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Ed Adams
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1999 Red River Fly Fishing Report Archives

The Red River comes off of the backside of Wheeler Peak and flows thru the town of Red River and down the canyon to Questa. Below Questa it enters a 600' gorge at the Red River Fish Hatchery and some large spring join the natural flow and increases the flow by 30cfs. This constant 55* water warms the water and makes for good fishing all year. Above Questa the river is dead because of pollution from the Moly mine but in the canyon fishing is consistanly good for Browns {8-14"} and in the Fall large Browns come up from the Rio Grande to spawn. In December Cutbos do the same and remain in the lower Red until runoff. Best months are February and March and October and November but fishing is good most months when the water is clear.

January: Very little snow so far this winter with cold nights [0* 10*] and warm days [40*s]Some Cutbos spawning and the only bugs are the tan/grey #14 Mayfly that comes off most days in the early afternoon especially on warm days. No need to get on the stream until noon. Some dry fly action on Para-Adams #14. I don't use egg patterns but others have success for the spawning Cutbos on redds fished with weight and an indicator.

February: Continued warm, dry weather and the January pattern continued for the first half of the month. In mid February we saw the first caddis flies and dry fly action picked up on Elk Hair Caddis and Lil Brown Stone. We had good action fishing a dropper about 14" behind a dry...Best droppers were Caddis larva [green]#14 and Peaking Caddis #12 or a grey Mayfly emerger [Pheasant Tail #14].

March: Weather continued mild and dry.Lots of bugs: Caddis, Stones and Mayflies with the top water action getting better with rising water temps getting into the mid 50*s. Fishing was excellent most days for resident browns [12-14"]. March is one of the best months on the Red especially during this drought cycle we have been in for the past few years and will continue until runoff which I don't think we will see this year. Patterns are the same as February with more emphasis on the Caddis. On 3/20 I was with a client and we had 2 kayakers come downstream on us and after they passed the action ceased..I hope this isn't a sign of things to come..

April: As expected the runoff didn't happen and fishing remains excellent with dries [Caddis/Para-Adams ]and droppers [Caddis and mayfly emergers]. April usually brings high, murky water and fishing is over until the water subsides in June but with our drought conditions it continued unabated thru the month.

May: Big snowstorm on 5/3 with lots of wet snow which we desperately need but fishing is over on the Red for a while..

June: July and August: I don't fish here much in the summer months as there are lots of other places to fish now that summer is on us and I am guiding most days. Summer rains up close to the town of Red River often cause the Red to get almost yellow in color and hence unfishable. After a good rain it often takes the Red a week to clear and makes summer fishing unpredictable. When its clear it can still be worthwhile..Water temps are critical with low water conditions and temps over 65* are too warm and fishing will fall off. The springs that make the Red such a good winter fishery also tend to keep the Red cooler in summer but this year we have been seeing temps as high as 68* in the afternoon during July and August.

September: Cooler weather has improved the temps and fishing has picked up accordingly..Lots of Moths around and trout love them. An oversize caddis pattern #10 works well and can be fished dry or with the usual droppers.

October: Flows and temps have been consistantly good all month and fish are getting very active as they fatten up for the spawn and winter. No spawners yet but excellent top water action with Caddis/Moth..

November: The Browns are right on time and I saw the first ones working redds on 11/2. This year they finished their spawning by 11/15 and seemed to disappear back to the Rio Grande and the second half of the month was not very productive.

December: Some snow and some cold nights [0* 10*].I saw a few Cutbos in the Red in late November but they were really active thru this month and the afternoon Mayfly hatch is the main event for resident fish..Just before Xmas it got very cold [-0*] and fishing got pretty slow except for the odd spawning Cutbo.

Red River Fly Fishing Reports

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New Mexico Fly Fishing Report Archives



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