Fly Fishing Report for Sunday April 26, 2009
The new fishing license year started 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 $15 for ages 12 to 17.
San Juan River 522 cfs below Navajo Dam; Good
Based on the latest inflow forecasts, the Bureau of Reclamation has revised this year's planned Navajo Reservoir spring peak release. See our announcements page for the details. Not much change here except more baetis are coming off on cloudy afternoons. The release from the dam is still murky but improving with visibilty at 4 feet. Midge nymphing in the moring is the most productive. Look for risers or fish baetis nymphs in the afternoons. Size #20-24 red, black, and gray 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. Game and Fish officers are out and they have been checking people for licenses, barbless flies, and the number of flies on your rig!
Stone Lake; Good for trout
Stone Lake is fishing very well for some nice sized rainbows. Many of these fish were planted last fall and have been growing all winter. They try to spawn in the spring in the shallows on the north east side of the lake. At this time, you can fish pretty well from the bank using egg sucking leeches, woolly buggers and egg patterns. Take caution on the windy days if you are in a boat. See our announcements page or click on our link to Jicarilla Nation Game and Fish for details on their first annual Stone Lake Derby May 8th through 10th. Other lakes that are also fishing well are Santa Cruz, and Eagle's Nest for trout.
Rio Grande 917 cfs at Cerro; Slow: 1400 cfs at Pilar; Slow for pike, Slow for trout, Slow for smallmouth bass
The Rio Grande is murky, and the flows are going up and will likelt do so for the next few weeks or more. Smallmouth may eat crayfish patterns and wooly buggers in the eddies and you can probably pick out some trout in the tailouts of larger runs, but it's all about kayaking and rafting for most of May and into June. The caddis hatch is all the way up to the Wild and Scenic section. Streamers fished in the pockets or in the tailouts can also pick up some trout. Show them a crane fly larvae with a trailing pheasant tail or caddis larvae. 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. Cover the deeper slower runs and change flies frequently to see which ones trigger a strike.
Pecos River approximately 554 cfs below Terrero; Slow
The river is going up in flow and is off color. Wading is tough to dangerous at these levels so do take caution. Our guides have been finding fish on the edges next to the bank if it is slow enough there to get them out of the current. Smaller or unweighted stonefly patterns and a trailing pheasant tail drifted then fished on the swing at the end of your drift is what's working. There is a little less water mid-day and is your best chance at clearer water. Water temps are in the high-thirties and only warming by several degrees, so you'll have to get your flies right in front of the fish' nose. 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 30 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Good
The Cimarron River is dam controlled for the most part by Eagle Nest dam. The release is up for now. There are sporadic midge hatches and baetis hatches. There are a few tributaries to the Cimarron that are showing signs of runoff. You will find clearer water in the mornings. Flies for the Cimarron are bwo's, scuds, 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 dropper rigs are the current tactics.
Jemez Mountain Streams 183 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Slow
Although you'd think all of the snow in the Jemez was gone, the Jemez streams collectively have been showing increased runoff. The East Fork up high is out of it's banks and muddy. and the San Antonio and Cebolla are likely to be similar to the Easrt Fork. Nymphing with a dry and a dropper with size 16-18 prince nymphs, pheasant tails, and black or blue copper johns in the slower runs or pools should be the ticket.
The Chama River above the village of Chama; Poor: 1710 cfs below the town of Tierrra Amarilla; Poor: 892 cfs below El Vado Dam; Slow: and 1110 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Slow
The Chama River upstream of Tierra Amarilla is fishing poor and the flows are high. Runoff has apparently hit the Chama and may take a few weeks to a month to clear up, so keep checking the reports. Also, 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. The release is also high for easy wading. Nymphing is tough with the bad visibility but, streamer fishing is still fair. Focus on the obvious seams and tailouts for a feeding fish. Releases from Abiquiu Dam are fluctuating and it's definitely affected the fishing in a negative way. The flows are quite high for safe wading, but the water isn't too 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 311 cfs at Salida: Good
The releases out of Twin Lakes have been reduced and the main stem Ark is at a great flow for wading. Release out of the reservoirs is matching the inflow. So far runoff really doesn't start affesting the river until late afternoons. You'll find clearer water above Chalk Creek, so fish above Brown's Canyon in the mornings and hit it around Salida in the afternoons. Baetis are hatching reliably in the afternoons and the caddis hatch here should be a couple of weeks away. Fishing the gravel bars with stonefly nymphs and a trailing pheasant tail or caddis nymph will pick up fish.
Animas River 1720 cfs at Durango; Slow
Much like every other lower elevation freestone stream, the river is in runoff and is likely to keep rising. Also much like every other lower elevation freestone stream, stonefly nymphs with a trailing midge or pheasant tail drifted and swung along the banks was working the best.
Conejos River 557 cfs at Mogote; Slow to Fair
The water carity isn't terrible, but the flows are up with the warm weather. Runoff could really get going this next week with the warm daytime temps. 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. The river is still fishable for now just be careful wading. Or stay out of the water altogether and fish unweighted stonely nymphs along the banks.
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.