Fly Fishing Report for Monday May 11, 2009
Runoff has definitely started throughout the region leaving us only a few choices to fish as far as rivers and streams go. However, this is the time to go and try something new or something you haven't done in a while. Alot of the local lakes are fishing very well. I know I can almost hear the sighs when I mention lakes, but it is a different kind of beauty and experience to be enjoyed nonetheless. Within an hour's drive Cochiti Lake and Abiquiu Lake are fishing well for bass and pike, and bass and walleye respectively. One of the more beautiful lakes, Santa Cruz continues to fish well for rainbows and browns. Two hours from Santa Fe gives you Eagle's Nest Lake, where you can hit the lake in the morning before the wind, and fish the tailwater, the Cimarron, in the afternoon. Enbom Lake on the Jicarilla is awesome right now. Don't have a boat? No problem. The bass at Abiquiu can be picked up on poppers right off of the rocks near the boat ramp. Casting into the shallow coves on the southeast side of Cochiti can get you a smallmouth, largemouth, or even a pike! The rainbows at Eagle's Nest and Stone Lake come into the shallows looking for a place to spawn, and can be caught from the shore. Come into the shop or give us a call. We'll help you find somewhere to wet a line while you aren't able to hit you favorite stream.
San Juan River 516 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. Baetis are still coming off on most afternoons especially the cloudy ones. The release from the dam is a little murky but improving with visibilty at 4 feet. Midge nymphing in the morning is the most productive. Look for risers or fish baetis nymphs in the afternoons. Size #20-22 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!
Jicarilla Nation Lakes; Good for trout
Fishing at Stone seems to be tapering off, at least casting to the false spawners near the shore has. Stone Lake is still your best bet at fish over twenty inches. Some of the killed fish had lots of salamanders in them. For the fly guys, takes were very light and midges seemed to be what they wanted. Take caution on the windy days if you are in a boat. Enbom is more protected from wind than Stone. Good midge hatches there as well in the mornings and the damsels should be moving about also. Other lakes that are also fishing well are Santa Cruz, and Eagle's Nest for trout.
Rio Grande 2380 cfs at Cerro; Slow: 3190 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 likely 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 612+ cfs below Terrero; Slow
The river is up in flow again. 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 11 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Good
The Cimarron River is dam controlled for the most part by Eagle Nest dam. The release is down for now. There are sporadic midge hatches and baetis hatches. There are a few tributaries to the Cimarron that are showing signs of runoff, so 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 State 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 148 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Fair
The smaller streams of the Jemez Mountains are on the waning side of runoff and are fishable. The Cebolla, the East Fork, and the San Antonio are a little high and murky but fishing fair on dry dropper rigs. 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 and edges are the tactics. It'll still be a couple of weeks until the de Las Vacas and the Guadalupe will fish well and can be waded safely.
The Chama River above the village of Chama; Poor: 3150 cfs below the town of Tierrra Amarilla; Poor: 3980 cfs below El Vado Dam; Poor: and 1780 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Slow
The Chama River upstream of Tierra Amarilla is fishing poor and the flows are very high. Runoff has definitely 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 release is way, way up and the water is murky and completely unsafe for wading. Releases from Abiquiu Dam are also up. The flows are quite high for safe wading, although the water is alot clearer than the release out of El Vado. 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 1020 cfs below Granite; Good: 1060 cfs at Salida; Fair
The releases out of Twin Lakes went up again as well as the release from Clear Creek Reservoir. The colder water may stall the caddis hatch a bit, which is into Brown's Canyon at this point. There are still good hatches of blue winged olives also. We are seeing more water in the Ark it's starting to affect the clarity of the river especially by late afternoon. You'll find clearer water above Chalk Creek, so fish above in the morning. Fish have moved to the edges as most of the pocket water is blown out, so stay out of the water and fish stonefly nymphs with a trailing caddis pupa or pheasant tail.
Animas River 4710 cfs at Durango; Poor
The death knell for the remaining snowpack has been sounded in the San Juans and we are seeing a dramatic increase in runoff in the Animas. The river is likely to keep rising for a few more weeks. Stonefly nymphs with a trailing midge or pheasant tail drifted and swung along the banks may pick up some fish but it may be a better bet to hit the Delores below McPhee. Or fish the San Juan before the release goes up on May 20th.
Conejos River 1680 cfs at Mogote; Slow
The flows are way up with the warm weather and the river is murky. Flows could increase with a higher release out of Platoro Reservoir. Big, dark stonefly nymphs with a smaller trailing nymph fished in the soft water along the banks is about the only thing working on the main stem. The Los Pinos is actually higher than the Conejos so it's not an alternative right now. The giant stonefly hatch comes on just as the water levels recede and warm usually the second week of June. Put that on your radar and we'll keep you informed about conditions here. The gate accessing the upper river is still closed.
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.