Fly Fishing News – Angel Fire Blog Angel Fire NM News Sun, 12 Jul 2015 21:24:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Orilla Verde Fly Fishing Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 Orilla Verde Recreation Area is nestled along the banks of the Rio Grande, within the steep-walled Rio Grande Gorge. The local terrain is comprised of rugged, wide open mesas and chiseled steep canyons.  The elevation along the river is 6,100 feet and rises 800 feet at the gorge rim. The Taos Valley Overlook offers stunning and breathtaking views of the Rio Grande Gorge and Sangre de Cristo Mountains from the mesa top above the river.

Gentle waters with occasional small rapids flow through Orilla Verde, providing an ideal setting for many recreational activities. Because of the dramatic changes in elevation and the diversity of plant life, Orilla Verde draws many species of animals, including raptors (such as eagles and hawks), songbirds, waterfowl, beaver, cougar, ringtail, mule deer, and many more. The Rio Grande also has attracted humans since prehistoric times.  Evidence of ancient peoples is found throughout the recreation area in the form of petroglyphs on the rocks and many other types of archaeological sites.

The climate at Orilla Verde is semi-arid, with summer thunderstorms common in July and August, and snow possible from October through March.  Summer temperatures range from 45 to 90 degrees, and winter temperatures range from -15 to 45 degrees.

Anglers along the Rio Grande will be challenged by native brown trout, German brown trout, rainbow trout, and northern pike. All anglers, 12 years or older, must have the following: a valid New Mexico fishing license, a Wildlife Habitat Improvement validation, and a Habitat Management and Access Validation (Only those younger than 18, 100% Disabled Resident Veterans and Resident Anglers 70 and older are exempt from purchasing this validation.) in their possession. Licenses are available at the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center. To improve trout fisheries, “Special Trout Waters” have been designated north from Taos Junction Bridge to Colorado. Anglers need to be aware of special restrictions which apply in this area (New Mexico’s fishing proclamation is available at the Visitor Center).

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Limited Fly Fishing for Gila Trout Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 Angel Fire Fly FishingLAS CRUCES — Limited angling opportunities for Gila trout will open July 1, 2007, in select streams in southwestern New Mexico that have been closed to fishing since 1966, when the Gila trout was first listed as a federal endangered species. The State Game Commission approved the changes based on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to downlist the Gila trout from endangered to threatened.

The new regulations allow the Department of Game and Fish to open angling opportunities for Gila trout and open select streams that previously have been closed to all fishing. Opportunities and rule changes include:

Limited angling will be allowed for Gila trout in Black Canyon Creek from July 1 through September 30 as a Special Trout Water. Fishing will be catch-and-release only with artificial flies or lures and a single barbless hook.

Iron Creek will be open for year-round angling as a Special Trout Water with a two-fish daily limit. Fishing will be with artificial flies or lures and a single barbless hook.

Angel Fire New Mexico Fly FishingRegular trout water rules will apply to McKenna Creek and Sacaton Creek, with no tackle or bait restrictions and a bag limit of five fish per day and no more than 10 in possession.

Everyone who fishes in Black Canyon and Iron Creek must have a Gila Trout Permit along with a valid New Mexico fishing license. Permits are free and are available on the “Buy licenses online” feature of the Department website, .

Upper Black Canyon currently is open to daytime fishing but temporarily closed for camping and at night because of a nearby forest fire. The Aspen Fire, designated as a wildland fire use fire by the U.S. Forest Service, is burning about two miles from Black Canyon. A wildland fire use fire is a naturally caused fire that is being allowed to burn but is closely monitored. The closure area covers eight miles from the mouth of Bonner Creek to the crest of the Black Range Mountains. Overnight camping will be allowed downstream of the fire from the mouth of Bonner Creek to the private property boundary.

The lightning-caused Aspen fire was 72 acres June 29 and was exhibiting low intensity behavior. It has spread very little in the past few days. It is in the Aldo Leopold Wilderness, four miles east of Lower Black Canyon off Forest Road 150, which runs between the Mimbres Valley and Beaverhead. The objectives are to allow it to burn and reduce fuels and improve wildlife and riparian habitats. If the fire intensifies, fire managers will inform people to vacate the area and evaluate the need for a full temporary closure.

Access to Black Canyon can be challenging because of adjacent private property. For more information about access routes or other details, please contact Annette Gomez with the Wilderness Ranger District, (505) 536-2250.
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Endangered Desert Pupfish found in Research Ponds Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have discovered a population of the endangered desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius)in constructed ponds along the southeastern shore of the Salton Sea, in south-central California. Preliminary estimates of more than 1,000 pupfish will need to be evaluated by a detailed survey that will be conducted as soon as the appropriate permits are obtained. Dr. Douglas Barnum, scientist with the USGS Salton Sea Science Office, called the discovery a “scientific windfall” that will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about this endangered species. Dr. Michael Saiki, fisheries biologist with the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center's Dixon Duty Station noted, “What's significant about this discovery is the large number of pupfish we are seeing!”

The four constructed ponds are part of an experimental shallow habitat complex, completed in the Spring of 2006, in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Imperial Irrigation District, and California Water Resources Control Board. The experiment is primarily designed to assess ecological risk from selenium on migratory birds using artificially created habitat blending water from the Alamo River and the Salton Sea.  The use of blended water allows scientists to control the salinity of the initial pond and create  habitats with increasing salinity in downslope ponds. Research at the site is intended to provide practical information for use in the future design and construction of a Saline Habitat Complex, a critical component in plans for restoration of the Salton Sea Ecosystem. Dr. Barnum notes that “now that pupfish have been observed in the research ponds, we will modify the original goals and objectives allowing for this critically important line of research.”

How the pupfish turned up in the research ponds is still unknown.  But, regardless of how the pupfish came to be here, scientists now have a unique opportunity to better study how factors such as water temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, water velocity, interactions with other fish species and predation affect these elusive and scarce creatures. Dr. Saiki cautioned, “the majority of fish observed to date are juveniles which suggests substantial breeding activity within the ponds.  We need to determine how many of the abundant juvenile fish will survive to adulthood before the real value of this habitat can be understood.”

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Rains Bode Well for Budweiser ShareLunker Program Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 Just as April showers bring May flowers, summer rains may produce lots of big bass, come winter.
The 19th Budweiser ShareLunker season begins Oct. 1 and continues through April 30, and program coordinator David Campbell anticipates a good year. “Many lakes caught a lot of water this summer, and that produces more habitat for fish to spawn. Plus, when the lakes remain full for a longer period of time, the spawning areas are more accessible to anglers, and they catch more big fish,” Campbell said. Anglers who catch largemouth bass 13 pounds or more from October through April are encouraged to enter the fish into the ShareLunker program. Offspring of the lunkers are stocked into public waters in Texas in an effort to improve the quality of fishing in the state. Anglers receive a replica of their fish by Lake Fork Taxidermy and other prizes and may donate the fish to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or have it returned to them after spawning. Anglers wishing to enter a big bass in the program may call Campbell at (903) 681-0550 any time, day or night, to arrange to have a fish picked up. Or they may page him at (888) 784-0600 and leave a phone number including area code. TPWD personnel will attempt to retrieve the fish within 12 hours. Information about caring for fish before the TPWD pickup can be found on the ShareLunker Web site ( Most marinas also have this information.
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Salmon Snagging Season at Eagle Nest Lake Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 Snagging season for kokanee salmon at Heron Lake opens Friday, Nov. 9 and ends Dec. 31. The season opens later at Heron Lake than other northern New Mexico lakes to allow the Department of Game and Fish to gather and fertilize salmon eggs for future stocking.

Every fall, anglers congregate around lakes in northern New Mexico in hopes of snagging a few 4-year-old kokanee, which form giant schools, spawn and then die.

Snagging is a technique for harvesting the soon-to-die salmon. The bag limit is 12 salmon per day and 24 in possession. Snagging season is Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 for Abiquiu Lake , the Chama River from El Vado Lake to the west boundary of the Rio Chama wildlife and fishing area, El Vado Lake, Navajo Lake and Eagle Nest Lake .

The 2007-2008 New Mexico Fishing Rules and Information Booklet lists two dates as the start of the snagging season at Heron Lake , Willow Creek and the Pine River . The correct season opening date is Friday, Nov. 9.

For more information about this or any other Department-related matter, please contact the Department of Game and Fish at (505) 222-4700.

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Angel Fire New Mexico Fly Fishing Fly Fishing Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 That incredible smell in the air that is spring has just about taken over my nice winter work habits and has sent me to the river more then a man should. Just wanted to update you on what is happening here on the Conejos. We have had several weeks of good fishing and feel like we have our own 50 mile private trout club! Spring fishing on the Conejos has proved to be something new to most of us and we have realized that these fish are very catchable and active. We will continue to see what type of spring hatches and fishing opportunities are here now that we are “on” the river more consistently. Snowpack has come up dramatically in the last 2 months to reach 73%! Should make for a great month of June and July for the Pteronarcys Stonefly and the Green Drakes. The First Annual Conejos Superfly is full and then some and we look forward to a fun weekend. The Conejos Superfly Trophy is now completed and you all will get to see it in the shop this year with this years winner. If all goes well we will probobly have a 2 day event next year open to around 60 teams in early May. You all are welcome to the awards dinner and party at Conejos Ranch starting at 4:30.

After several days of tea colored water the river is clearing and the fishing should get a little easier after a tough couple of days. Most of the fish have been fat and healthy and we have only caught a few fish this year under 14″! We have also been seeing more Rainbows then we have seen in years as well as some larger Cutthroats. The tailwater section of the Conejos below the dam will give us some good fishing during this years short runoff and the La Jara and Los Pinos will also help fill that void while the Conejos is “up”.

The shop has added St. Croix and some other smaller lines to add to what we sold last year. We will begin 7 day a week hours in May and look forward to seeing you all again this summer. Thousands of flies will be here soon and after a year to concentrate on the fishes diet last year we will be able to do a better job of knowing what bugs are in the stomachs of these frequently picky Browns. There were many times in years past when we thought that the Browns had gone to lay down but in fact were eating something other then what we were offering. This year we will be doing even more stomach samples and seining to be on top of what is happening here. The fishing reports will be frequent and detailed.

For those of you wanting to escape the crowds of the Arkansas, San Juan and other popular spring rivers the Conejos will offer some great fishing in late April and early May. And will also offer you the opportunity to catch some of the rivers biggest fish in a relaxed unpressured environment. Amazingly there is almost no one that fishes the La Jara, Los Pinos, or the Conejos in the spring. For those that know vacation dates in advance soon would would be a great time to reserve your rooms or guides here. Alot of days are already full for the cabins and guide days.

Early Fishing dates:

Now thru middle of May; Good fishing on the Conejos, Los Pinos, and La Jara. Pike fishing in Rio Grande and Sanchez. Trout fishing good in the Rio Grande Gorge in N.M. and Rio Grande in Colorado
May; great carp and pike fishing on Sanchez, Fishing in the tailwater section below Platoro dam on the Conejos
Early June; great nymphing prior to the big Stones, High mountain lakes are fantastic, Dry fly fishing on the La Jara and Los Pinos heats up
Mid June; Beginning of the “Big Stones”. Great nymphing and dry fly fishing
End June; Golden Stones, Caddis, and Pteronarcys Stoneflies are the keys. Higher mountain streams open up to fishing and the options become endless.
July; PMD's, Caddis, assorted Mayflies, and the big Green Drake, Golden Stones (early July)

Questions or reservations call

Conejos River Anglers
Jon Harp
(719) 376-5660

For weather, fishing reports, or streamflows

Look forward to seeing your faces soon, Jon Harp

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Rio Chama Fly Fishing Tue, 01 Jan 2013 07:00:00 +0000 The Rio Chama, a major tributary of the Rio Grande, flows through a multi-colored sandstone canyon whose walls grow to 1,500 feet. The river runs through areas that are designated as wilderness or as wilderness study areas. Towering cliffs, heavily wooded side canyons, and historical sites offer an outstanding wild river backdrop for the angler or float boater. Co-managed by BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, the Rio Chama offers the perfect family weekend, with something for everyone — paddling, trout fishing, hiking, exploring dinosaur tracks, and simply relaxing in the shade.

The Rio Chama is a Wild and Scenic River, and was designated by Congress in 1988. To protect the river environment and maintain an opportunity for a high quality experience, boating use has been limited since 1990. Because of the demand for trips in late spring and summer, there is a lottery system to assign launch dates.

Activities include boating, camping, fishing, hiking/backpacking, wildlife viewing.

Fishing is especially good on the upper mile of this river segment. Car camping is popular on the lower 8 miles, and float boaters enjoy two- or three-day trips on Class II rapids on the entire 31-mile segment (advance permits required), or half-day trips on the lower segment (no advance permits required).


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