Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ed's Fly Fishing Report for Friday December 18, 2009

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Learn more at

Just a heads up for anyone going to the San Juan River on Christmas Eve December 24th. As part of a cost saving plan for the State of New Mexico, state employees will be have to take some unpaid days off for the next few months. Unfortunately, that means that State Parks will be closed on some of the busiest three day weekends on some of the places we like to fish like Navajo Lake State Park (San Juan River below Navajo Dam is within the state park) and Villanueva State Park on the Pecos River. In accordance with the furlough plan, New Mexico State Parks will not be open to the public on the following days:
• Thursday, December 24, 2009
• Friday, January 15, 2010
• Tuesday, February 9, 2010
• Tuesday, March 2, 2010
• Tuesday, March 23, 2010
State Parks will ropen the following day at 7:00 am. State parks will remain open on all holidays as usual, including Christmas, New Years Day, Martin Luther
King, Jr. Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Be careful if decide to go anyway, they have threatened to issue citations for trespassing.

Pecos River below Terrero; Poor: At Villanueva State Park; Fair to Good
The upper Pecos is pretty well iced over in most places. The only fishable strech is all the way down at Villanueva State Park. Villlanueva was stocked two weeks ago, so get it while it lasts. Egg patterns, red and green copper johns, and prince nymphs were all working on the stockers. 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.

San Juan River 458 cfs below Navajo Dam; Good
So far the lake hasn't turned over but if we stay in these sub 40 degree temps, it'll probably happen before Christmas. Fish midges upstream from the upper flats to the cable hole. The upper flats has good sight fishing with midges most of the day. Size 24 to 26, in brown, cream, red, and black for the midges and size 20-22 for the baetis in an olive or gray, RS2's, johnny flash, or foam wings. Yes, BWO's are back from Texas Hole to Baetis Bend, but only for a little while. If you are willing to change frequently to get size and color right, the fish will eat. Time to go to the small stuff and 6X or even 7X fluorocarbon tippets. Bunny leech type streamers in the deeper runs can be incredible. Navajo State Park will close on December 24th and reopen on Christmas. This is part of the plans to furlough state employees and save the state some money. Another closure is supposed to take place on January 15th, Martin Luther King Day, which also has the potential to ruin a three day holiday trip for a lot of flyfishers. Contact New Mexico State Parks before you make any plans. There is a two fly only rule for the quality waters of the San Juan. This rule went into effect on July 1st of 2008. Also, the Special Trout Water section is all no kill as of September 15th. If you see someone in violation, turn them into Game and Fish. Officers have been checking people for licenses, barbless flies, and the number of flies on your rig! File those barbs or go barbless, as the fines are steep!

Rio Grande 297 cfs at Cerro; Fair: 446 cfs at Pilar; Fair to Good for pike, Slow to Fair for trout, Poor for smallmouth bass
The Rio Grande is somewhat clear at 2 feet of visibility. For trout, show them a crane fly larvae, stonelfy nymphs, or work streamers around structure. If you see some brown trout paired up or see a redd, please avoid them. A redd is their spawning bed and is marked by an area of clean gravel compared to the rest of the stream, and can usually be found in the tailouts. The low flows we are currently seeing should make casting to pike alot easier. Pike hunt by feel and they'll take large streamers that move water regardless of water clarity, just be sure to cover the water thoroughly. Cover the deep, slower runs and change flies frequently to see which ones trigger a strike.

Cimarron River .11 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Poor
The Cimarron River is dam controlled for the most part by Eagle Nest dam. The release is near ZERO and fishing is poor. Once again, I'll say it, but it needs to be said to the right people and by more people. This is a river that can offer year round angling and is a big economic draw for this part of New Mexico. WE NEED YEAR ROUND INSTREAM FLOWS! As winter progresses, fishing will slow even more and you'll have top go elsewhere.

Jemez Mountain Streams 20 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Slow to Fair
The lower streams like the East Fork above Battleship Rock and the main stem Jemez have more water and are fishing fair from mid-day on. Forest Road 376 is closed limiting access on the Guadalupe. The main stem Jemez River did get stocked this past week.

The Chama River above the village of Chama; Poor: below the town of Tierrra Amarilla; Slow: 197 cfs below El Vado Dam; Fair to Good: and 175 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Fair to Good
I am hoping that major releases are done out of both dams. We should be in stable winter flows and therefore better fishing. I'd still check the flows before you make that drive to one of the tailwaters. The fishing is good below El Vado using big nymphs with flash and sparkle or streamers. Cover the tailouts of pools and hit the obvious seams. The release out of Abiquiu is also down and fishing is good. Baetis nymphs, midges, and crane fly larva are the usual flies for the Chama below Abiquiu. Construction of another turbine facility at Abiquiu Dam can muddy up the river, but fishing edges and riffles can still be good. 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 364 cfs at Granite; Slow: 430 cfs at Salida; Fair to Good
The release out of Twin Lakes has been increased and the river is back up. Fishing is fair near Salida. The brown trout spawn is mostly done and fish are holding in their winter lies in the deeper pools. They tend to feed harder with the warmer weather, and seem to be rather selective. Big stone fly nymphs with a size 20 black midge pupa has been the most productive set up.

Animas River 185 cfs at Durango; Fair to Good
The Animas is fairly clear and fishing well. A weighted nymphs with a trailing midge or pheasant tail drifted and swung along the banks will pick up some fish. Some good streamer fishing early morning or at dusk. I've had a few good reports from town south into Southern Ute water.

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 change 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.