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 finally getting some fishing in in earnest...as best as I can with my two closest water sheds under forest closure.
I had a great couple days on the Los Pinos about two years ago. This year it was not the case. It seemed fished out. My step-dad and I threw everything at them, hit a lot of water (the bait area, the special trout water). He caught about three, and I caught one. The brown he caught was bigger but very beat up looking. We didn't see fish rising, even with the insane insect activity. We didn't see fish running. Either they were full and hunkered down, or more likely this watershed is being mistreated and too many fish are being harvested or otherwise harmed.
The Rio Grande around Pilar was more typical. The fish are in there...just sometimes hard to get. They hit on pheasant tails, hare's ear, and prince nymphs between 12-16. Fish 'em deep. I also like to use one splitshot a foot or so above my nymph and sometimes fish a double nymph rig.
I did get some good entertainment watching rafters fall out of their boats and having water fights, and saw some mountain goats!
Starting tomorrow, the Santa Fe National Forest, which covers pretty much all of the fishing on the Pecos and Jemez Rivers, will be closed to the public. It's the right decision--the article below from nmfireinfo.com details just how many campfires were left burning when they weren't even allowed. It's a miracle there hasn't been a large fire already in this large national forest area. Stinks that the actions of a few likely hastened this closure, but it is important to protect our resources. Time to head a little further north for fishing, while you still can.
Sorry about the delay in a post. I was wrapping up another school year, which was made a bit more exhausting because I'll be teaching in a new district next year and had to deep clean my classroom. I'll be off to new adventures next year, including being closer to the fishing around Enchanted Circle!
There was an article in the Albuquerque Journal recently regarding the plight of the state's rivers and streams with our current drought. I worry about fish die off this summer--nearly every river is much lower than it's supposed to be at this time of year. Hopefully last week's rainstorm is a sign that we'll get some early monsoons. Otherwise, fish and fisherman are not going to have a great summer here in Northern NM.
But, for now, there's some good fishing to be had. I had some good luck on the Jemez River proper, but it's obviously being heavily fished. Fenton was good in the evening with parachute Adams. Otherwise, it didn't seem like anyone was catching much.
The Guadalupe is a river I'm very fond of, mostly because the hike down into it keeps a lot of other anglers away. It was on fire...but very low. I scared many a trout, but it was fun to have the challenge of being forced to be stealthy. If you give it a try, give every little riffle a cast. Some of the best fish I caught were in 1-2 feet of water right next to or behind rocks. The larger deeper pools are actually more challenging because as soon as you startle a fish, they run up the pool and scare all of the fish. In those cases, cast long and cast to risers. You only have a couple chances, if that.
The Cimarron would be a good bet right now--since it's actually a tailwater, the flow will be more consistent all summer. I had some great fishing there last weekend.
Monastery Lake is at the point where you can sight fish and show off a bit in front of the "bait dunkers." It's fun fishing when you get there early in the morning and leave when the crowds really start to get there (and the fishing slows down too).
I was allowed an hour and a half of fishing at Hopewell Lake (I was on the way home from Pagosa Springs), and it was good, especially when the clouds rolled in. At first I tried a nymph about four feet down under a strike indicator, and I got a few bites and lost a big 'un. But, the recently stocked rainbows seemed to like a nymph only about two feet under a stimulator better. If you get a brookie there, please release them. I've been catching fewer and fewer there the last few years. I think the lake has gotten more popular, and I think many of these colorful little guys have been harvested...
We saw an antelope in the middle of the road on highway 64--I had no idea that area was part of their range! Scared the living daylights out of him...
I haven't gotten out there yet, but everyone is telling me that the Rio Grande is good. It's at an ideal flow for fly fishing, so give it a whirl!
Anyway, that's what I've got now. It's summer break for me, so I hope to get out a little further on some overnight trips so I can get some more variety in these reports.
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!