Monday, December 23, 2013

Ed's Fly Fishing Report for Monday December 23, 2013

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Learn more at

San Juan River 234 cfs below Navajo Dam; Good
Good cloudy day baetis hatches and midges are also hatching up and down the whole quality water section. Fish above Texas Hole up to the dam in the morning for midging fish. Pay attention to the behavior of the fish. They are working mid-column and are not on the bottom. The best colors are a black larvae or pupa, or gray or olive larvae and pupa.The BWO hatch is still coming off below Texas Hole around 12:30. The hatch is anywhere from lower Texas hole down to the end of bait  water. Foam wings and Johnny flash are working while the baetis are active. Watch out for moss on your flies. The fish will not take them if your rig isn't clean. With lower flows the bites will be lighter and you will have to fish shallow rigs to avoid hanging up on the bottom of the river. San Juan worms, leaches, red or orange larvae or egg patterns become more useful. The Special Trout Water section is all catch and release and has a two fly only rule. If you see someone in violation, turn them into Game and Fish at 1-800-432-4263. 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!

Pecos River   ice near Pecos; Slow: at Villanueva State Park; Fair to Good 
Villanueva Stae Park has had it's first stocking of the season. Egg patterns, copper johns in bright colors and buggers tend to work on the stockers. Fishing ought to be good this holiday week, or at least until it gets fished out. Game and Fish has not re-stocked the upper Pecos below Terrero, but some fish may have moved downstream since this summer. Better fish density and definitely better fishing is still above Terrero. The river looks great after the ton of rain we had in September flushed a lot of the ash and sediment from the streambed. We have seen some bug life as far down as Windy Bridge and are seeing some fish down here as well. The outlook for the Pecos for next year is looking more promising everyday. Keep your fingers crossed that we don't get a lot of flooding with next summer's rains. Currently the fishing program is suspended at Pecos National Historical Park until spring. To check for dates and availability for the 2014 spring fishing season see the Park's website at for more info. 

Rio Grande 308 cfs at Cerro; Fair to Good: 482 cfs at Pilar; Slow for pike, Fair to Good for trout, Slow for smallmouth bass
The Rio is at a nice wadeable level and fairly clear. It will fish better on warmer days and really after a warm night. The most active bugs are midges although you can get a short lived baetis hatch on overcast days. . The hatches of blue winged olives has been sporadic, but nymphing has been very productive. Small pheasant tails, oops fly, anato-mays, and micromays are picking up quite a few of the feeding fish. Streamers and bigger fare like crane fly larva are working on the pre-spawn browns. The bigger more flashy nymphs and streamers will likely be easier for the fish to see until things clear up a bit. Please be aware of the spawners and if you see them, leave them alone. The smallmouth are not eating like they did mid-summer but a few are still eating nymphs and streamers.Pike fishing is slow. Large streamers that move water will still get a pike's attention. Vary your retrieves and change up the color of your flies to see which ones trigger a bite.

Jemez Mountain Streams  10 cfs above Jemez Pueblo;  Slow to Fair
The lower Jemez River got it's first stocking as a winter trout water last week. The lower Jemez, the lower Guadalupe, and even the East Fork up from Battleshop Rock can fish well during the winter. The fish will eat nymphs 99 percent of the time, but try a dry dropper rig just as an easy presentation in the low clear water you'll see in the winter. The upper streams are colder and fishing is much slower and hrader to get to. The Fishing Program on the Valles Caldera National Predserve is over for this year. Please see their website for details or to make a reservation for the 2014 season at

Cimarron River  23 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; No Reports
The release out of Eagle Nest Dam is surprisingly up from a normal flow for this time of year. I haven't had any reports, but it might make for a good place to go as other winter trout waters near Taos get crowded for the holidays. Think small like baetis and midges and stay fairly close to the dam for the warmest water and most active fish.

Chama River  233 cfs below El Vado Dam; Fair to Good: and 79 cfs below Abiquiu Dam;  Fair to Good
 The water clarity below Abiquiu has improved with about a 30 inches of visibility. The release is down from earlier in the month but should remain fairly steady. Bigger flashier nymphs or streamers with a trailing beatis or midge pattern would be the way to go. The release below El Vado isdown slightly. I like the extra water here. It makes it harder for people to fish over the spawners. Same flies and tactics as below Abiquiu. The Chama River above El Vado and below Abiquiu are Special Trout Waters with reduced bag limits. Please report anyone over harvesting there to New Mexico Game and Fish at 1-800-432-4263.

In Southern Colorado:

Animas River 221 cfs at Durango; Slow to Fair
The Animas is fishing fair especially near Durango and down into the Southern Ute waters. The water is colder and fishing is slower the farther you go upstream.. Fishing the deeper runs and pools with big stonefly nymphs and a trailing baetis nymph and streamers are getting some fish or cover the deeper runs with streamers..    

Arkansas River ice at Granite; Slow to Fair: 265 cfs at Salida; Slow to Fair
The fishing is slow from Salida upstream. The frigid temps in the valley have had their impact on water temps. Consider fishing way downstream of Salida down to the Royal Gorge or give the tailwater below Pueblo Reservoir a try. It's winter time and the fish tend to hold in deeper water and may come out to feed if there is midge or blue winged olive activity. The best fishing will be in the warmest part of the day, generally from 11-3.  Fish in the deeper runs mid-channel in the and cover the shallow riffles from mid-day on if you see active surface feeding. .

It's autumn in New Mexico and water and fishing conditions can change with the weather! 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.

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.

Click on Public Lands Information Center from our links page for a full list of fire restrictions and closures.