By Taylor Streit
The best fly fishing in late summer is to be found at the high elevations and on the tail waters. Avoid lakes (except those at very high elevations) as the trout will have gone very deep and be sluggish. The Rio Grande will usually be muddy from summer cloud bursts. Streams below irrigation ditches may be too low and warm for decent fishing.
Tail waters usually fish well in hot weather. Excellent hatches and reliable flows make the San Juan a good choice during August and September. Although there will be plenty of folks that’s not so bothersome if you are hooked up to on the San Juan’s monster rainbows. The tail water below El Vado dam on the Chama River can fish well at this time as the fish tend to migrate towards the dam in hot weather. Call 505-758-8148 for stream flow information. Flows below 300 cfs are best.
If you are looking for solitude the smaller mountain streams will be at their best if there has been adequate rain to fill them. Weather is a huge factor at this time. Hot dry days will make fishing tough. During such weather fish at higher elevations. Streams such as the upper Pecos, Rio Hondo, and Santa Barbara are good choices. These creeks are fast and anglers are not easily detected through the choppy surface, important on bright days. Use short (7-8ft.) rods. Nine foot rods can work well also if they are used to poke through the brush and drop the fly down on the trout. Use a short leader and dry flies like the Royal Wulff or Elk Hair Caddis. One that you can see on fast water.
You can usually wade wet at this time of year, but be sure to carry rain gear as the storms are to be expected.
Taylor Streit is the author of “Taylor Streit’s No Nonsense Guide to Fly Fishing in New Mexico” and guides in Chama and Taos New Mexico. When the snow flies in New Mexico, Taylor takes flyfishers to Argentina.
(Taylor can be reached at 505-751-1312 – PO Box 2759 Taos, New Mexico 87571)