Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Pecos River New Mexico
New Mexico's Pecos River begins on the western
slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It's a 926
mile long tributary of the Rio Grande River. Just over
twenty miles of the Pecos River, from the headwaters to
Tererro, is designated as a National Wild and Scenic
River. Fly fishing the Pecos River requires some hiking
to get to the best water.

The headwater streams flow together near Cowles to
form the main stem. From there it flows through two
canyons and consist mostly of fast, pocket water. The
upper canyon is called the "box". The lower canyon is
just downstream of the small Willow Creek tributary.

State highway #63 follows along nearby the stream but
hiking is required to reach the canyon sections. Both
the small tributary headwater streams and the canyon
sections have populations of smaller size rainbows and
browns. The rainbows are stocked but the browns are
wild, stream-bred trout. The tiny headwater streams
have a few Rio Grande Cutthroats for those willing to
hike into the Pecos Wilderness area.

Fishing begins in April but runoff affects the first part of
the season. It usually starts in late March but can last
well into May depending on the snowpack. The fishing
last through September and into October but low water
can be a problem in the late Summer. The season is
year-round but it's almost impossible to fish the higher
elevations in the winter months.

The Pecos River has a good population of stoneflies
including the large Salmonflies and Golden Stoneflies.
There's also plenty of mayflies and caddisflies.
Terrestrial imitations are popular flies during the
summer months.

Fly fishing the Pecos River during the stonefly hatches
can be very rewarding. The big Salmonflies start
hatching in late May and continue through mid June.
The Golden stoneflies start about the time the
salmonfly hatch ends and last into the middle of July.
These are very prolific in the canyon section.

March Browns and Dark Red Quill mayflies start
hatching in late June and last into the first of August.
Pale Morning duns can hatch from June into the month
of August. Blue-winged Olives hatch twice a year, in the
spring and early fall. Tricos hatch in the slow sections
of the river in July and August.

Little Black Caddis hatch in May. Several species of
Spotted Sedges and Green Sedge Caddisflies are both
very plentiful starting in late June and hatching into
September. There are other species of caddisflies.

There are two areas on the Pecos with Special Trout
Water regulations. It is "catch and release, single
barbless hooks only" in the Pecos Wilderness above
Pecos Falls. Only two trout, 12 inches long can be take
from the "Box" from 1/2 mile above the confluence of
the Mora-Pecos upstream 1.5 miles to 1/4 mile above
Cowles bridge. All other sections are under the normal
New Mexico trout regulations.

Seasons:
The Pecos River trout fishing season runs year-round.
Spring:
Fly fishing the Pecos River is good just before and
after runoff which ends in May.
Summer:
Fishing is good from the end of the runoff in May
through the summer months.
Fall:
Fall fishing is good trough September and sometimes
into October.

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Type of Stream
Freestone

Species
Rainbow Trout (Stocked with some
holdovers)
Brown Trout (Wild)
Cutthroat
Cut Bows (hybrids)

Size
Small to medium

Location
North Central New Mexico

Nearest Towns
Cowles
Tererro
Santa Fe

Season
Year-round

Access:
Good but hiking required to reach
most areas

Non-Resident License
State of New Mexico

Weather
National Weather Service Link

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Map of Pecos River