I'm new here and would really like some suggestions. I live in east Tn, (Knoxville) and I am going to NM in september this year. I have a list of rivers I would like to fish. My problem is that the list is getting too long. I would appreciate if anyone with experience from the area would let me know which rivers to skip. I understand they are all probably worth a visit but my time and money is limited. Here's the list:
1. San Juan Tailwater
2. Rio Costilla
3. Red River
5. Rio De Los Pinos
6. Rio Grande
7. Rio Conejos in CO
8. Animas River in Co.
Any of these you would not do and why?, also any I should add?
Maybe Pecos, Chama, what do you all think. Decisions, decisions, it's killing me. I do want to limit my travel time so I need to be in an area between Red River area on the east and on over to Durango, CO. I do not want to go any further south than Taos area roughly. Any help appreciated. If anyone ever comes to Tn, NC I can help out with some info.
tennswede: I can't help much, I have only fished the San Juan, it is a fantastic river, but unless you are really good fishing high pressured tailwaters using size 24-28 flies and 8x leader, I would highly recommend getting a guide.
Here is another source of information for you:
You might also want to tune into the Fly Fishing Internet Radio Show June 2 at 7 pm (MST). They will have a show titled "Wild Rivers of Northern New Mexico" with guide Doc Thompson. Doc, a professional guide for 15 years, has been taking fly fishers to where the fish are in the wild rivers of northern New Mexico including the Rio Grande, Cimmaron and the Rio Castilla. Fly Fishing - Internet Radio
Good luck with your trip it sounds like it will be lots of fun.
Thanks for the tip on the radio show, I have listened to their programming before. As for small flies and the San Juan. Yes, I know a little bit of tailwater fishing. I do some of that here in Tn. Mainly the South Holston and Clinch. I use Zebra midges down to size 24 quite frequently. I don't expect to wear em' out or anything but I think I should be able to at least get a fish or two.
Hans, you might want to check High Desert Anglers'Fly Fishing Report for Northern New Mexico. In addition, Doc Thompson, a guide mentioned by Larry who specializes in northern New Mexican trout waters other than the San Juan has a website which charts and describes the optimal times for fishing the various northern New Mexico fisheries: Northern New Mexico Waters | High Country Anglers. You can also sign up for his newsletter which will keep you updated.
In addition, there are specialized forums on the San Juan like San Juan river fly fishing in New Mexico by Mike Mora as well as San Juan River Fly Fishing, also mentioned by Larry. Larry's also right about a guide being unusually helpful on this great but very technical and highly-pressured river, so even though you do have experience with similar mid-#20 size flies on Tennessee tailwaters, if you get frustrated after a day there, you can probably get a guide last minute at Abe's (a fly-shop/restaurant/gas station/motel right in the area. For some reason - maybe because there are so many of them - guides for the San Juan seem to be less expensive than other areas.
Good luck. I will be very interested in hearing how your trip works out, since although I have fished the San Juan and Los Pinos (up near Durango, however) with good results, I'm also interested in fishing some of these other streams that you mentioned.
Thanks for the links, Yeah, I have done the internet research and know of most of the online resources for the state. I guess what I'm trying to look at now is to narrow down my list. Have you fished any of the others on my list? I'm curious as to which ones I should drop. I don't want to overdo it. I would like to concentrate on no more than six rivers. I have 8 full days to devote to rivers. I doubt I can handle 8 full days non stop but I will try to fish somewhere on most of those days. If anyone can tell me which river or rivers they would drop from the list and if there are any to add, I would be ever so grateful.
Also, you mentioned Abe's. I'm actually booked at their motel for the firs half of my trip. The second half I'm staying at a chain motel in Red River.
Hans, I would look at this page on Doc Thompson's website for getting more in-depth reviews of the various waters you are considering: Northern New Mexico Waters | High Country Anglers. Note also that September is prime fishing time for all those waters you are considering.
I have fished other New Mexican waters such as the Rio Grande, the Chama and (in southern Colorado, the Los Pinos), but critical to that is selecting the right section of those rivers. New Mexico, as beautiful a state as it is, does not in my opinion conduct a "generous" stocking and trout wildlife program, so insider knowledge is critical for good fly-fishing. That usually means a guide, at least initially, although local fly-shops can help. As you probably know, you're also going to be fishing small-stream country - maybe among the best - so I'd be thinking 3 or even 2-weight short rods. However, for the San Juan you will want a longer rod in the 4-6 weight range.
I have fished several years around the Cimarron area. I see you have the Cimarron river and the Rio Costilla on your list. Definitely fish the Rio Costilla. It is in the Valla Vidal area. The views alone make the drive worth it. The Rio isn't real challenging, as is the Cimarron, but it's a real pleasure to fish. While in the Valle, fish the Shuree ponds. They are stocked with 14-16" trout that are quite willing to hit a Hare's ear. Bring your float tube for the deeper sections. You can camp in the Cimarron campground which is 1/2 mile away. Drive into the Valle by going through Red River and Questa route. Cheers, Glen