Sunday, December 11, 2016

The December 11, 2016 Fly Fishing Report for Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado

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Autumn rains and changes in dam release can affect your fishing plans. You can check on current flows before you go by clicking on New Mexico Stream Flows or Colorado Stream Flows here or from our links page.

San Juan River 366 cfs below Navajo Dam; Good
The release below Navajo Dam has gone up from 255 cfs which should help spread the fish and anglers out and keep some warmer water flowing further downstream. It's still a midges game. Long line nymphing with a standard attractor and midge larvae set up. Fish pupa patterns higher up in the column around 10 or 11 am and dries mid-day. The fish seem to key in on baetis patterns after lunch until the evening when midges become the favorite trout food again. Black and olive midge larvae and pupa in the #24-28 range are the top producers near the dam especially in the mornings. Move down river after lunch to get the baetis hatch. Chocolate and gray have been the best baetis colors in a size 22-24. Johnny flash and foam wing emergers are among the favorites.  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  7.2 on the Rio Mora; Slow:  Ice on the Pecos near Terrero; Slow  
Fishing has slowed with the colder temps. There is ice on some of the shaded stretches that don't see a lot of sun. You can catch fish, but you'll have to be rather methodical and take advantage of the warmer water in the afternoons. n the day. The water is low and clear necessitating longer leader, finer tippets and smaller flies like baetis or midge patterns. Micromays, bat wing emergers, and split case bwo's work great. The Rio Mora is low but fishing OK. Please respect the landowners and stay out of any private property along the river.

Rio Grande 206 cfs at Cerro; Good: 629 cfs at Pilar; Fair for trout, Fair for pike, Slow for smallmouth bass
The Rio came up as was expected when the irrigation canals in Colorado stopped getting water diverted from the river. The Rio is a great fall through spring fishery giving you other options as the fishing slows in the mountains. Throw big nymphs such as big crane flies or stoneflies and trail a smaller baetis pattern. Streamers will also move some fish and at least with a streamer, you never know what you'll get. Pike fishing is picking up as well. Your best bet for them is a large streamers that move water.

Jemez Mountain Streams  32 cfs above Jemez Pueblo; Slow to Fair
Colder weather has slowed the fishing here and on most mountain streams. The Jemez streams are low and the water is clear making the case for a longer leader and finer tippets. Rigs with a small baetis nymph or midge works well. The Fishing Program on the Valles Caldera National Preserve is now under National Park Service rules. There is no longer a reservation system. It's all first come first served until all of the backcountry access permits are issued for the day.  Please see the Preserve's website for more details. 

Chama River  above Chama; Slow: Ice above El Vado Reservoir; Slow: 206 cfs below El Vado Dam; Fair to Good: and 244 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Good
The upper Chama area is one of the colder parts of the state and temps have dipped below freezing so fishing is a little slow. The river flowing into El Vado Reservoir can be high below the Heron Dam outlet. The fishing can be better below Heron Dam outlet with warmer water pouring from the dam. The release below El Vado is finally down to a wadeable flow and has been stable for a couple of weeks. A release greater than 400 cfs makes crossing the river impossible. Streamers, stonefly nymphs and cranefly larvae are the top flies on the river flowing out of El Vado. The release below Abiquiu Dam is also down to a great level for fishing. It's murky, but clearing and people are catching fish. The same fly choices below El Vado would work here. 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  208 cfs at Durango; Slow to Fair 
The Animas is at a decent level and clarity. Fishing streamers and covering water is the most productive. tactic. Nymph rigs dredging the obvious seams can also produce.

The Conejos River 25 cfs below Platoro Reservoir; Slow: Ice at Mogote; Slow to Fair
The Conejos is fishing fairly well as long as your fly choices are beatis or baetis or midges. The release out of Platoro is good for the moment. Hit this stretch of the river before the water managers turn the flow down to almost nothing. The current release makes for some easy wading. I've had better reports down low from Mogote Campground or Aspen Glade than the fly water. Work the riffled water for the best success.

Arkansas River 188 cfs at Granite; Slow to Fair: 373 cfs at Salida; Fair to Good 
The water is a bit colder above the Twin Lakes outflow up into Hayden Meadows.  I have had good reports downstream of Salida into Big Horn Sheep Canyon. Fish hold just off of the shelves mid-day and are taking,  you guessed it, blue winged olives. 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 and water flows can change with the weather! Please CALL the fly shop for the latest in stream flows and water conditions.

For the most current stream flow data, see our links page or click here for New Mexico Stream Flows. or here for Colorado Steam Flows.

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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 here for the Public Lands Information Center for a full list of fire restrictions and closures.