Fly Fishing Report for Saturday April 4, 2009
The new fishing license year starts April 1st! The new licenses are available now at the fly shop. Anglers in New Mexico spent an estimated $295,874,000 in 2006. More than $125 million was spent on trip-related expenses, and more than $50 million was spent on food and lodging. As you can see, fishing is an important part of New Mexico's economy. Consider that fishing is still an affordable form of recreation. Just about wherever you live, there is some fishing to be had within an hour's drive. And please take a kid fishing. It's free if they are 11 and under and only $18 for ages 12 to 17.
San Juan River 516 cfs below Navajo Dam; Fair to Good
Not much change here except more baetis are coming off in the afternoons. The release from the dam is still murky but improving with visibilty reportedly at 2-4 feet. Despite the visibility, fishing is fair for some, better for others. Midge nymphing is the most productive. Size #20-24 red, black, and brown midges, and size #22 gray and chocolate RS2's and gray and chocolate foam back emergers with an egg attractor are still the better producers. Good reports from Simon Point up to Cable Hole. A bunny leech or woolly bugger cast and stripped or dead drifted in black or white can end your slump. There is a two fly only rule for the quality waters of the San Juan. This rule went into effect on July 1st. Word is that Game and Fish has been checking people for licenses, barbless flies, and the number of flies on your rig!
Rio Grande 615 cfs at Cerro; Slow: 904 cfs at Pilar; Slow for pike, Slow for trout, Slow for smallmouth bass
The Rio Grande is murky, but flows have come down over the past couple of days. Trout fishing is slow but should improve if we don't get a lot of snowmellt. The famed caddis hatch seems to be a bust. It will happen any day now, but may be riverwide over one day. There have been a few adults in the willows, but the fish seem to be keying in on baetis. Streamers fished in the pockets or in the tailouts can pick up some trout at Pilar. Show them a crane fly larvae with a trailing pheasant tail or black midge. You just can't go wrong with big bodied nymphs tied with peacock herl. 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. We've been seeing bigger pike lately. These are generally older females that have seen everything. If you see a laid up pike, it probably won't eat. Cover the deeper slower runs and change flies frequently to see which ones trigger a strike.
Pecos River approximately 92 cfs below Terrero; Fairw
The river has come up over the past couple of weeks. There is a little less water in the morning and is your best chance at clearer water as it gets a little murky with snowmelt by the afternoon. Despite the extra water, fishing is fair upstream of the village of Pecos to Mora Campground. Big, dark stonefly nymphs and small black midges and pheasant tails are the way to go. Water temps are in the high-thirties and onl;y warming by several degrees, so you'll have to get your flies down to the fish and put them in front of the fish' nose. If you are fishing in the village of Pecos and even Camino Rincon, you are trespassing. Don't be a poacher! Please respect all of the landowners along the Pecos and stay out of all posted private waters. Please report anyone over harvesting fish or poaching to New Mexico Game and Fish at 1-800-432-4263.
Cimarron River 0.3 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Slow
The Cimarron River is dam controlled for the most part by Eagle Nest dam. The release is just barely a trickle. Better fishing will come soon on the Cimarron, especially if we get more release out of Eagle Nest Dam. There are sporadic midge hatches but the fish are very spooky. There is more water at the eastern end of the park below Clear Creek. Flies for the Cimarron are bwo's, Griffith's gnats, hares ear nymphs, and Barr's emergers. Coyote Creek Stae Park, somewhat near the Cimarron has been fishing well lately. The runoff here is minimal. Small beadheads drifted under an indicator or a dry fly are the current tactics.
Jemez Mountain Streams 44 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Slow to Fair
The Jemez streams collectively have been showing a runoff pattern with the coming of spring. The lower Jemez, Guadalupe and East Fork up from Battleship Rock have been fishing fair mid-day on. The East Fork just west of the Caldera has more open water and may also fish ok. Nymphing with a dry and a dropper is more productive with size 16-18 prince nymphs, pheasant tails, and black or blue copper johns. New Mexico Trout is holding a river cleanup on the Guadalupe next Saturday April 4th. Click on their link on our links page for more details or see our announcements page.
The Chama River above the village of Chama; Slow: 209 cfs below the town of Tierrra Amarilla; Slow: 547 cfs below El Vado Dam; Fair to Good: and 479 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Slow
The Chama River upstream of Tierra Amarilla is fishing slowand the flows are high. Much like the Pecos, fishing a large nymph attractor with a trailing midge or pheasant tail can be productive. Check the flows before you make that drive to one of the tailwaters. The fishing is generally fair below El Vado using big nymphs with flash and sparkle or streamers, but the water is murky. Nymphing is tough with bad visibility but, streamer fishing is still good. Focus on the obvious seams and tailouts for a feeding fish. Releases from Abiquiu Dam are fluctuating and it's definitely afected the fishing in a negative way. The flows are quite high for safe wading and the water is stirred up. Baetis nymphs, midges, and crane fly larva are the usual flies for the Chama below Abiquiu. Even though this stretch does have some decent natural reproduction, most of the fish that get caught get kept. 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:
Arkansas River 315 cfs at Salida: Slow
The releases out of Twin Lakes have been reduced and the main stem Ark is at a great flow for wading. Baetis are starting to emerge in the afternoons. The water temps are still around 40 degrees. Fishing the gravel bars with stonefly nymphs and a trailing pheasant tail or caddis nymph seems to pick up a few fish. The better water is downstream of town in Bighorn Sheep Canyon towards Canon City. Fish the seams and tailouts. Other fair fishing can be had on the South Platte below Spinney Reservoir, that is if you can deal with the wind.
Animas River 372 cfs at Durango; Slow
Much like every other lower elevation freestone stream, the water levels are rising. Despite the flows coming back down, the water is currently muddy. Also much like every other lower elevation freestone stream, stonefly nymphs with a trailing midge or pheasant tail was working the best. Make sure they are drifted tight to the bottom and cover the obvious seams and tailouts once the water starts clearing.
Conejos River 98 cfs at Mogote; Slow
A little break in runoff here with the cooler weather that rolled through last week. The water however, is remarkably clear with about four feet of visibility. Wanna guess what flies are working on the Conejos? Well, like every other lower elevation freestone stream, a big, dark stonefly nymph with a smaller trailing nymph seems to be the way to go. Expect to see higher water with warmer weather upon us next week. If the trend continues, it's going to be a nymph fisher's paradise fishing pre-runoff. Hopefully the river doesn't blow out before the Superfly.
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 a warm, early spring 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 most current stream flows, see our links page and click on New Mexico Stream Flows.