Thursday, October 12, 2017

The October 12, 2017 Fly Fishing Report for Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado

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Autumn weather 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 
Flow: 448 cfs below Navajo Dam
Fishing: Good
Visibility: Good, Clear
Water Temp: Cold, 42-45 degrees
Hatches: Midges in Quality Water, BWO's below Quality Water 
Patterns: Bling Midge, Jujube Midge, Johnny Flash, Pure Fire Midge, Low Water Baetis
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. Baetis hatches are getting better every day and a good cloudy day can bring 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   
Flows: 74 cfs on the Rio Mora, 177 cfs on the Pecos below Terrero 
Fishing: Fair to Good 
Visibility: 2-3 feet
Water Temp: Cold,  High Forties to Low Fifties
Hatches: Blue Winged Olives, Terrestrials
Patterns: Para Hoppers, Low Water Baetis, Tungsten Micro Mays
The Pecos River is still flowing rather high after all of the rain we've had over the past two weeks. The wading is easier and the water is clearer upriver of Terrero. Some caddis and and blue winged olives are out but not bringing much fish to the surface. Hoppers will get a look, but more often than not it's the dropper that is getting attention. Go with a little bigger fly with a bit of flash or that is darkly colored to contrast with the water color. Copper johns are a good choice as are twenty inchers, pat's rubber legs, and tungsten salvations. Please respect the landowners and stay out of any private property along the river. The fishing season on Pecos National Historical Park runs through November 6th. The Park's website is lacking information, but there is a phone number you'll need to call to make a reservation.

Rio Grande
Flows: 386 cfs at Cerro, 608 cfs at Pilar
Fishing: Slow for trout, Slow for pike, Slow for smallmouth bass
Visibility: Fair, Less than 2 feet
Water Temp: Cool, High Fifties for now
Hatches: Sporadic Insignificant Baetis
Patterns: Crane Bombs, Warden's Worries, Searchers, Gongas, Butt Monkeys 
The Rio has come up in flow and got murky with the rains over the past couple of weeks. It'll be a week or so until we see the clarity we expect for fall through winter. If you go, show them some nymphs on the bigger side like crane fly larvae or streamers. The smallies will be in the slowest part of the river looking for crawdads on the bottom. Drag crayfish patterns and woolly buggers through those spots. Pike fishing is slow. Your best bet for them is a large streamers that move water. They require more room than trout or smallmouth so look for a bigger slow run or pool.

Jemez Mountain Streams  
Flows: 28 cfs below Jemez Pueblo
Fishing:  Good
Visibility: Slightly Off-color
Water Temps: Upper Forties to  Low Fifties
Hatches: Blue Winged Olives, Terrestrials 
Patterns: Purple Haze, More or Less Hoppers, Hippy Stompers, Tungsten Salvations
River levels here are fine and not nearly as high as the Sangre de Cristo streams. The fall colors are also better than the Sangre's. Get it while it's good. Not much hatching, but they'll still take an attractor like a humpy or hippy stomper and better yet if there is a small beadhead hanging off the back.

Chama River 
Flows: 15 cfs above Chama; 139 cfs above El Vado; 345 cfs below El Vado Reservoir, 654 cfs below Abiquiu Dam
Fishing: Good, above El Vado all the way to Colorado, Fair below the El Vado Dam
Visibility: Good, transparent-2 feet plus above El Vado; Fair,less than a foot below El Vado.
Water Temps: Cold, Upper Forties on Natural River, Upper Forties on on Tailwaters 
Hatches: Blue Winged Olives's
Patterns: Low Water Baetis, Tungsten Micro Mays, Bat Wing Emergers, Searchers, Sculpzillas 
The upper Chama in the Sargent WMA is low and clear. It's still good fishing although the morning ca be slow. The river flowing into El Vado above the Heron outflow is low and clear. I've had reports of a high release from Heron Dam, but I suspect that the release out of Heron is mirroring the declining releases out of Abiquiu and El Vado. Watch out for redds and don not target spawning fish! The release below El Vado looks like it's trending towards a normal fall schedule. 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 at least the end of the month to fish here. 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 
Flows: 1.2 cfs below Eagle Nest Dam
Fishing: Slow to Fair
Visibility: Good, very low flows below dam, clear 
Water Temps: Upper Forties to Low Fifties
Hatches: Blue Winged Olive's
Patterns: Bat Wing Emergers, HDA Favorites, Low Water Baetis, Parachute Baetis, RS2's
The release out of Eagle Nest Dam is really low and the release will not improve until spring. 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 samll hoppers have been reported to be working on the river. The are better place to fish that won't put so much stress on them. Consider Red River over Bobcat Pass.

In Southern Colorado:

Animas River  
Flows: 261 cfs at Durango
Fishing: Fair
Visibility: Fair 
Water Temps: Mid-Forties to Low Fifties
Hatches: Blue Winged Olives
Patterns: Purple Haze, Tungsten Micro Mays, Anato Mays, Sculpzillas, Hippy Streamers
The Animas is declining from our recent rains and fishing is getting good. There are some browns beginning to spawn so please avoid their redds and do not target spawning fish. .but still high for wading. Fishing with streamers and big nymphs like stoneflies with a trailing baetis nymph will still get the trout's attention.

The Conejos River
Flows: 104 cfs below Platoro Reservoir; 294 cfs at Mogote
Fishing: Good
Visibility: Good, Clear
Water Temps: Cold, Low Forties to High Forties
Hatches: Blue Winged Olive's 
Patterns: Twenty Bombs, HDA Fave Variants, Low Water Baetis, Tungsten Micro Mays
The Conejos is declining slowly, although the release out of Platoro is steady and at a nice level for now. Get it while it's good on the upper river as the release will go down below 10 cfs for the winter. It will ruin the fishing in the meadows once it does go down. At lower flows you can still fish the pocket water down into the Pinnacles. The water is clear and the wading is easy on the lower river. Fish any current break you can see as dredging the deeper runs is the least productive. .

Rio Grande 
Flows: 286 cfs at Wagon Wheel Gap
Fishing: Good
Visibility: Good
Water Temps: Low-Forties to High Forties
Hatches: Blue Winged Olives
Patterns: Low Water Baetis, Parachute Baetis, Tungsten Micro Mays, Bate Wing Emergers
The Rio here is low and clear offering up some great fall fishing. It's bankers hours fishing as the mornings can be chilly. Browns are into their spawn so be wary of any redds and please do not target spawning fish. Hopper droppers can still be productive when there isn't a hatch. 

Pagosa Area
Flows: Piedra River 129 cfs at Arboles;  San Juan River 182 cfs at Pagosa Springs
Fishing: Good
Visibility: Good
Water Temps: Low Forties to High Forties
Hatches: Blue Winged Olives
Patterns: Purple Haze, Low Water Baetis, Kingfisher Hoppers, HDA Favorite, Split Case BWO
This are did get some rain but declining flows are giving way to excellent fall fishing. Let things warm up before you go. It's definitely bankers hours. Try dru dropper rigs if there isn't a hatch of blue wings.

Arkansas River
Flows: 298 cfs at Granite; 498 cfs at Salida
Fishing: Good
Visibility: Goos
Water Temps: Low Forties to High Forties
Hatches: Blue Winged Olive's
Patterns: Purple Haze, Tungsten Micro Mays, Split Case BWO, Juju Baetis, Parachute Baetis
The fishing is easiest upstream of the Twin Lakes outflow to Hayden Meadows. Downstream of Salida into Big Horn Sheep Canyon the river is a little bigger and wading is tough. Fish in the deeper runs mid-channel in the morning and cover the shallow riffles from mid-day on if you see active surface feeding. .

It's autumn 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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