fly fishing grrl NM fishing report
find me on instagram @flyfishinggrrL and
on youtube: flyfishing grrl
find me on instagram @flyfishinggrrL and
on youtube: flyfishing grrl
I'm a teacher, and haven't gotten out fishing as much as I would like this last month, and definitely haven't had time to make any fishing videos. But, I've collected some good information on where to go and...where to not go.
The Jemez area streams are good, as always at this time of year, but things will shut down earlier this year due to the winter's drought. I had some fun on the Guadalupe a couple weekends ago, but the water level was low and the fish were wary. My best fish was a 12 inch cuttbow, but most of the afternoon was smaller browns. Do dry-dropper rigs here--I caught about 2/3 of the fish on the nymph and 1/3 on dry. A size 16ish brown pheasant tail seemed to do the trick. For most of the fishing, the dropper doesn't need to be very deep (no more than a foot), but you may want to change the depth when you reach some of the deeper pools.
The East Fork was good, but again I caught a lot of small guys. I did land one nice size brown for that size of stream--working on the video soon.
I had some fun at Fenton Lake a while ago too, but it was crowded and I didn't catch anything big (there's a theme here...). The evening and morning hours are where it's at there. If you have a float tube, bring it. It's really nice to get away from the crowds on the shore and it's fun to reach some of the areas where the steep bank and trees make it very difficult to fly fish from the shore.
A fishing buddy of mine (shout out to you, Pablo!), has fished the Pecos and had some luck. But...again, the water is low and the fishing is going to decline. The fish are being shy in the way they usually are in late summer. Here's to hoping we don't lose trout this summer to overheated streams!
And...drumroll... where not to go. SNOW LAKE.
My step-dad fished there last weekend, and he said it was disgusting. The water is very warm, weedy, and smelly. NMDGF is stocking it with trout, but it really sounds like the conditions are not at all healthy for them. He said he caught a trout that was infected with parasites--covered in sores and with worms (larva of some kind?) crawling out of the side of its body. I did not enjoy writing that last sentence...
But, if you want to try to catch some carp, go for it! The report is that there are many rising carp there, and I've heard they put up a fight.
I've been wanting to get down to the Gila to catch Gila trout, but with the drought conditions it really sounds like it's going to have to air for another year. It's quite a drive from Santa Fe, especially when there's good fishing 1-2 hours from my front door.
Thanks for reading! Find me on Instagram @flyfishinggrrl and don't forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel Flyfishing Grrl.
I've been to a few different places to fish in the last few weeks, and here are my tips.
Nambe Falls Lake has been fished out. It isn't worth the money. I fished there and got one strike, which I missed. Now I know the only good time to go there is before the fishing derby.
Streams in the Jemez are good to go, but the popular areas are being heavily fished so it isn't as good as it should be. Find someplace off the beaten path. Normal old dry-dropper rigs will do the trick. Some of the streams will be shutting down in the summer because of the lack of moisture, so make a trip in the next six weeks or so.
I haven't fished the Pecos, but based on the flow and past experience, things are starting to heat up out there. It'll be good.
Hot spot...Cimarron River. Even though the NMDGF website said it was slow, it seemed like conditions should be good so I gave it a try. I was right. I fished for a short couple hours in the afternoon and caught around 15 browns (it was the kind of fishing where you lose count and get into that fishing mindspace). A few of them were getting up to 12 inches, which I was happy about. They hit a stimulator a few times and loved my prince nymph. Nobody seemed to be out there. I hate to tell you this secret, but we're all on the same team.
I promise! I'm going fishing tomorrow, so I'll get you some updated information on what's happening out there.
I find this website useful, even though it's not fly fishing focused: http://www.jemezcentral.com/fishing-report/. They update regularly, and I've found the reports on the conditions to be very accurate. Thanks, Amanda's!
WOW. I'm very glad I made it out to opening day at Nambe Falls Lake. I've been living in the area for nearly 6 years, and the cost and lack of information always held me back from trying out this lake. I figured in order to get my money's worth, going on opening day was the way to go. I was right.
The ranger told me they stocked it with 3000 trout right at the end of the season last year and let them winter over. It was good to start the day off hearing news like that. The lake opens at 7 am, and I got there right around 7:45. I was excited to see fish rising...but by the time I got my float tube and rod ready, the sun was hitting the water and rises had settled down. I beat myself up a bit for not getting there earlier. But, at least I knew the fish were in there, and I had brought a nice supply of wooly buggers and pistol Pete's.
I caught my first fish on an olive pistol Pete about 4-5 feet down below my strike indicator (read: tiny bobber). They also went for a brown pistol Pete and a black and red wooly bugger. I found the fish seemed to congregate around the weeds. There didn't seem to be a stripping pattern they liked more than any others--they struck on faster strips, when I left the fly still, and when I paddled around and just trolled it. I didn't really get any strikes toward the middle of the lake, although I may not have had enough depth for the middle of the lake. I don't even own a sinking line.
In the end, I caught seven fish, all above fifteen inches. I also missed many strikes (an area of improvement for me is to get batter at strip sets with streamers... ) I really am a small stream gal in my fly fishing skill set.
So, if you feel like spending some money (full disclosure: fishing cost $15 and the permit for the float tube cost $18), give Name Falls Lake a try. They had a fishing derby the weekend after I fished, so I won't make any guarantees on how many fish are still in there. But, I did catch a cuttbow and a couple browns so I have hope that there is an okay self-sustained population of fish in there that will succumb to flies.
Video to come soon on Youtube. Find a few pictures on my Instagram @flyfishinggrrl.
Last week I had some superb fishing on the Jemez River proper. The rainbows seemed to be digging prince nymphs. I even caught a few on my "ugly caddis" pattern (it's essentially a big messy stimulator). I also caught two at Fenton on a snowy and frigid morning--and missed a good few strikes. I am always a bit slow in the spring at relearning how to set the hook when I'm casting out farther on a lake or bigger river. Check out my Instagram @flyfishinggrrl for some pictures.
Today I went to Monastery Lake (catching a bunch of stockers one after another is a guilty pleasure of mine sometimes). They were into prince nymphs and copper John's fished just a couple feet down. Right around 9:30 am it shut down with just a couple strikes after that. This is a good place to take a beginner to get them into some fish, especially once it is stocked at the summer levels (they put around 1000 fish in there, and you can sight fish for them as they circle around the lake in pods). This short trip I also got to help out some kids who were fishing with their martial arts studio. It was so rewarding to help a new generation of anglers get "hooked." Talk about very polite and eager to learn young people!
I am worried about the water levels already. Usually Monastery is a good bit higher by now. If there isn't any run-off going into the lake, the water may get to warm for trout and become unstockable. The Jemez fishing season is likely to be short and sweet. There is little to no run-off, and likely will begin getting too warm in the lower elevations by the beginning of summer. And of course, the fire season is going to heinous this year. Be careful out there with campfires.
I didn't manage to catch any fish this weekend. I tried the Pecos a little past the Dalton area and tossed wooly buggers and weighted nymphs at them, but nothing. There was still a touch of ice on the river in the shady parts. The flow was low--the small amount of snow we've gotten wasn't contributing to runoff yet.
I imagine there should be some ok pre-runoff fishing in a couple weeks, and then a few weeks of runoff before there's some solid fishing. I'm starting to feel a bit desperate for some good fishing close by.
I'm heading out to Fenton for some floating this weekend and staying overnight in Jemez Springs. Hoping to end the dry spell!
I'm trying to fight the winter fishing malaise by making videos from old footage, but in reality I think it's making me more desperate for good fishing and more stir crazy from being inside and not out on the water. I really should be making more flies--that'd be practical.
On Valentine's Day I caught a good six fish at Monastery Lake, which took the edge off a bit, but I really want to get in some small stream and float tube fishing in. Oh, the wait.
I haven't gotten to the Juan yet this winter season, so that's on my list before the spring. Otherwise, the things closer by are too crowded and a bit too slow (the Jemez, Chama below Abiquiu) to feel worth the drive.
I did go skiing for the first time since I was in high school this week. A bit too fast, expensive, and crowded for my taste, but at least I got outside!
Keep up the fight, fellow anglers! Almost there.
I apologize for the lack of posts in November and most of December. I didn't get to go fishing very much because it was crunch time at work (I'm a teacher by day). The fishing trips I have been on have been short and rushed.
But, here are my top 5 choices for getting through the winter here in north-central NM based on the few times I've been fishing in the last six weeks.
1. If the Rio Grande is below 400 cfs, give it a try around the Pilar area. I went there a few weeks ago and did well using a prince nymph and a hare's ear. See my video below.
2. Now is the time to go to the Rio Chama below Abiquiu. This river has become my winter home water. The flow is perfect (below 200 cfs) right now and has been stocked well. I went on Christmas Day and caught around twenty fish in a short afternoon of fishing using a large prince nymph (size 10?) about 3-4 feet from the strike indicator. If you're not getting hits where you're fishing, move around. The fish will often be bunched up in the slower riffles.
3. Try out the San Juan River. I don't know how access is with the closures, but this is generally a good bet in the winter. (Although I went in November and only caught three small fish.)
4. Try out the ditches in and around Albuquerque; it's hilarious to catch trout next to a busy intersection. Red copper johns have done well for me every time I fish the ditches.
5. Tingley Beach. I hooked a big fish a couple weeks back (and lost him...), and it sounds like the fishing has been pretty steady at the catch and release pond there.
A couple weeks back I was desperate and fished a half-frozen Monastery Lake--and caught a few fish out of the small bit of lake that wasn't frozen.
If you have some warm clothes and the will, the trout will bite. Remember it's all about nymphing and getting the flies down deep enough to where the trout are holding.
I went to the Chama last week, and although the level should have been at fishable (about 400 cfs), it had just come down to that level and was still very muddy. I caught a few suckers, but didn't get any strikes from the apparently reticent trout. Give it a couple weeks to clear, and I bet the fishing will be superb. Remember, put a little bit of weight on your leader and give yourself 4-5 feet below your strike indicator to the nymph. It's been well stocked so there should be some fish to catch!