Fly Fishing Waters

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Rio Grande

ImageWhen she’s feeling groovy and in the mood, you know… kind of frisky, she can be fabulous - if not world class. However when she’s not in the right frame of mind… a little grumpy if you will… she can be stubborn and heartless, if not down right cruel. She keeps us guessing. This is why we love her and why we keep coming back to her.

Snaking its way through the awe-inspiring Rio Grande Gorge, the mighty Rio Grande provides the Taos area with by far its most challenging fishery. Ever fluctuating weather strata can put this river into a funk when you least expect it at any time of the year.

Winter snow pack is the annual gauge as to what kind of year will be had on the Rio. However, the real arbiters of rapid unpredictable changes in conditions on the river are the intense summer thunderstorms and heavy irrigation releases in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.

 Browns... some very large… are the most prevalent species of trout in the Rio Grande, at least in the Taos area. In addition the river holds tremendous populations of nice sized Rainbows and Cutbows. Northern Pike can also be found in abundance along with a good population of Smallmouth bass in the lower stretches from Pilar south to the county line.

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Rio Costilla

ImageWinding its way through an array of beautiful high mountain meadows in the western side of the 100,000 acre Valle Vidal unit of the Carson National Forest, the Rio Costilla is one of the last strongholds of New Mexico’s native trout species – the Rio Grande Cutthroat.

In an effort to protect spawning Cutthroats and calving elk, the Valle Vidal is closed from Jan. 1st thru June 30th and open July 1st thru Dec. 31st.

All of the stream fishing within the Valle Vidal is catch and release and single barbless hook only.

A tailwater fishery, the Rio Costilla flows from the bottom of Costilla Reservoir, formed by the confluence of Casias creek and Costilla creek slightly above Costilla Dam located on privately owned and accessed Vermejo Park Ranch.

Flows vary throughout the summer in accordance with agricultural demands downstream, with the general rule of thumb being higher water Monday thru Thursday and the flows being cut back Friday thru Sunday afternoon.

We like it both ways. On weekends, with good streamside stealth and accurate, delicate casts, the dry fly fishing can be awesome. The higher flows during the week provide opportunity for fishing flies almost any way you can think of throughout the day.

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Cimarron River

ImageThe Cimarron is a tailwater fishery that begins at Eagle Nest Lake located in the heart of the gorgeous Moreno Valley and then for eight miles winds its way through beautiful, breathtaking Cimarron Canyon. Part of the Arkansas River drainage system, its waters eventually end up in the Mississippi River, a rarity for a New Mexico river.

Despite its relatively small size the Cimarron is home to the largest number of fish per mile than any other river in the state with the Brown trout being the predominate species along with a strong population of Rainbow trout. Fish range in size between 5” to 22” in length with an average being 10” to 12”.

In addition, the Cimarron has one of the most prolific insect populations in the state. Stoneflies, caddis, mayflies and midges come off at various times of the year in crazy numbers providing an exciting variety of fishing.

In late May- early June the stonefly hatch begins in the lower reaches of the canyon and slowly works its way up the river and lasts well into July offering some of the best dry fly fishing on the river- if not in northern New Mexico.

 

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Red River

ImageThe Red River is Taos’s winter fishery with prime time being from October through early April. The Red provides visitors the unique opportunity to fish and ski on the same trip to Taos. In fact, we have clients that ski in the morning and then fish with us in the afternoon on the same day. They love it!

A myriad of springs flow into the river greatly increasing the flows and keeping the water temperatures in the optimum trout fishing range of between 45 to 60 degrees making the Red an ideal winter trout fishery.

As the summer monsoon season comes to an end and afternoon showers begin to taper off, the river settles down and clears nicely, allowing the fun to begin.

In the fall, towards the middle to end of October, larger Browns begin staging in the lower reaches of the river near the confluence with the Rio Grande and start pushing up the river to spawn, creating a great opportunity for a shot at some big Browns through November as they migrate up river and back again.

 

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Taos’s small streams

Image With the crystal clear Rio Hondo tumbling down from above the Taos Ski Valley and the Rio Pueblo de Picuris- born in the mountains above Penasco leading the way, there are numerous small streams and creeks in the Taos area to whet your appetite if you are so inclined.

The Hondo’s Cutthroats are always a treat, with Browns also plentiful and they’re both reliably eager to take a dry fly.

Summer precipitation dictates water and fishing conditions on these streams and when they’re on, fishing can be a blast on these waters.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call for current conditions and fishing information, we're always happy to help.