New Mexico Fly Fishing

​Fall is a special time to fly fish in the high country of New Mexico.  It is easy to see why they call it the Land of Enchantment.

New Mexico Fly Fishing Map

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NM - Cimarron River: 36.533329, -105.167332
NM - Rio Costilla: 36.835324, -105.345345
NM - Rio Grande River: 36.676613, -105.681580
NM - San Juan River : 36.821584, -107.649236
VERMEJO RIVER NEAR DAWSON, NM: 36.681028, -104.786394
CIMARRON RIVER BELOW EAGLE NEST DAM, NM: 36.532125, -105.228144
CIMARRON RIVER NEAR CIMARRON, NM: 36.519833, -104.978611
PONIL CREEK NEAR CIMARRON, NM: 36.573694, -104.946806
RAYADO CREEK NEAR CIMARRON, NM: 36.372344, -104.969289
CANADIAN RIVER NEAR TAYLOR SPRINGS, NM: 36.297569, -104.495472
MORA RIVER AT LA CUEVA, NM: 35.945117, -105.255733
MORA RIVER NEAR GOLONDRINAS, NM: 35.890872, -105.163619
COYOTE CREEK NEAR GOLONDRINAS, NM: 35.916522, -105.164083
CANADIAN RIVER NEAR SANCHEZ, NM: 35.654833, -104.378611
UTE CREEK NEAR LOGAN, NM: 35.438528, -103.525794
CANADIAN RIVER AT LOGAN, NM: 35.350000, -103.399722
REVUELTO CREEK NEAR LOGAN, NM: 35.344386, -103.389606
COSTILLA CREEK ABOVE COSTILLA DAM, NM: 36.898361, -105.254667
CASIAS CREEK NEAR COSTILLA, NM: 36.896856, -105.260458
SANTISTEVAN CREEK NEAR COSTILLA, NM: 36.884167, -105.281111
COSTILLA CREEK BELOW COSTILLA DAM, NM: 36.872806, -105.283667
COSTILLA CREEK NEAR COSTILLA, NM: 36.966861, -105.507111
RIO GRANDE NEAR CERRO, NM: 36.740017, -105.683442
RED RIVER NEAR QUESTA, NM: 36.703311, -105.568431
RED RIVER BELOW FISH HATCHERY, NEAR QUESTA, NM: 36.682839, -105.654122
RIO HONDO NEAR VALDEZ, NM: 36.541797, -105.556522
RIO PUEBLO DE TAOS NEAR TAOS, NM: 36.439444, -105.503611
RIO LUCERO NEAR ARROYO SECO, NM: 36.508289, -105.530964
RIO GRANDE DEL RANCHO NEAR TALPA, NM: 36.303103, -105.581003
RIO PUEBLO DE TAOS BELOW LOS CORDOVAS, NM: 36.379333, -105.667833
RIO GRANDE BLW TAOS JUNCTION BRIDGE NEAR TAOS, NM: 36.320033, -105.754444
RIO PUEBLO NR PENASCO, NM: 36.168467, -105.602789
EMBUDO CREEK AT DIXON, NM: 36.210856, -105.913631
RIO GRANDE AT EMBUDO, NM: 36.205556, -105.963972
RIO CHAMA ABOVE CHAMA, NM: 36.934956, -106.555212
RIO BRAZOS AT FISHTAIL ROAD NR TIERRA AMARILLA, NM: 36.737933, -106.470772
RIO CHAMA NEAR LA PUENTE, NM: 36.662658, -106.633367
RIO CHAMA BELOW EL VADO DAM, NM: 36.580383, -106.724767
RIO CHAMA ABOVE ABIQUIU RESERVOIR, NM: 36.318822, -106.599531
RIO CHAMA BELOW ABIQUIU DAM, NM: 36.237222, -106.417417
RIO OJO CALIENTE AT LA MADERA, NM: 36.349742, -106.044186
RIO CHAMA NEAR CHAMITA, NM: 36.073556, -106.111694
SANTA CRUZ RIVER NEAR CUNDIYO, NM: 35.964722, -105.904722
RIO NAMBE BELOW NAMBE FALLS DAM NEAR NAMBE, NM: 35.846111, -105.909722
TESUQUE CREEK ABOVE DIVERSIONS NEAR SANTA FE, NM: 35.739556, -105.904953
RIO GRANDE AT OTOWI BRIDGE, NM: 35.874500, -106.142444
RITO DE LOS FRIJOLES IN BANDELIER NAT MON, NM: 35.776389, -106.268333
SANTA FE RIVER ABOVE MCCLURE RES, NR SANTA FE, NM: 35.688917, -105.822833
SANTA FE RIVER NEAR SANTA FE, NM: 35.686444, -105.843611
SANTA FE RIVER ABOVE COCHITI LAKE, NM: 35.547222, -106.228889
RIO GRANDE BELOW COCHITI DAM, NM: 35.618000, -106.323944
GALISTEO CREEK BELOW GALISTEO DAM, NM: 35.464653, -106.213389
RIO GRANDE AT SAN FELIPE, NM: 35.444583, -106.439833
JEMEZ RIVER NEAR JEMEZ, NM: 35.661983, -106.743439
JEMEZ RIVER OUTLET BELOW JEMEZ CANYON DAM, NM: 35.394759, -106.545305
NORTH FLOODWAY CHANNEL NEAR ALAMEDA, NM: 35.198056, -106.599722
RIO GRANDE AT ALAMEDA BRIDGE AT ALAMEDA, NM: 35.197722, -106.642778
RIO GRANDE NR ALAMEDA, NM: 35.182000, -106.651944
RIO GRANDE AT ALBUQUERQUE, NM: 35.089167, -106.680694
TIJERAS ARROYO NR ALBUQUERQUE, NM: 35.001944, -106.657500
SOUTH DIV CHANNEL ABV TIJERAS ARROYO NR ALBQ., NM: 35.002778, -106.657222
RIO GRANDE AT ISLETA LAKES NR ISLETA, NM: 34.946667, -106.680278
RIO GRANDE NEAR BOSQUE FARMS, NM: 34.870556, -106.720000
RIO GRANDE AT STATE HWY 346 NEAR BOSQUE, NM: 34.545000, -106.763056
RIO GRANDE FLOODWAY NEAR BERNARDO, NM: 34.417009, -106.800581
RIO PUERCO ABV ARROYO CHICO NR GUADALUPE, NM: 35.600889, -107.166611
ARROYO CHICO NR GUADALUPE, NM: 35.592250, -107.189444
RIO SAN JOSE AT ACOMA PUEBLO, NM: 35.074411, -107.751114
RIO PUERCO NEAR BERNARDO, NM: 34.410278, -106.854444
RIO GRANDE FLOODWAY AT SAN ACACIA, NM: 34.256389, -106.890833
RIO GRANDE AT BRIDGE NEAR ESCONDIDA, NM: 34.120833, -106.886944
RIO GRANDE ABOVE US HWY 380 NR SAN ANTONIO, NM: 33.926667, -106.851167
RIO GRANDE CONVEYANCE CHANNEL AT SAN MARCIAL, NM: 33.687667, -106.992611
RIO GRANDE FLOODWAY AT SAN MARCIAL, NM: 33.679083, -106.997000
RIO GRANDE AT NARROWS IN ELEPHANT BUTTE RES., NM: 33.386182, -107.163087
RIO GRANDE BELOW ELEPHANT BUTTE DAM, NM: 33.148511, -107.206783
RIO MORA NEAR TERRERO, NM: 35.777114, -105.658028
PECOS RIVER NEAR PECOS, NM: 35.708350, -105.682703
PECOS RIVER NEAR ANTON CHICO, NM: 35.178669, -105.108803
GALLINAS CREEK NEAR MONTEZUMA, NM: 35.651994, -105.318831
GALLINAS RIVER NEAR LOURDES, NM: 35.468903, -105.161442
GALLINAS R NR COLONIAS, NM: 35.181961, -104.900267
PECOS R ABV CANON DEL UTA NR COLONIAS, NM: 35.091389, -104.800556
PECOS RIVER ABOVE SANTA ROSA LAKE, NM: 35.059444, -104.761111
PECOS RIVER BELOW SANTA ROSA DAM, NM: 35.024167, -104.688889
PECOS RIVER NEAR PUERTO DE LUNA, NM: 34.730083, -104.524911
PECOS RIVER BELOW SUMNER DAM, NM: 34.604056, -104.387917
PECOS RIVER BELOW TAIBAN CREEK NEAR FORT SUMNER,NM: 34.332222, -104.181111
PECOS RIVER NEAR DUNLAP, NM: 34.063333, -104.306667
PECOS RIVER NEAR ACME, NM: 33.571856, -104.373603
RIO RUIDOSO AT RUIDOSO, NM: 33.336531, -105.726308
RIO RUIDOSO AT HOLLYWOOD, NM: 33.326692, -105.625333
NORTH FORK EAGLE CREEK NEAR ALTO, NM: 33.409547, -105.740764
SOUTH FORK EAGLE CREEK NEAR ALTO, NM: 33.392408, -105.724681
EAGLE CREEK BELOW SOUTH FORK NEAR ALTO, NM: 33.392853, -105.723344
RIO BONITO AT HWY 48 BRIDGE NEAR ALTO, NM: 33.447222, -105.661111
RIO HONDO ABOVE CHAVEZ CANYON NEAR HONDO, NM: 33.371250, -105.257389
RIO HONDO AT DIAMOND A RANCH NR ROSWELL, NM: 33.349167, -104.851667
RIO HONDO BLW DIAMOND A DAM NR ROSWELL, NM: 33.299869, -104.721675
RIO HONDO NEAR ROSWELL, NM: 33.408775, -104.471717
PECOS R N BOUNDARY (BLM WETLANDS) NR DEXTER, NM: 33.317250, -104.361667
PECOS R S BOUNDARY (BLM WETLANDS) NR DEXTER, NM: 33.268333, -104.354417
RIO FELIX AT OLD HWY BRD NR HAGERMAN, NM: 33.125108, -104.344963
PECOS RIVER NEAR LAKE ARTHUR, NM: 32.989306, -104.320972
PECOS RIVER NEAR ARTESIA, NM: 32.840861, -104.323833
RIO PENASCO NEAR DUNKEN, NM: 32.881528, -105.178056
RIO PENASCO NEAR HOPE, NM: 32.836772, -105.069422
RIO PENASCO AT DAYTON, NM: 32.743447, -104.414131
PECOS RIVER (KAISER CHANNEL) NEAR LAKEWOOD, NM: 32.689375, -104.299219
FOURMILE DRAW NR LAKEWOOD, NM: 32.672689, -104.368969
SOUTH SEVEN RIVERS NR LAKEWOOD, NM: 32.588611, -104.421389
PECOS RIVER BELOW BRANTLEY DAM NEAR CARLSBAD, NM: 32.543189, -104.371100
ROCKY ARROYO AT HWY BRD NR CARLSBAD, NM: 32.506081, -104.374989
PECOS R AT DAMSITE 3 NR CARLSBAD, NM: 32.511228, -104.333289
PECOS RIVER BELOW AVALON DAM, NM: 32.480856, -104.262981
DARK CANYON DRAW NEAR WHITES CITY, NM: 32.290431, -104.349167
DARK CANYON AT CARLSBAD, NM: 32.403333, -104.229444
PECOS RIVER BELOW DARK CANYON AT CARLSBAD, NM: 32.409275, -104.214972
BLUE SPRINGS ABOVE DIVERSIONS NR WHITES CITY, NM: 32.184589, -104.284497
BLACK RIVER ABOVE MALAGA, NM: 32.229089, -104.151853
BLACK RIVER AT MALAGA, NM: 32.240867, -104.064686
PECOS RIVER NEAR MALAGA, NM: 32.207542, -104.023875
PECOS RIVER AT PIERCE CANYON CROSSING, NM: 32.188531, -103.979386
PECOS RIVER AT RED BLUFF, NM: 32.075192, -104.039436
DELAWARE RIVER NR RED BLUFF, NM: 32.023142, -104.054456
MIMBRES RIVER AT MIMBRES, NM: 32.854675, -107.973789
SALT CREEK NEAR TULAROSA, NM: 33.275556, -106.397222
TULAROSA CREEK NEAR BENT, NM: 33.144889, -105.897903
LOST RIVER NEAR HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, NM: 32.894139, -106.127508
SAN JUAN RIVER NEAR ARCHULETA, NM: 36.801889, -107.698639
ANIMAS RIVER NEAR CEDAR HILL, NM: 37.036569, -107.875333
ANIMAS RIVER BELOW AZTEC, NM: 36.817861, -108.024444
ANIMAS RIVER AT FARMINGTON, NM: 36.722500, -108.201750
SAN JUAN RIVER AT FARMINGTON, NM: 36.723017, -108.225589
LA PLATA RIVER AT LA PLATA, NM: 36.930917, -108.184639
LA PLATA RIVER NEAR FARMINGTON, NM: 36.737575, -108.250336
SAN JUAN RIVER AT SHIPROCK, NM: 36.776667, -108.683056
RIO NUTRIA NEAR RAMAH, NM: 35.282553, -108.552975
ZUNI RIVER ABV BLACK ROCK RESERVOIR, NM: 35.100278, -108.751667
GILA RIVER NEAR GILA, NM: 33.061503, -108.537386
MOGOLLON CREEK NEAR CLIFF, NM: 33.166667, -108.649722
GILA RIVER NEAR REDROCK, NM: 32.726944, -108.675556
GILA RIVER BELOW BLUE CREEK, NEAR VIRDEN, NM: 32.648132, -108.845891
SAN FRANCISCO RIVER NEAR RESERVE, NM: 33.736719, -108.771175
MINERAL CREEK NEAR GLENWOOD, NM: 33.420611, -108.825944
WHITEWATER CREEK AT CATWALK NRT, NEAR GLENWOOD, NM: 33.374944, -108.837083
SAN FRANCISCO RIVER NEAR GLENWOOD, NM: 33.247167, -108.880000

If you’re looking for a new destination to go fly fishing and want a unique, off-the-beaten track kind of experience, then the state of New Mexico is able to deliver. Located in the southwest region of the United States, New Mexico is well-known for its untouched natural scenery, its rich culture, and the abundant wildlife that flourishes. You are probably very familiar with the desert landscape that the state is home to, but it also has five national parks, beautiful and lush bush/grasslands, rolling hills, and a lot of lakes ideal for fishing.

Explore rivers, oversized reservoirs, streams, and even lakes perched high in the mountains. What you'll find is a large variety of warm water species. This includes pike, perch, bluegills, catfish, white bass, walleye, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass. Of course, trout can also be found in various locations. Some more intriguing varieties of fish have been reintroduced into the area through raising and stocking efforts by the state. Now, you can find gila trout, Rio Grande cutthroats, tiger muskie, and Kokanee salmon.

​Where to Go?

There is no shortage of great locations to fish in the state of New Mexico. In fact, you may have a hard time narrowing down your choices. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular spots and rivers for fly fishing, and remember that there are many other options besides this list.

Red River

The Red River is located just north of Questa, and the river flows right into the famous Rio Grande. This particular river offers a stunning natural landscape and great opportunities to catch trout. The types of trout you'll find are cuttbows and browns.

What makes this river interesting is that it used to have a lot more fish, as the river used to be bigger. However, in the past 50 years or so, the amount of fish began to dwindle due to the mining taking place upstream of the river. The New Mexcio Game and Fish board took control of the situation and began a trout hatchery. This hatchery is located near the lower part of the stream. If you want to find the best fishing on the Red River, head to the warmer waters, which is downstream from the hatchery. The spawning run takes place during the winter months. If you are hoping to catch the big versions of the trout varieties, October and November are your best bets.

Rio Chama

Rio Chama is often seen as well-kept secret among fly fishers. This stream traverses through the high mountains at the border of Colorado and makes its way down through the forests and into the meadows. Some of the areas of the river are very remote and you can expect stunning scenery along the way. The fish you'll be able to catch here are rainbow and brown trout. This location is great for anyone that wants to be able to enjoy the quiet solitude while fishing and not deal with crowds, even during the peak months.

The Cimarron River

While this isn't a very large river, it certainly packs a lot of scenery into a small area. The river is made up from water that flows to it from the Eagle Nest Lake dam. There are some nice varieties of water types here, so you can try out different techniques. The river offers banks, channels, deep pools, and riffles. Be prepared that some areas are very tight and small, so you'll want to adjust your gear and technique accordingly. This river is known to have more than 3,000 trout per mile. This is even more impressive when you think about how tiny the river is. The predominant fish here is brown trout. Ideally, this one should be fished during the summer months.

Costilla Creek

If you're all about dry flies, then the Costilla Creek is ideal for you. This river is actually tailwater from the Costilla Reservoir and is located in a meadow at an elevation of 9,000 feet. What you'll be catching here is Costilla cutts, which are known for being very fast. What this means for you is that you've got a challenge ahead of you. Bring your waders for this creek as this is the preferred method of fly fishing along the stream. Besides the dry flies you can also use nymphs that are small in size. If you enjoy the experience of casting, then you'll love how unobstructed the stream is, allowing you to cast with ease.

​When to Go?

In New Mexico, the best time to fish really differs depending on where you want to fish. What’s great is that no matter which month you want to fish, you can find a place to go since the state offers year-round fly fishing opportunities. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular rivers for fly fishing and when you want to plan your trip for.

January - The Red River and Chama

February - The Red River and Chama

March - The Red River, Chama, Culebra, and Cimarron

April - Rio Grande, Red River, Culebra, Chama, and Cimarron

May - Culebra, Chama, and Cimarron

June - Cimarron, Culebra, Red River, Conjeos, and Culebra

July - Costilla, Culebra, Conejos, Cimarron, and Red River

August - Conejos, Costilla, Red River, Culebra, and Cimarron

September - Conejos, Rio Grande, Red River, Costilla, Culebra, and Cimarron

October - Rio Grande, Conejos, Red River, Cimarron, and Culebra

November - Rio Grande, Red River, Culebra, Cimarron, and Chama

December - Chama and Red River

Weather wise, it never is a bad time to head to New Mexico. The winter sees colder days and evenings, but it’s still quite comfortable to be out fishing during the day.

Bug hatches take place year-round, depending on the river, stream, creek, or lake. Typically, the busiest months for bug hatches are from May through October. The hatches include stone flies, hoppers, midges, PMDs, caddis, craneflies, cicada, baetis, and tricos.

​What You Will Need When You Get There?

When choosing your equipment, in particular the type of fly, you can base it on the time of year and the river you are fishing in. Here’s a breakdown of the rivers listed above.

Red River: Dry flies are you best option all year-round. From January through March the blue winged olive works well. From February through April, then again from July through October you can go with the caddis fly. April and May are the perfect time for a pale morning dun. During the summer months of June through September a stone fly works well. Also during the summer months from June through August is the grasshopper. From July through October you can switch to a moth.

Cimarron: March and April are perfect for the blue winged olive. April, May, July, August, September, and October make use of the caddis fly. In June and July the stone fly makes sense. August and September are perfect timing for the grasshopper. July, August, September, and October are the moth. Then in May, June, and July you can use the pale morning dun.

Costilla Creek: In August and September the blue winged olive is perfect. June through October is ideal for the caddis fly, stone fly, grasshopper, and moth. Then in August and September you can use the pale morning dun.

Because so many of the locations are rivers, some of which are smaller in size, fishing from the shore is almost always an option. Keep this smaller size in mind when picking the size of your rod and reel. Wading is also popular so be sure to pack a pair of good quality waders.

Before you start fishing, first check that it is in public waters. There are many places in the state that are private waters, so that means you don't have permission to be fishing there. Of course you will also need a valid fishing license for any person who is 12 years of age and older. The license is valid from April 1 until March 31 each year. New Mexico doesn't have as many fish as some of the other states, so you'll find the rules can be stricter here. Be sure you are well aware of the regulations and rules before heading out. The can be found at the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish website.

The state of New Mexico is sure to leave you impressed with its diversity of streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes as with the variety of fish available. Because you can fish year-round in New Mexico it’s also a very flexible destination. Even if you aren’t looking to make a vacation out of it, there are locations that are perfect for a quick day trip. What makes New Mexico really stand out is the fact it still seems undiscovered so you aren’t fighting the crowds. For many fly fishers out there, crowds are enough to send you packing and running for home, so the idea of being the only one on the water is extremely intriguing.