Sunday, January 29, 2017

The January 30, 2017 Fly Fishing Report for Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado

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Winter storms 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 506 cfs below Navajo Dam; Good
Navajo Lake has turned over and the river out of the dam is murky. Fishing as always is good as long as your tactics match the conditions. Go with a little larger version of the usual flies or add something with some flash or sparkle. Streamers work well at this time as does the old stand-by, the San Juan worm. The release below Navajo Dam has gone up which should help spread the fish and anglers out and keep some warmer water flowing further downstream. 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.  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  3.6 on the Rio Mora; Slow:  Ice on the Pecos near Terrero; Slow  
Fishing has slowed a lot 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. 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 and fishing is slow. Please respect the landowners and stay out of any private property along the river.

Rio Grande 356 cfs at Cerro; Slow: 498 cfs at Pilar; Slow for trout, Slow to Fair for pike, Slow for smallmouth bass
The Rio Grande Gorge is a natural cold sink, so when we get these near zero degree nights, it takes a lot of sun energy to warm things up. Better fishing is around the corner with spring coming on. If you go, 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 has also slowed but will rebound quickly with a few degrees warmer water temps. Your best bet for them is a large streamers that move water.

Jemez Mountain Streams  24fs above Jemez Pueblo; Slow to Fair
The lower main stem Jemez or the lower Guadalupe from Gilman Tunnels downstream would be your best places to fish here. Expect things to be slow until mid-day after some warming has taken place. Be methodical and near the bottom with small nymphs to catch fish. The Fishing Program on the Valles Caldera National Preserve is now under National Park Service rules. There is no longer a reservation system or designated fishing seasons. 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: 101 cfs below El Vado Dam; Fair: and 79 cfs below Abiquiu Dam; Good
The upper Chama area is one of the colder parts of the state and temps have dipped well below freezing so fishing is definitely slow. The river flowing into El Vado Reservoir is also quite cold. The fishing can be better below Heron Dam outlet with warmer water pouring from the dam. The release below El Vado is wadeable. This low flow unfortunately does not send as much warm water flowing downriver so the best fishing is around Coopers. A release greater than 400 cfs makes crossing the river impossible. I find the fishing best between 200 and 300 cfs. 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.  It could benefit from a higher release as well for better fishing downriver. It's clear 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  169 cfs at Durango; Slow  
The Animas is at 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 13 cfs below Platoro Reservoir; Slow: Ice at Mogote; Slow 
The Conejos is best left alone for the anglers sake for another month or so. It does have a fantastic pre-runoff window starting late February until early April. Be patient as good fishing is only a few weeks away.

Arkansas River 246 cfs at Granite; Slow to Fair: 437 cfs at Salida; Slow to Fair 
The water is a bit colder above the Twin Lakes outflow up into Hayden Meadows. The release out of TwinLakes is at 204 cfs and decent fishing can be had below the outflow into the Ark. I would also suspect decent fishing downstream of Salida into Big Horn Sheep Canyon on the warmer days. 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.

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