Fly-Fishing on the Rio Grande
In northcentral New Mexico,fly fishing centers on the Rio Grande River. The Rio Grande River is a cold-water fishery, which contains rainbow and brown trout, smallmouth bass, great northern pike and carp. All of these species have been introduced into the Rio Grande River. The indigenous trout of the river was the Rio Grande cutthroat trout, which could not compete with the introduced species. Pike have been recently introduced into the world of fly fishing as a new and interesting species to pursue. Rainbow trout are currently stocked in the Rio Grande. Brown trout, smallmouth bass and pike are self-sustaining.
A chunky hard-fighting smallmouth bass, caught on a Wooly Bugger
A fat "hold-over" rainbow, caught on an Elk Hair caddis
A brightly-colored male brown trout, caught on a Wooly Bugger
The Rio Grande river has good populations of caddis flies, mayflies, stoneflies and crane flies, along with baitfish species. Standard fly patterns include: Double-hackle peacock (a.k.a. Warden's Worry), Bitch Creek and other stonefly nymph imitations; Beadhead Hare's Ear, BH Prince nymph, BH Pheasant Tail and other mayfly nymphs; various caddis pupae imitations; Miracle and other small nymphs; large Cranefly larvae imitations; Wooly Buggers and other streamers; terrestrials and dry flies appropriate to the hatch. The river fishes well at all times of the year except during the late spring/early summer run-off, and the coldest months of the winter.
Float fishing takes place in two sections of the Rio Grande. The first (and most upstream) is in the Orilla Verde ("Green Banks") Recreation Area, found adjacent to NM 570, upstream of Pilar. This 7-mile stretch is extremely scenic, set into a 700' deep canyon cut into black basalt rock. Gentle sections alternate with riffles, with only three small Class 2 (“easy”) rapids. Developed campgrounds adjacent to the river are found throughout this stretch. This stretch ends at Quartzite site, on NM 68 in Pilar.
The second is the 9-mile Bosque ("Cottonwood Grove") stretch, which starts at the Taos/Rio Arriba County Line and finishes at the Embudo Station Restaurant or near the Velarde diversion dam. Large cottonwood groves alternate with orchards and some riverside homes. There are no rapids on this stretch. Gentle sections alternate with riffles. In places public land borders the river and the highway is not in view. This stretch is especially scenic in the fall when the cottonwood leaves change color.
Float fishing is done from a raft equipped with a fishing frame, which has swiveling seats in both ends. Floating is interspersed with wade fishing at select spots. New Wave Rafting Co. is permitted by the Bureau of Land Management to conduct guided fishing trips on the Rio Grande.
Hours: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, unless otherwise arranged.
or call us today at 1 (800) 984-1444.
A Great northern pike took a purple bunny lead-head jig
Dry fly fishing for brown trout. The Rio Grande is fine for wet-wading in the summer.
Your host and guide, Steve Miller