Friday, June 16, 2017

The Friday June 16, 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 4880 cfs below Navajo Dam; Fair to Good
The Peak Spring Release out of Navajo Dam is underway. 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   35 on the Rio Mora; Fair: 127 cfs on the Pecos near Terrero; Fair to Good 
Stoneflies are out on the lower river. They are past Dalton and Windy Bridge, and are heaviest from Terrero to Mora Campground. Wading is a bit easier with declining runoff. 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. Dry flies are getting more attention also with less water. Stimulators, gray drakes and caddis dries should be in your box. 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 852 cfs at Cerro; Slow: 1480 cfs at Pilar; Slow to for trout, Slow for pike, Slow for smallmouth bass
The Rio has come down in flow a lot over the past week. It may be from heavier diversion in Colorado now that it got hot, but even flows well above the reservoirs are dropping fast. Visibility is still only about a foot. There may be a small window here for decent trout fishing. If the water clears up a bit and the temps are cool enough for happy trout in the next couple of weeks. Please do not target trout here if the water temps are in the mid-sixties. It could be lethal for them. Go for the smallie instead. They will be in the slowest part of the river looking for crawdads on the bottom. Crawdad petterns and wolly buggers dragged through those spots keep you away from the trout. Pike fishing is slow. Your best bet for them is a large streamers that move water. Choose your places wisely . There is lots of rafting traffic around Pilar.

New Mexico Highway 4 is closed from it's juntion with NM Highway 501 west to the junction of NM Highway 126 due to the Cajete Fire. The Valles Caldera is closed as well as any access to the East Fork along Highway 4. Expect heavy fire traffic on Highway 4 from La Cueva south.

Jemez Mountain Streams  20 cfs above Jemez Pueblo;  Good
River levels are declining as a whole in the Jemez Mountains. It's typical, but a little early this year. Get it while it's good. The declining flows and warmer temps will slow the fishing down as we move into summer. The upper reaches of the San Antonio and Cebolla continue to fish well. Try a dry dropper rig just as an easy presentation in the lower flows and clear water. The lower Jemez and Guadalupe still have stoneflies flying but they are dimishing in numbers. 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 Gilman tunnels are closed. The access to the Guadalupe is on Forest Road 376 from the north.

Chama River  461 cfs above the village of Chama; Slow: 703 cfs above El Vado Reservoir; Slow: 591 cfs below El Vado Dam; Fair: and 324 cfs below Abiquiu Dam;  Slow 
The upper Chama in the Sargent WMA is still high and fast. Keep checking. Flows less than 80 cfs are wadeable in this fast steep section of river. The river flowing into El Vado is declining rapidly, but wading is questionable. It's still high but stoneflies may be off and deep nymphing should produce. The release below El Vado looks like it's on the usual summer routine. Roughly a release of 600 cfs starting Friday at noon and going back down to 200 cfs on Sunday at noon. I've upgraded the fishing there as the lower release makes the river wadable and clarity is getting better also. The river below Abiquiu is down for the moment. Silt is getting flushed out of Abiquiu and the clarity isn't good. 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 violators to New Mexico Game and Fish at 1-800-432-4263.

Cimarron River 7.2 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam; Good: 21 cfs at Cimarron; Good
The release out of Eagle Nest Dam is rather low. It'll likely remain this way until irrigators call for water. Fortunately trib flow starting with Tolby Creek at the upper end of the state park adds to the flow. The Cimarron picks up even more water towards the eastern end of the state 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  2900 cfs at Durango; Slow 
The Animas is declining but still high for wading. Fishing with streamers and big nymphs like stoneflies with some flash will still get the trout's attention just take caution while wading.The is a lot of rafting traffic on the river especially close to Durango. No reports from other area waters.

The Conejos River 348 cfs below Platoro Reservoir; Fair: 1120 cfs at Mogote; Slow to Fair
The Conejos is declining, although the release out of Platoro is literally all over the place. That makes the fishing the meadows kind of a crap shoot. At high flows, 150-400 cfs, it will fish well. At lower flows, expect the river just above the Pinnacles to fish well. The release for most angler, needs to be below 150 cfs to be able to wade the Pinnacles. The water is fairly clear, although 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.The big bugs of summer, pteronarcys stoneflies should be flying within days down low. I haven't had any reports on the tribs.

Rio Grande at Thirty Mile Bridge; Fair: 1640 cfs at Wagon Wheel Gap; Fair
Hard to tell what release is with the stream gauge being offline. It's probaly high enough to float but inquire locally. Stonelies should be off any day now followed by green drakes and PMD's.  

Pagosa Area- Piedra River 775 cfs at Arboles; Fair; San Juan River 999 cfs at Pagosa Springs; Slow to Fair
High water and from snowmelt is declining on these area waters like everywhere else. Most of the bigger waters are still high and impossible to wade, but the tribs may offer some place to fish. It won't be long before it will all fish well.

Arkansas River 1170 cfs at Granite; Slow: 2280 cfs at Salida; Slow
The fishing is easiest upstream of the Twin Lakes outflow to Hayden Meadows. Downstream of Salida into Big Horn Sheep Canyon the river is murky anfd fishing is tough. 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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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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