Updated December 6, 2023
The winter weather changes the fishing everywhere! Mountain streams are fishing slower these days. The bigger rivers are holding on and still fishing well.
Hatches: some midges
Patterns: small dries,(as an indicator), micomays, perdigons, zebra midges, miracle nymphs, jujube's
The river is low and cold. Ice is forming in some of the darker, less sunny sections of the river. Fish are now in their winter lies. They hold in the deeper pockets and pools. They will eat, provided you are patient enough to thoroughly cover the water and use some of your smallest flies. Use 5x or lighter tippets and utilize a longer cast. The best time to get out is when the sun hits the water. Mornings have been slow until that happens. Small buoyant flies like an elk hair caddis are a better indicator these days than a dry fly. Small #18 to #20 midge patterns like a zebra midges or baetis nymphs like micromays, Barr's emergers, and perdigons are picking up some of the feeders.
The Pecos National Historical Park's autumn fishing season ended November 13th. Fishing there generally resumes in February. See the Park's website at http://www.nps.gov/peco/planyourvisit/fishing.htm for more info on the fishing seasons.
Village of Chama
Hatches: blue-winged olives
Patterns: Crane Bombs, Mop Flies, Sculpzillas, HDA Fave Variants
Below El Vado
- Patterns: Crane Bombs, Mop Flies, Blunts, Sculpzillas, Searchers
Patterns: Crane Bombs, Mop Flies, Sculpzillas, Zebra Midges, Searchers
Village of Chama: The upper Chama in the Sargent Wild Life Area is very low and cold. Snow in this area is hindering access. A patient angler nymphing with small midge and baetis offering could pick up a fish or two but it is pretty much done for the season.
Near Heron: The river here is slowing with the cooler weather. Fishing here is another game of patience. Fish do have the ability to refuge in El Vado and may have made that move now that the spawn is coming to a close. Please don't be that guy and target the spawners! Let them do the deed so we can keep the fishing quality. The "stairs" at Heron Lake State Park off of NM Highway 95 is still closed.
Below El Vado: The release is down to 100 and will stay that way for a while. Expect the release to go even lower in the coming months. Streamers and big nymphs are the medicine here. Dry fly fishing doesn't exist with the murky water out of the dam.
Below Abiquiu: The release here is all over the place. The fluctuating release has negatively affected the fishing here due to ongoing work on the dam. No word on when the work will be done, but I'll post it as soon as I learn the details.
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: blue-winged olives, hoppers
Patterns for the Rio: Crane Bombs, Warden's Worries, Pre-rolls, HDA Fave Variants, Blow Torchs, Pink Tags
For Los Pinos, Cimarron, Rio Pueblo, Santa Barbara: hoppers, parachute adams, chubby chernobyl's, purple haze
The Rio Grande is low and clear for the Rio anyway. Nymph rigs with cranefly larvae and baetis has been one of the best combos. Streamers like sculpzillas are also producing early and late in the day. The surrounding mountain streams have colder water and fishing is much slower. The Santa Barbara, the Cimarron are pretty much done due to low water and cold conditions. The Rio del Pueblo mid-day is better. The release below Costilla dam has been lowered and is pretty much over until next spring.
Jemez Mountain Streams
Hatches: Blue-winged olives
Patterns: Baetis Bombs, HDA Favorites, Kingfisher Hopper, Chubby Chernobyl
The lower Jemez Mountain streams are all fishing fair. Water is low and clear so a longer cast and fine tippets help. The upper tribs like the East Fork out of the Caldera, The San Antonio along Highway 126, and the Cebolla have the coldest water temps and are going to be slower than the Jemez, the East Fork above Battleship or the Guad. Those waters are fishing better mid-day. A small beadhead dropper under a hopper is the rig.
The Valles Caldera is closed to fishing until next May. For more information on fishing Valles Caldera, please see their website for info at http://www.vallescaldera.gov/comevisit/fish/index.aspx. Reservations are made through Recreaton.Gov.
The Fishing Program on the Valles Caldera National Preserve is now under National Park Service rules. Please see the Preserve's website for more details.
San Juan River
The San Juan is at it's near it's normal flow of 315 cfs.
Hatches: blue-winged olives, midges
Patterns: red annelids, San Juan worms, zebra midges, egg patterns
The release on the San Juan is down for the season. It's still a midge game in the mornings and baetis in the afternoons, especially below Texas hole.
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, hoppers
Patterns: Pat's rubberlegs, Frenchies, micromays, HDA Fave Variants,
Hatches: some blue-winged olives
Patterns: micromays, red annelids, San Juan worms, stonefly nymphs
The release out of Platoro is way down to a winter flow of 11 cfs. The main stem is currently at 57 at Mogote. Best mid-day with a dry dropper rig and small baetis nymphs or midges.