Fly Fishing Report for Thursday April 10, 2008
Just a little update for those of you ready for some Stone Lake spring action. The lake is now completely devoid of ice. The clarity is still less than 2 ft. but has improved since it opened on April 1st. The winds that so graciously took care of the ice will now be turning their attention to you. Typically the winds pick up to frustrating speeds by noon in April, so fly fishermen beware. The north shore of the lake is a popular spring spot, but receives the brunt of the wind and will muddy up from wave action. Conversely, the south side clears up when the wind pushes surface water to the north. A few anglers who couldn't wait have been out there in the turbid water. So far there has been secondary reports of two hook ups with no confirmed landings. Mundo Lake has shed it's winter coat as well, and should clear up in a week or two. Mundo is a good alternative when winds drive you away from Stone. Kevin Terry, the fisheries biologist for the Jicarilla Nation provided the preceeding report. 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 1720 cfs below Navajo Dam; Fair
Releases out of the dam went down a couple of days ago. Work is being performed on the outlets at the dam. Flows are expected to stay around 1600 cfs until friday whent they are expected to go back up to 2200 cfs. The water is murky. 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 in the stained water. 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 1220 cfs at Cerro; Slow: 1730 cfs at Pilar; Slow for pike, Slow to Fair for trout, Slow for smallmouth bass
The Rio Grande is murky and will likely remain so as long as this spring weather continues. Most of the tributaries have also started to come up, and are adding to the the excess water pouring into the gorge from the rim. 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. You have to wait till evening to throw dries. We'll be sure to keep you posted on The Hatch. 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.
Pecos River 118 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. 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 Slow
The Cimarron River is dam controlled for the most part by Eagle Nest dam. Releases out of the dam are still just below 3 cfs today. There is more water at the eastern end of the park below Clear Creek. Fishing may pick up with a little more runoff and warmer days.
Jemez Mountain Streams 216 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Slow to Fair
The Jemez streams are in of runoff and are high and murky. There was a peak in flows early last week, 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 rports have come from the East Fork draining the Caldera. Fishing is slow to fair, so be methodical and fish small nymphs.
The Chama River above the village of Chama; Poor: 771 cfs below the town of Tierrra Amarilla; Poor: 1380 cfs below El Vado Dam; Slow: and 1730 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Poor
Releases out of El Vado dam went up again two weeks ago. 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 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 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 222 cfs at Mogote; Fair
While we are happy to have record snows in the Conejos Basin, fishing prospects are going to be tough here this spring before runoff, then again in mid-summer. Some friends of ours fished the Conejos last week picked up a dozen or so a piece once things warmed up. It's tougher wading but better water temps on the lower river at Aspen Glade and Magote Campgrounds. A lot of the upper river above Horca is hemmed in by 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 starting to 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.
Rio Grande 258 cfs at Wagon Wheel Gap; Slow to Fair
The upper Rio Grande has been fishing fair lately. There is more 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.
Arkansas River 623 cfs at Salida: 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. The Ark is still 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 787 cfs at Durango; Slow
The Animas River near Durango is fishing slow. The warmer days we've had lately have made the Animas double in flow over the past two weeks. The river is a little stirred up and the water is cold. The Delores below McPhee is also way up and currently flowing at a whopping 805 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.