Copyright 2017 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Rio Grande River New
The Rio Grande River begins in the state of Colorado and
flows into New Mexico. We have a separate website
section on the Colorado section. The Rio Grande in New
Mexico section is known for its very deep gorges. The
best area to fish is the upper gorge but you will remember
it well when you fish it. It's a mile hike with an almost 1000
foot vertical decline. Fly fishing New Mexico's Rio Grande
River can be difficult due to its ruggedness.
Trout in the Rio Grande River in New Mexico consist
mostly of brown trout. There are also some good size
cutthroats. There are also some large cutbows.
This can be a muddy river during heavy thunderstorm
activity. It's water is mainly used for irrigation. Summertime
water clarity is unpredictable. From September through
October is the most consistent water levels and clarity.
Also the Red River tributary can greatly influenced the
water clarity below its confluence.
There's a great Little Black Caddis hatch referred to as
the Mother's Day hatch that occurs in the middle of April.
The water is usually covered with them. It can be affected
by the spring run off which is usually also in April. If the
hatch misses the runoff, it can be a great time to fish the
river. There's also plenty of stoneflies in the stream.
The Red River, Rio Pueblo, and Rio Embudo are the
major Rio Grande tributary streams and each of these
can also offer some great fishing opportunities if you fish
them at the right time.
Fly fishing the Rio Grande River successfully is mostly a
matter of timing. Other than that, it just takes the effort to
get into its gorges. Once your there, if the water is at a
good level and clear, fishing can be absolutely great.
The aquatic insect populations varies depending on the
section of the river you are fishing but those listed below
are plentiful throughout most of the stream from its
headwaters to its lower section.
Prior to the runoff, the main hatches consist of Western
March Browns and Blue-winged Olives. The March
Browns can get caught up in the high runoff water
depending on the exact time it occurs. The BWOs can
start as early as late February and early March but April
usually is the most consistent time for the hatches to
begin. About six different species, mostly Baetis, species
make up what is called BWOs. There's also a Fall hatch
of the Blue-winged Olives. It usually takes place from late
September through the month of October.
Midges are very plentiful in the Rio Grande. Imitations will
work well anytime and become more important when the
water is too cold for most other insects. Small black winter
stoneflies hatch in the early season, even when there's
snow on the ground. These are mostly found in the fast
Salmonflies are present in some sections of the river and
begin to emerge in early June. They are often caught up
in the Spring runoff. You will find some hatches of Golden
Stoneflies become to come off in late June to early July.
The hatches can last into the first of August. Little Yellow
Stoneflies are plentiful in fast water sections in late July
and early August.
The first caddisflies to hatch are the Little Black Caddis,
called the Mothers Day hatch in most places in the West.
This hatch starts in mid April and last about a month. In is
a sparse hatch but can be important.
In late June and early July, there's several different
species of caddisflies called Spotted Sedges that begin to
hatch. These are the most plentiful of the caddisflies and
the different species hatch throughout most of the
Summer and on into the early Fall. There are also some
Green Sedges that hatch from May to September.
In late June, usually before the runoff ends, Pale Morning
Duns will start hatching. The PMD hatch will last most of
the summer and other than BWOs is the most consistent
In some areas of the fast water you will find a few Pink
Ladies that hatch in August and September. Many
anglers call these mayflies Yellow Quills.
In the late Summer, August and September, terrestrials
can play an important role in the trout's diet. Imitations of
grasshoppers, ants and beetles will become important
Sculpin are very plentiful throughout the river. There are
some other types of baitfish and minnows but sculpin are
by far the most important in the food supply for the trout.
The season is open year-round.
Early, before runoff in April can be good.
Summer is good, provided the water is clear. .
September through October is considered the best time
to fish the Rio Grande in New Mexico.
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Rio Grande River New Mexico Fishing Report:
05/24/16 The stream levels are very high and the water stained from Spring Runoff. It will
be a few days clearing. We will keep you updated.
Rio Grande River New Mexico
06/07/16 The river is still high and stained from runoff. You will just have to wait and watch
the levels. Hopefully, since it started early, it will end early.
07/19/16 The stream levels are in good shape and several hatches are underway including
Pale Morning duns, little Yellow and Golden stoneflies, Green drakes, Spotted and green
Sedges and more.
08/02/16 Excellent reports coming in. Good stream levels and lots of trout being caught.
Lots of hatches are underway. It doesn't get much better.
08/30/16 Stream levels are just a little low but normal for this time of the season. There are
lots of caddisflies, green sedges, Spotted sedges and little sisters. Tricos are hatching.
Terrestrial insects, ants, beetles and hopper are working.
09/20/16 The stream levels are low but otherwise in good shape. The weather is a little
cooler and our customers are catching trout. There is a chance of rain everyday for the next
week, so the levels could change.
10/11/16 The stream is just a little below normal but great conditions otherwise. There are
lots of hatching of October caddis, BWOs and Mahogany duns.
11/01/16 The stream levels are good and our customers are catching lots of trout. Brown trout
are spawning to post-spawn and Brown sculpin streamers are catching them. There are some
good Blue-winged olive hatches taking place.
11/29/16 Lost of trout are being caught by the few fishing the river. The stream levels are a
little low but in great shape otherwise. Blue-winged olives and midges are hatching.
12/13/16 Fish the lower end of the river that holds trout. The water temperature is in the high
thirties. Midges, Creams and Reds are hatching. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem.
01/10/17 We don't recommend fishing at this time. The water has a lot of slush ice in it and is
barely above freezing. Check back as the weather warms some.
01/24/17 The very lowest end of the river that holds trout may be okay, but all the canyon
section is still too cold with lots of ice. Wait until it warms up a little.
02/07/17 The upper river to the Colorado line is too cold to fish. The lower river is okay with
water temperatures ranging from 34 to 36 degrees. Fish midges, creams or reds.
04/04/17 Flows have been high for the past month but are now down near normal. The water
is getting a little warmer and clear and conditions looking much better. Midges, light greens,
and little Blue-winged olives should catch trout.
04/25/17 The flows are very high and the water very dingy but it should be settling down in a
05/23/17 The stream levels are still high, too high to wade safely. There are lots of stoneflies,
mayflies and caddisflies hatching. Fish as soon as the water gets low enough. It will be good.