Updated January 20, 2023
Winter is upon us and conditions have changed. Now is the time to fish the Chama tailwaters and the Rio Grande. Fish the warmest part of the day and use smaller flies.
Hatches: some midges and even less blue-winged olives
Patterns: egg patterns, zebra midges, micro mayflies
The river is clear and cold. The river has ice along the edges and gets worse towards Cowles. Fishing is quite slow. Villanueva State Park has been stocked, but the reports from there are not great. Wait until the next stocking.
The Pecos National Historical Park's fall fishing season ended November !4th. See the Park's website at http://www.nps.gov/peco/planyourvisit/fishing.htm for more info.
Village of Chama
Hatches: some midges, maybe
Patterns: Micromays, Perdichingons, Zebra Midges,
Below El Vado
- Patterns: Crane Bombs, Mop Flies, Twenty Bombs, Sculpzillas, Searchers
Patterns: Crane Bombs, Mop Flies, Sculpzillas, Stone Bombs, HDA Fave Variants
No Gage Available
Patterns: Crane Bombs, Mop Flies, Sculpzillas, Zebra Midges, Searchers
Village of Chama: The upper Chama is iced over in the Sargents WMA. There is some open water below town but the fishing is slow.
Near Heron: The fishing here has taken a hit with the onset of winter and the colder weather and water that brings. The "stairs" at Heron Lake State Park off of NM Highway 95 is still closed. The Heron outflow is very murky so is you go stay above that.
Below El Vado: The release out of El Vado is steady. The elevation here makes it colder than the tailwater out of Abiquiu Dam. Expect the river to be murky so use flies that have some flash and a little color.
Below Abiquiu: The release here is is down to something fishable. The water is incredibly clear so use light tippets and consider 6x fluoro! It's all about midges. Black larvae patterns first thing in the morning, then look for pupa to start their upward ascent around noon. Crane fly larvae and egg patterns make a great attractor fly. Trail a zebra midge off of that.
The Chama River above El Vado Reservoir in the Rio Chama Wildlife Area, 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. The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam has a daily bag limit of 3 fish.
Rio Grande, Taos Area Waters
Hatches: some midges, even less Blue-winged olives
Patterns: Crane Bombs, Warden's Worries, Searchers, HDA Fave Variants, Beatis Bombs, Zebra Midges
The Rio Grande is cold and not fishing well. That may improve with a few days of warm weather. Pilar will have warmer water than the gorge so focus on the lower river. Similarly to the Chama, use a crane fly larva, San Juan worm or egg patterns trailed by a zebra midge or small perdigon. Try some bigger bunny leeches for pike. They are out and one of those casst could result in a catch.
Jemez Mountain Streams
Hatches: midges, Blue-winged Olives
Patterns: Queen Prince, HDA Favorites, Baetis Bombs
The lower Jemez River and the Guadalupe around Gilman Tunnels are the only streams as whole that are fishing okay mid-day. It's a great place for those looking for a smalle, less crowded place than the Chama below Abiquiu Dam. Mornings are slower with colder temps affecting the fishing. Water levels are more suitable to a dry dropper set up. Expect more fish on the dropper For more information on fishing the Valles Caldera next spring, please see their website for info at http://www.vallescaldera.gov/comevisit/fish/index.aspx
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.
San Juan River
Navajo Lake State Park and the San Juan River Quality waters are now open!
Hatches: blue-winged olives, midges
Patterns: UV Midge Emergers, Bling Midges, Johnny Flash, Split-Case BWO's
It's midge time on the San Juan! The release out of the dam has been somewhat steady for quite a while now. Typically it's midges in the late mornings and evenings until the blue-winged olives get out of bed around noon. Please support the local Navajo Dam shops if you need stuff. They have had a tough time with COVID.
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!
Hatches: some blue-winged olives
Patterns: Pat's rubberlegs, Frenchies, micromays, HDA Fave Variants, caddis dries
Hatches: hoppers, some blue-winged olives
Patterns: micromays, red annelids, Zebra midges, uv midge emerger, PMD's, green drakes, caddis dries
The release out of Platoro is down to 8 cfs. Better fishing and warmer water can be found down river around Magote. Not much flying anywhere on the river except for a handful of blue winged-olives on a cloudy afternoon. The lower river is at a great level for early season nymphing, although the water is a little too cold.