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
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!
I'm writing this post a week after I fished the Jemez, but I'm sure it's going to be good fishing into mid to late October, depending on how cold it gets. The fish were more actively feeding after the water warmed up, so I would recommend going fishing in the afternoon or evening.
I was working at Hummingbird Music Camp and fished on their property. I fished for about 45 minutes midday the first day and caught about 10 fish, including one good-sized brown--the biggest brown I have ever caught on the Jemez River proper. The stockers keyed into nymphs, both prince nymphs and tan hare's ears. The two browns I caught over the weekend struck on caddis.
The truly epic fishing was on the second day when I fished between 4:30-6:30 pm. I caught about 20 rainbows out of a single run only about 20 feet by 10 feet. I would drag a fish out of the hole, release him, re-cast, and catch another. They had no fear--my rod and shadow were practically above these fish. It was unreal!
In other news, Game and Fish has stocked Hopewell Lake. The fishing will likely not be good there with the overnight lows already below freezing, but I have hope that the fishing will be good after ice-out next year. I also hope the brookies did alright after with water being removed for fighting the nearby forest fire this summer. This year was such a disappointment!
This video is from last year, but it gives you the idea of what the fishing was like:
I hope this fishing report is not only a source of information, but of fun and humor.
The Pecos will give you your fix. I can even go there after school at this time of year and get a couple hours of fishing in.
It's pretty easy fishing. Use a large dry fly like a stimulator (I'm predictable) and a dropper like a prince nymph or copper john size 12ish. You'll catch a bunch of small browns on the dry and rainbow stockers on the nymph. Last time I experimented with my tenkara rod around the fork between Holy Ghost and Terrero and had a lot of fun.
But it's trashed. It's awful. Every time I fish there I lose trust in humanity. There are chip bags, dead fish discarded on the shore, powerbait jars, beer cans, and just general carelessness scattered around.
But I did find this last time:
Hey everyone! I didn't post for about a year, but I'm going to start linking this site to my Youtube channel and Instagram...so I guess I should keep it updated!
What has been frustrating to me as a fly fisher in New Mexico is the lack of accurate fly fishing reports online. The NM Fishing Report is helpful, but aimed toward many different kind of anglers. The Orvis report only covers a few rivers (although there have been a few added recently) and High Desert Angler has been updating sporadically. (I can't judge, though.)
Amanda's Jemez Report is very useful for when you want to go fishing in the Jemez. And, I always suggest going into the local fly shops to get some tips and to spend some money, but sometimes you want to get up and go and save some cash.
Anyway, I'm about done with my summer break (I'm a teacher) and when I go fishing on the weekends or take the rare day off, I want to get the best bang for my buck. So, here goes. I hope I'm able to help you out. I'm going to mostly tell you about waters I've fished recently, but I may give you a few tips based on past experience as well.
Top pick, if you like small streams: Go to the Rio San Antonio on the Valles Caldera. It's free right now. Free. I posted about this place about a year ago and it's the same. Heaven. Bring large dry flies around 14-10 (hopper patterns, large caddis, stimulators) and expect an epic day going into September at least. Make sure you are stealthy and fish around corners and when it's a straight away give the fish a good amount of distance. You'll see them. If they see you, that's bad news. Use 5 or 6x tippet. If you're in a place where there's a lot of grass try slamming the fly onto the water--you might catch something! One last tip--use your ears. The fish take the flies noisily and you can often fish blind if you listen for the take.
Get there by 9 am (at least on the weekends) so you're able to get into the backcountry. They only let in 35 cars a day. Ask for directions to the San Antonio there at the office.