New Mexico Fishing - Main

Pecos River
The Pecos River provides consistent dry fly and nymph fishing from the end of snowmelt until early November.  It is the perfect place for families with busy vacation schedules; due to its proximity to Santa Fe, good fishing can be had with plenty of time to get back to town for evening activities.  For the backpacking angler, the Pecos Wilderness offers endless opportunities to catch streamborn trout from alpine lakes and creeks.  Some of these fish won't see five anglers in a year.
In the years ahead, the Pecos will be the focus of regional stream rehabilitation efforts.  Translation: Great fishing is certain to get even better.
Pecos River

Jemez and Jemez Area Streams
The Jemez area is where you'll hone your meadow creek stalking skills on creeks such as the San Antonio, Cebolla, de las Vacas and the forks of the Jemez.  Farther south towards Albuquerque, you'll strike the Guadalupe and one of the heaviest giant stonefly hatches in the New Mexico.Valles Caldera - Jemez River

Chama River
The Chama is possibly our prettiest stream, running from its source in the southern Colorado high country to its junction with the Rio Grande among the red and orange mesas made famous by Georgia O'Keefe.  In spite of its relatively small size, there are big fish in the Chama, primarily browns and rainbows.  These fish will fall for the well-fished dry fly or nymph, but they can be extremely predatory too, chasing down a streamer or blowing up a mouse pattern.Chama River

Rio Grande River
The Rio Grande is one of the nation's best trout streams.  Over approximately 70 miles of river, there is always a chance that the trout of a lifetime will tackle your fly, and that the pike of a lifetime will eat it.  We've seen browns and cuttbows over ten pounds in the Rio and plenty of 40 inch northerns.  The Red River, Rio Pueblo, and Rio Embudo are some of the Rio's most productive tribs, and anglers come from everywhere to fish its Mother's Day caddis hatch.  It can be a tough river to fish; nevertheless, few anglers leave disappointed.Rio Grande River

San Juan River
The San Juan needs no introduction.  If you favor daily hatches and fishing to thousands of big, picky rainbows and browns, then this is your stream.  If you do plan a San Juan trip, set aside several days.  This river has a steep learning curve, many moods too; fishing through as many of them as possible will make you a much better flyfisher.San Juan River


Try our lakes too: Stone Lake for behemoth rainbows; Santa Cruz for great fishing close to Santa Fe; Abiquiu for its variety of species (including some monster browns!).

Abiquiu LakeAbiquiu Lake

Planning your New Mexico Fishing Vacation

With all New Mexico has to offer the outdoorsperson/family/junky, the possibility always exists for a quick day of fishing, no matter what you strap to your back or feet.  Right now in November, for instance, we're getting regular reports of some really good fishing on the Rio, the Chama, and, of course, the San Juan.  Rio fish will be on the small stuff generally, or streamers as the water warms.  As for the Chama, the big browns are all over the place doing the love thang, and the rainbows are in behind them.  The key is in finding the fish.brown trout

The Juan will be the mainstay for winter NM fishing through December and January, with consistent action on midges and bait patterns (worms and eggs).  The Rio and Chama and even Pecos will turn on at times, but only when the weather warms.  And we don't want that; we'll pray for snow so big runoff keeps the rivers in fine shape throughout the summer.  Wherever you fish in NM this winter, take the cold seriously.  Wear lots of fleece and bring extra clothes in case you take a spill.

We'll see the big pike getting active in early February as they get ready to mate.  We like the warm days, when their metabolisms heat up and they can't go another minute without a serious cheeseburger.

March and April bring the beginning of somewhat consistent trout fishing.  You'll want to check the weather before you come, but generally a lot of wind and some warmish snowstorms will be what you can expect.  In recent years, we've had some wonderful Indian Springs with plenty of good fishing.  April brings the Rio Mother's Day caddis hatch, which hopefully will coincide with no snowmelt and clear water.  I love the gorge at this time of year, before it warms up and goes whack with runoff.

May is lake time, Santa Cruz, Cochiti, and Stone.  The Jemez is fishable too, since it usually finishes running off before anything else.  But seriously, the belly boating is donde esta.

Valles CalderaJune and July are wide open.  Fishing is good with any method, but all you dry fliers will find magical hatches of stoneflies, drakes, and caddis on most of our rivers, hoppers too.  The San Juan has incredible terrestrial action, but if you want to stay closer to Santa Fe, the Pecos, Guadalupe, Chama (below Heron can be amazing in early June), Conejos, Cimarron, Los Pinos, and Costilla are boatloads of fun.  Speaking of boatloads, taking a slow ride down the Orilla Verde State Park stretch of the Rio is an absolute blast for warmwater species, the smallmouth bass being my favorite.  As always, the San Juan fishes just fine, if you like tons and tons of people fishing with you.
August can be pretty dull; the fishing is still good, but the low water levels sometimes make it painful to watch your dry fly inch slowly down your favorite run.  August is when I just go for a walk at Orilla Verde, throwing a six weight with flies for whatever will eat, browns, rainbows, smallies, pike, or carp.  A great exploring month for you backpackers who aren't afraid to bushwhack with your 3 weights.

September and October are my favorite months to fish in New Mexico, lots for tourists to do, yellow aspen leaves, the smell of roasting chile wafting through town.  Who am I kidding; it's a great time because the fishing is off the hook.  You name the river, the fish are biting in it, and since hunting season is beginning, there are a lot fewer people throwing the fly line.  September is when the Rio gorge starts fishing really, really well on all methods.  I like the Chama Sargent section too, or below Heron, or the Conejos (don't get me started). But I just like fall fishing.