Fly Fishing Report for Saturday September 20, 2008
The release out of Navajo Dam was increased a week ago. Declining flows on the Animas results in a higher release out of Navajo Dam. Midge nymphing in the morning is the most productive, and fish may start to rise for baetis and midges in the afternoon. Size 24-26 olive, black, brown, and cream midge larvae, and size 22-24 gray and chocolate rs2's and gray and chocolate foam back emergers have been the better producers. The smaller versions of most flies (size #26 ) tend to out fish a larger size. On bright sunny days expect the fish to be in deeper water. Texas hole and cable hole have been the better spots. Simon Canyon blew out and the lower river from there down is VERY sandy. The mosquitoes are still out so don't forget the bug repellent! Please note; the New Mexico State Game Commission has enacted a two fly only rule for the quality waters of the San Juan. This rule went into effect on July 1st. As a result, Game and Fish officers were reportedly making their appearance on the San Juan. They are informing fly fishers of the "two fly" rule, but also checking licenses and for barbed flies. They recommend that you completely file the barb down or risk a citation as a pinched barb may still snag the tippet that is being used to check barbs!
Rio Grande 83 cfs at Cerro; Slow: 286 cfs at Pilar; Fair for pike, Fair for trout, Fair for smallmouth bass
The Rio Grande is a little murky with about three feet of visibility. Contrary to other reports, you can pick up trout on the edges dry fly dropper style with caddis nymphs, pheasant tails, or crane fly larvae. Trout move into the shallows to feed when they can no longer see in deeper water and heavy currents. The best time to fish for trout is early morning or in the evenings. Smallmouth inhabit the eddies and can be picked up on crayfish patterns or woolly buggers on a long leader or sinking tip or sinking line. 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. There is cooler water and easier wading around John Dunn Bridge and further upstream into the gorge. 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 54 cfs below Terrero; Good
The river above the village of Pecos continues to fish well. Caddis hatches in the mornings and afternoons are bringing up some fish as well as lots of Blue Winged Olives during cloud cover. It's late summer and generally the time to use terrestrials. Hoppers, ants, and small beetles, especially an ant fished wet can help you catch when the fish won't eat anything else. The Pecos and most of it's tributaries were heavily stocked this week. Egg patterns, and red and chartreuse copper johns generally work on the stockers. Pmd's, red quills, tan elk hair caddis, yellow stimulators, blue winged olives, ants, hoppers, and little yellow sallies are all working pretty much the length of the public water. Pecos National Historical Park has opened up their section of the Forked Lightning Ranch on the Pecos River to fishing. Please see our announcements page for the details. 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.
Rio Costilla 43 cfs below Costilla Reservoir; Good
Arguably the most beautiful stream in New Mexico. The release is near an optimum flow. These fish have seen alot over he past two months, so focus on nymphing during high sun with a crane fly larvae under the cut banks. Cast dry flies tight to the banks early or late in the day and set hooks quickly. Shuree Ponds are also fishing very well. Buggers, damsel nymphs, and aquatic snails are the flies for Shuree. The reports I had recently have still been good especially on dry flies. Royal Wulffs, irrestibles, humpies, and stimulators, as well as crane fly larvae and big pheasant tails.
Cimarron River 37 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Fair
The Cimarron River is dam controlled for the most part by Eagle Nest dam. NIce flows currently on the Cimarron with sporadic hatches of caddis and a larger pink mayfly. There is more water at the eastern end of the park below Clear Creek. Fishing is fair with hatches of caddis, blue winged olives, and pmd's. Expect fish to be quite spooky. Flies for the Cimarron are golden stonefly nymphs, yellow stimulators, pink cahills, pmd's, bwo's, hares ear nymphs, Barr's emergers, and gray and olive scuds.
Jemez Mountain Streams 21 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Fair to Good
The Jemez streams are all fishing well. The lower reaches of the Jemez streams can get warm and slow mid-day but they fish well mornings and evenings. The headwater streams don't slow as much mid-day, but are low and clear making a stealthy approach a challenge. Dry fly fishing with size 14-16 yellow stimulators, small parachute adams, dennis hoppers, ants, and yellow sallies has been good. The Valles Caldera Trust has opened the East Fork to fishing on the Valles Caldera National Preserve. To apply, use this link to their website at /www.vallescaldera.gov/comevisit/fish/EastFork.aspx. Otherwise access the East Fork reservation page from their home page by clicking on Come Visit. Then click on the fishing tab and select East Fork.
The Chama River above the village of Chama; Good: 54 cfs below the town of Tierrra Amarilla; Fair: 599 cfs below El Vado Dam; Slow to Fair: and 828 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Slow
The Chama River above the village of Chama has decent visibility between rain storms. There are caddis hatches in the afternoons and PMD's, BWO's and other sporadic mayfly hatches coming off between Tierra Amarilla and Chama. The fishing is generally fair below El Vado using big nymphs with flash and sparkle or streamers, but the water is murky. The releases below El Vado has been fluctuating every few days. Fluctuating releases from Abiquiu Dam have made the Chama below it unfishable most of the time. The tailwater sections usually fish best below 300 cfs. 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.
In Southern Colorado:
Conejos River 115 cfs below Platoro Reservoir; Good: 179 cfs at Mogote; Good
September 5, 2008. "The river now feels like a stadium that was full and now is empty. Very few of us out there and I'm sure the fish appreciate it after the "long" weekend! River fished ok for us today but not great, still caught most fish in truly fast water. Devan guided 25 miles below myself today and had the same luck in the big water. We did see some nice fish in some soft water and got some fish to eat some adult stonefly patterns. We aslo fished some braids with dry flies and as long as you could make a good long cast fish ate a variety of offerings. Water levels back up a bit both on the Conejos and most of the tributaries. Yesterday we fished for Cutts and Brookies and that was off the charts almost all dries with the exception of the plunge pools where we went deep. I have always heard from many that the Conejos fish and trout in general will eat alot of different patterns if you hit them in the head with it and for the most part I have agreed with that but for me there is no question that when a 20" trout in fast water skips the first fly (in a double nymph rig) and eats the #20 black midge larvae or emerger 90% of the time something is up. I also think that when they get tuned into stonefly nymphs that they eat more like rooting ant eaters. We landed a 17" Bow today that had his snout raw and bloody. I have seen several browns that look similar like they have been rooting thru the shallows for stones. The number of casings on the rocks on the lease this week has been incredible. Not an adult to be seen, I believe that this batch of stones is nocturnal but they are big, at least a #10. The adults hide in the foliage of the streambanks during the day so it does not seem to be a big deal with the dries but fish are eating the nymph. Picked up a log out the river today and it must of had 1000 midges on it, all very dark in about a #20! 5x to dries. 4x Flouro to nymphs. If you are nymphing and are not catching fish, GET THE SPLIT SHOT OUT! Before you go to alot of other theories make sure you are hitting them in the head." Jon Harp, of Conejos River Anglers provided the preceeding report. The release out of Platoro is perfect for exploring the Pinnacles or the meadow water below the dam. Look for flows below 180 cfs and don't forget the bug repellent; there are mosqitoes everywhere!
Rio Grande 60 cfs at Thirty Mile Bridge near Creede; Good: 249 cfs at Wagon Wheel Gap; Good
Fishing has been good on the upper Rio. Green Drakes, PMD's, and caddis are all out with grasshoppers bringing up some of the fish. There is decent water clarity and the fish are feeding. Big stonefly nymphs and pheasant tails seem to be picking up the most fish on a heavily weighted leader in the deeper runs and pools. Cast tight to the banks with hoppers or Green Drakes in the shallower water.
Arkansas River 330 cfs at Salida: Good
The river has come down dramatically now that the releases from Clear Creek Reservoir and Twin Lakes have been lowered. There is good fishing and easier wading upstream of Buena Vista. There have been some afternoon mahogany dun and caddis hatches and Blue Winged Olives on the cloudy days. Near Salida, the state leases are fishing well on the same bugs, just make sure to cover the softer pocket water with dry fly dropper rigs. PMD's, caddis, yellow sallies, hoppers, with a trailing pheasant tails or Barr's emerger are all working on the Ark.
Piedra River 119 cfs at Arboles; Good: San Juan River 97 cfs at Pagosa; Good
The rivers are quite clear and very wadeable. Unless we more rainfall, the area water have another month or so of decent fishing The Williams Creek below the dam also has been fishing well. The San Juan has also experienced heavy rainfall affecting the clarity but is coming down. Some of the smaller tributaries are clear and fishable.
Animas River 308 cfs at Durango; Good
The flows on the Animas are stable and the water is clear. The river near Durango has good visibility and has been fishing well especially on streamers. There has also been lots of caddis coming off right through town. The Delores below McPhee is down and currently flowing at 40 cfs. The upper forks of the Delores are clear and fishing well.
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.
It's late summer in New Mexico and water and fishing condtitions are changing frequently! Please CALL the fly shop for the latest in stream flows and water conditions.
For the latest in stream flows, see our links page and click on New Mexico Stream Flows.