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 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.
Simply stated: get a yearly pass to the Valles for unlimited epic fishing. The end.
No, really, you'll get hit after hit on large dry flies in an easily wadeable stream, amazing views, and not have to compete with any other anglers for turf. You'll catch 9-14 inch browns over and over in a 2-4 foot wide stream. Just amazing.
The fish did start biting a bit more around 10 am, although that was when some of the morning clouds cleared. They seemed to like stimulators and my humongous homemade caddis more than smaller caddis. It was really fun to see the bigger brown's wake when they came barreling from under the bank to get the fly.
This is a great stream to bring a friend to because the meadow setting makes for easy bunny hopping around each other, and the curvy nature of the stream make for a lot of fish-able water.
I had a 4 weight, 8 1/2 foot rod this time, which helped with some of the larger browns. The other times I've fished it I used a 2 weight, 7 1/2 foot rod, which made for a lot of fun.
I stayed in an Air Bnb place in Virginia Beach for a few days. It was a humongous house where the backyard was backed up right next to a lake, which blew my little New Mexican mind. It was a lake bigger than Hopewell, and probably even Fenton. Also, the lovely people I stayed with had potbellied pigs as pets that wandered around their backyard, snorting and being very cute.
I borrowed my hosts' kayak and went for a quick morning fishing trip. It was already in the 90's at about 8 in the morning, I swear. I saw a few big fishing rising and tried for them, but they didn't seem interested in anything I had, even the new bass flies I had bought. So, I paddled to the opposite end of the lake by some trees, rocks, and a shopping center. I finally round some rising little panfish. I caught a few small bluegill on stimulators.
Then, the next day I went fishing in the ocean with a charter that you pay $40 to go fishing for four hours on, with bait and tackle provided and no license needed. It was kind of superb being in the middle of the ocean. We used tiny pieces of squid on huge hooks, and the captain would drop us right above schools of fish. Anyway, caught a couple dozen croakers (see below), one blue fish, and one whiting. Then, we paid to get them filleted and ate them right up. It was almost like fly fishing in that we caught one after another after another. Fun times!
I went backpacking the the Pecos Wilderness along the Santa Barbara River back in the beginning of June. At that point, the river was still in run-off, and the weather was too cold to support much insect life. I ended up catching one little brown on a nymph in a full day of fishing.
July, however, is a different story. Although the weather is still much cooler than the surrounding areas (it was nearing 100 in Santa Fe), there were bugs galore. And, now the river is at a much more fishable level.
The way to do the Santa Barbara is to park at the Santa Barbara campground (there's free parking right outside the gate), and make your way to the trail at the rear of the campground . Follow that trail to the bridge (about 45 minutes) and start fishing around there. That weeds out any campers who are fishing. Don't forget to wear that sunscreen and to bring water and a rain jacket. The altitude could be tough for anyone not used to it, too.
I took a beginner angler on this trip, so I didn't get in my normal fishing time, but they were biting at a orange stimulator and a small prince nymph. I ended up taking off the nymph because they were hitting the dry fly hard. The action was fast and furious, with a strike in every likely riffle and pool. Where we were at, I only caught smaller browns, but you will see some larger pools right off the trail on your way to the bridge, which I think would be a great place to try for some bigger browns if you feel comfortable walking down a steep hill to get to them. If you go higher up, you should be able to catch some Rio Grande Cutthroats.
The fish weren't terribly spooky, and they took some flies that sank or dragged a bit. I think they would be apt to eat any dry flies you throw at them at this time of year.
So, if you're looking for a good 30 fish day (at least), make your way to the Santa Barbara in July.
For some reason Hopewell is not fishing well this year in midsummer. It could be because they didn't stock as much early in the season, or the lack of afternoon showers and the heat is affecting the insect life, or more people are now fishing this lake with Canjilon Lakes being closed. Regardless, my last two trips to Hopewell were dismal, even though I remember being quite successful even midday last year around this time.
Your best bet if you're set on Hopewell is to camp and not fish until dusk; that's when the fish were rising and when I caught a few. Try the Vallecitos during the day.
Welcome to the Flyfishing Grrl website! I hope to give some helpful tips on where to head in Northern NM in this report. Happy fishing!
So...the Pecos River. It's where I get my fix when I'm up for only an hour drive and know I can be home by noon. It's stocked like crazy, it's trashed, it's crowded. And yet, I found two stretches of unfished water on a Sunday morning. The first is at the Bert Clancy Recreation Area up to the bridge. The next was back down a few miles where's there are a few small parking spots next to the river before a stretch of private water. And good news, the stockers aren't scared off for long even if someone already fished your stretch.
I forgot my polarized sunglasses, so I had an awful lot of trouble seeing my fly on the water, but I caught a bunch of small browns and some stocked rainbows. The browns seemed to go for the dry fly more, with the rainbows going for the nymph (prince, copper john, pheasant tail, anything really).
At the second spot, I finally caught a slightly larger brown, maybe 12 inches. Again, it would be nice to have some better management so the fish could grow a bit bigger. I saw a gutted fish rotting on the side of the road that someone had trashed, I imagine because they were over the limit and saw game and fish approaching.
Anyway, I can't wait until fall on the Pecos, when it's less crowded, and there might be some bigger fish.