What’s your pleasure? Easy access, solitude, or a little bushwhacking? Lake or river? Taos waters can accommodate. Northern New Mexico offers mid-summer anglers a welcome relief from the summer heat in the flat lands of neighboring Oklahoma and Texas. We also offer a range of choices for bountiful lake and public and private river fishing.
Our waters are well-known for excellent trout fishing. Along with Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout, the Taos area is home to the native Rio Grande Cutthroat trout. Streams like the Rio Costilla, Hondo and the Santa Barbra offer anglers a unique chance to pursue these beautiful fish surrounded by magnificent scenery.
Finding a great guide is simple as can be in Taos. The Taos Fly Shop is a smart place to start. Blue Yonder Fly Fishing offers all-inclusive guide service for an easy and rewarding day on the water.
With a myriad of small and even tiny creeks—from the mighty canyons of the Rio Grande and the Cimarron River to the high-mountain streams like Red River, the Taos area provides you with an unbelievable variety of waters and trout.
Joey Phillips, Blue Yonder Fly Fishing
Rio Grande Box above the confluence of the Red River is especially good in fall for Rainbows and Browns averaging 8 to 14 inches, some bigger. Moderate to difficult hiking and wadingwading is necessary to fish the majority of the river, though there is some good vehicle access at the John Dunn Bridge and further downstream near Pilar. Choosing to hike into the canyon can offer solitude and better fishing. Wading in the Rio Grande ranges from difficult to down-right dangerous. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen, and wear a hat.
The lower section of Rio Hondo, 10 miles north of Taos, offers easy river access just before its confluence with the Rio Grande. The upper Hondo runs much faster. Good holes in this section, but beware of brush along the stream's banks. Browns and Cutthroats will eagerly take dry flies in the warmer months.
If you're looking for solitude and slow, try the Rio Chiquito (Little Rio Grande) watershed. About 50 miles of streams, some areas only 5 to 10 feet wide. Small trout and brazen brush, but some open areas and beaver ponds for quiet angling.
The Rio Pueblo is a good-sized creek in a rugged canyon. The river flows northwest and oxbows HWY 518 for several miles. There are plenty of good holding areas with some reasonable sized Browns and Rainbows. The upside: the river scenery is stunning.
Outside of Taos
For those looking for a sweet retreat that combines the comfort and charm of historic lodging and delicious meals with waking to the promise of a full day of excellent angling, there’s the Cimarroncita Historic Ranch Retreat in Ute (45 miles form Taos). Dubbed “Dream Waters,” the Cimarron River offers some of the finest fly fishing in the Southwest, with one of the healthiest dominant wild brown trout populations in New Mexico. With environments for both beginner and advanced anglers, the river offers prime characteristics for adventurous fishing: fast riffles, deep runs, bend pools, undercut banks, a spring creek tributary, fast and slow channels, and pockets. Catch and release water, requiring barbless flies. Professional guides available for referral and fishing.
The main waters for salmon and trout in the area are Eagle Nest, Lake, El Vado Lake and Heron Lake. The State reports Coho salmon snagged from El Vado. Record-size trout have been reported at Heron Lake State Park, with a fishing trail along the gorgeous Rio Chama. The 5.5 mile trail, which crosses the river by suspension bridge, affords panoramic views and an adventurous route to neighboring El Vado Lake, where you can angle for Rainbows and Browns all year. Quiet coves around the lake are great places to catch trout and even Kokanee salmon. Kokanee season: Nov. 1-Jan. 31.
Eagle Nest Lake offers anglers excellent opportunities for Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon fishing. This 2,400-acre lake is situated in the high country of Moreno Valley, adjacent to the village of Eagle Nest. Only 15 minutes away is the ski and golf resort of Angel Fire; 30 minutes to Red River; and 45 minutes from Taos and Taos Pueblo.
Photo by courtesy of Taylor Streit, Taos Fly Shop