Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Sunday May 28, 2017 Fly Fishing Report for Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado

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Spring snowmelt 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 4790 cfs below Navajo Dam; Fair to Good
The Bureau of Rec has started the Peak Spring Release out of Navajo Dam. Fishing here will remain as good as ever. Expect some moss and vegetation to get kicked up initially and the fish will be redistributed, but that should shake itself out fairly quickly. Be careful if you are wading the river; you can still access much of the upper flats area by foot, or consider hiring a guide with a boat. Currently it's 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. Even thought the baetis hatches are waning and not bringing a lot of fish to the surface, they 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 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. 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   95 on the Rio Mora; Slow: 245 cfs on the Pecos near Terrero; Slow to Fair 
You can still fish the Pecos, but it will require throwing quite a bit of weight to get to where the fish are holding. Wading is tough and crossing the river is pretty much impossible. Look for areas that naturally hold fish like the big holes around Dalton, Windy Bridge, and Willow Creek. The typical two fly nymph rig with a large stonefly nymph with a smaller trailing fly under an indicator has been the best producer. European style nymphing works even better in the faster currents. Eggs, San Juan worms and flies with some flash should also be on the menu. Panchuela and Holy Ghost Creeks have a little less water and might offer an alternative to the main stem. Please respect the landowners and stay out of any private property along the river. The National Park Service will reopen the fishing season on Pecos National Historical Park starting June 15th. Please see the Park's website for more information.

Rio Grande 1480 cfs at Cerro; Slow: 2290 cfs at Pilar; Slow to for trout, Slow for pike, Slow for smallmouth bass
The Rio is high and murky from spring snow melt on the tribs. Visibility is less than a foot. The caddis hatch is pretty much done although you might see some here and there.  If you go, use big nymphs such as big crane flies or stoneflies or throw streamers. At least with a streamer, you never know what you'll get but your chances of catching something will increase. Pike fishing is slow. Your best bet for them is a large streamers that move water. There is also lots of rafting traffic around Pilar.

Jemez Mountain Streams  89 cfs above Jemez Pueblo;  Fair to Good
The upper reaches of the San Antonio, East Fork, and Cebolla are the best bets for fishing in the Jemez. Try a dry dropper rig just as an easy presentation in the lower flows and less murky water you'll see upriver. The lower Jemez and Guadalupe are high, fast, and murky. No reports of stoneflies flying yet but the hatch is imminent! Fish the edgewater and obvious pockets. Fish are keying in on larger flies like stonefly nymphs. A two fly rig with a stone trailing a smaller caddis nymph or an attractor like a copper john should be working. 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 fisrt 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  651 cfs above the village of Chama; Poor: 2450 cfs above El Vado Reservoir; Poor: 2960 cfs below El Vado Dam; Slow: and 1800 cfs below Abiquiu Dam;  Poor 
The upper Chama in the Sargent WMA is too high and fast. Wait a month or so. The river flowing into El Vado is very high and fast and will have the same time frame. The release below El Vado is very high to fish and wade safely. We'll have to wait and see how much water gets delivered downstream. Good fishing could return here in a month or so. The river below Abiquiu is very high and murky and wading would be extremely dangerous at these levels. Probably have to wait until autumn to fish here again.The Chama River above El Vado Reservoir, downstream of the stream gauge at Cooper's Ranch,  and below Abiquiu Dam are Special Trout Waters with reduced bag limits or catch and release only rules. Please report anyone to New Mexico Game and Fish at 1-800-432-4263.

Cimarron River .70 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Fair to Good: 36 cfs at Cimarron; Fair to Good
The release out of Eagle Nest Dam is rather low. It'll likely remain this way until runoff subsides and irrigators call for water. Fortunately trib flow starting with Tolby Creek at the upper end of the state park adds to the flow. Gauging at the low flows recorded at Cimarron, I suspect the river to be quite fishable toward the eastern end of the park. Scuds, red midge larvae, baetis nymphs, and golden stonefly nymphs have been reported to be working on the river. This place will provide somewhere to fish now that runoff seems to be affecting most of the other local waters.

In Southern Colorado:

Animas River  2390 cfs at Durango; Slow 
The Animas is in full runoff. The water is high and murky. Fishing with streamers and big nymphs like stoneflies with some flash will still get the trout's attention just take caution while wading. No reports from other area waters.

The Conejos River 344 cfs below Platoro Reservoir; Fair: 1540 cfs at Mogote; Slow to Fair
The Conejos has come way up in flow over the last few weeks like everything else. The release out of Platoro has varied quite a bit, but I have had good reports from people fishing in the meadows. The water is murkier and the wading is much tougher on the lower river. Dredging the deeper runs with stone fly nymphs and San Juan worms seems to be the most successful tactic. I haven't had any reports on the tribs. They could fish well also as long is it's not the one contributing runoff.

Rio Grande at Thirty Mile Bridge; Slow to Fair: 2020 cfs at Wagon Wheel Gap; Slow to Fair
Dam release is probably accounting for most of the water on the upper Rio Grande near Creede although the stream gauge is currently offline. Streamer fishing and nymph fishing has been good and there is been enough of a release out of Rio Grande Reservoir to float it. It's a little early for stoneflies. Should be another 3-4 weeks. Caddis are the only things flying, but the fish aren't in a rising mood.  

Pagosa Area- Piedra River 1180 cfs at Arboles; Slow; San Juan River 1370 cfs at Pagosa Springs; Slow
High water and from snowmelt has hit these area waters like everything else. Maybe some of the headwater streams or smaller tribs or Williams Creek below the reservoir., I haven't had any reports from here but looking at stream flows doesn't make me hopeful for decent fishing for at least another few weeks.

Arkansas River 525 cfs at Granite; Slow to Fair: 7500 cfs at Salida; Slow to Fair
The fishing is easiest upstream of the Twin Lakes outflow to Hayden Meadows. You can fish downstream of Salida into Big Horn Sheep Canyon although the flows there make fishing out of a boat your best option. Flows can change with a release out of Twin Lakes, or Clear Creek reservoir. The clearest water will be upstream of Chalk Creek to Hayden Meadows. 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 spring time 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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