with more of the typical spring fishing that folks have become accustomed to. By this I mean we are finally observing the shoreline cruisers displaying spawning behavior and aggressive strikes. As some of you know and others will learn, the Rainbows in Stone typically cycle through a pretend-a-spawn period during April and early May. As mentioned in the last report the visibility is getting better every day which makes for excellent sight fishing during this spawning period when the fish come in to the shorelines in search of good gravel substrate. The best locations to look for these cruisers are the north shoreline where there is a good viewing bluff that parallels the lake for approximately 150 yards, and on the east side where there is decent substrate and adequate relief to view from. The news I have heard since the last report is positive but by no means incredible quit your job type of news. Several large fish have been caught this week and possibly more that I haven’t heard of. One gentleman in a float tube caught and released a 24 inch Rainbow on the west side of the lake in one of the coves. He was using a heavy cone head egg sucking leach pattern. I will see you at Stone Lake."Kevin Terry, Jicarilla Nation Fisheries Biologist. 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 2270 cfs below Navajo Dam; Fair
Releases out of the dam went down a few weeks ago. Releases are expected to stay at the current flow 2200 cfs, with a scheduled increase to 5000 cfs in late May. The water was murky but clearing with the reduction in flows and change in penstocks. The reports prior to this latest change in flows had been fair. Fish the upper flats, cable hole, and lower flats for easier wading. Crossing the main channel isn't advised at higher flows! The best reports have been from anglers fishing out of boats. Midge nymphing has been the most productive and expect to use flies as large as #18's and 20's. Flashy flies and red worms and red midge larvae generally work if the water is stained. 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 741 cfs at Cerro; Slow: 1250 cfs at Pilar; Slow for pike, Slow for trout, Poor for smallmouth bass
The Rio Grande is murky and will likely remain so until late June or July. Most of the tributaries have also started to come up. Fishing can be good on the Rio, just look at flows or call for a report before you go. The caddis hatch has started and is above Pilar and into the gorge and is very sporadic. Even though the water is quite murky, fish the edges dry fly dropper style with caddis nymphs. Fish move into the shallows to feed when they can no longer see in deeper water and heavy currents. 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. Flies for the Rio are black or olive woolly buggers, autumn splendors, zoo cougars, conehead madonna’s, caddis nymphs, and pheasant tails. For pike, show them big rabbit strip flies, large streamers or diving flies in dark colors.
Pecos River 157 cfs below Terrero; Slow to Fair
The river above the village of Pecos has come up over the last week. Fishing is better mid-day after things have warmed up a bit, but slows down by 4pm when the colder melt water hits the lower river. Fish the deeper pools with a nymph rigs. 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 26 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Good
The Cimarron River is dam controlled for the most part by Eagle Nest dam. Releases out of the dam are still just 26 cfs today. There is more water at the eastern end of the park below Clear Creek but the river does get murkier. The clearest water is just below Tolby Creek. Fishing has picked up with the increase in the release from Eagle Nest dam. Flies for the Cimarron are golden stonefly nymphs, black midge larvae, small baetis nymphs, Barr's emergers, and gray and olive scuds.
Jemez Mountain Streams 219 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Slow to Fair
The Jemez streams are in runoff and are a little high and murky. There was a peak in flows a few weeks ago, although we may get another flush if the air temps climb at higher elevations. The lower elevation streams like the Jemez River and the Guadalupe are quite high so fish the East Fork, Cebolla, or the San Antonio, or Jemez River above Jemez Springs. The best reports have come from the East Fork draining the Caldera. Fishing is slow to fair, so be methodical and fish small dark flashy nymphs. Forest Road 376 is open on the lower end above the Gilman Tunnels. Upper 376 to the San Antonio Hot Springs will open on June 1st.
The Chama River above the village of Chama; Slow: 1270 cfs below the town of Tierrra Amarilla; Poor: 1190 cfs below El Vado Dam; Slow: and 1700 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Poor
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. Fish the edges and obvious eddies. Releases are expected to stay at these levels for awhile. The Chama River above the village of Chama is running high and quite cold. The tailwater sections usually fish best at about 150 cfs. Water managers are making room in the reservoirs for the expected above average runoff. The nearby Brazos is fishing fair using big stonefly nymphs with a trailing pheasant tail. Full runoff hasn't yet started on the Brazos, so fish it now!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 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 with the more favorable reports coming from Charette. 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 369 cfs at Mogote; Slow to Fair
While we are happy to have record snows in the Conejos Basin, fishing prospects are going to be tough once runoff starts until mid-summer. It was tough fishing during last weekend's Conejos Superfly competition. Fishing will pick up once things warm up, at least until runoff begins. A lot of the upper river above Rocky Mountain Angling Club is hemmed in by waist deep snows. 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 in runoff. As much as we love to fish here, it could be the summer to go and (re)explore some water closer to home. We'll keep the report on the Conejos updated.
Rio Grande 453 cfs at Thirty Mile Bridge near Creede; Slow to Fair
The upper Rio Grande has been fishing fair lately, and it appears that releases may have been reduced out of Continental or Rio Grande reservoirs. There is open water and the fish are feeding. Big stonefly nymphs and pheasant tails and midges seem to be picking up the most fish. The snow along many of the banks is still waist high and just getting to the water is incredibly difficult with out skis or snowshoes in some places.
Arkansas River 660 cfs at Salida: Slow to Fair
The Arkansas River is fishing slow above Salida. The river downstream of Salida is fishing fair towards Canon City. The release of water out of Twin Lakes has come down and improved the fishing. The Ark is quite fishable, but that could change with more warmer weather and snowmelt. 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 1560 cfs at Durango; Poor
The Animas River near Durango is high and roiling. The river is stirred up and the water is cold, and the kayak hatch is just beginning. The Delores below McPhee is also way up and currently flowing at a whopping 990 cfs! Spring fishing may be tough here as it seems as runoff is already starting and is expected to last well into June.
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.