Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Rio de los Pinos New
The Rio de los Pinos, or river of the pines, is a remote
high country trout stream. The river's headwaters are in
the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado. It flows
into New Mexico and makes a loop that's about twenty
miles long before crossing back into Colorado. This
section of the river flows through pine forest, a few
meadows and some deep canyons. The Rio de los Pinos
terminates at the Rio San Antonio, a few miles south of
More than half of the twenty mile section in New Mexico
flows through the Carson National Forest. About eight
miles of it flows through private property. Part of the
stream, the Rio de los Pinos Wildlife and Fishing Area, is
managed by the New Mexico Department of Game and
Fish. This section lies at the east end of the stream near
the private property section.
There are some cutthroat trout in the headwaters of the
stream below Duck Lake in Colorado but the New Mexico
section contains mostly wild browns and brook trout and
stocked rainbows. The stream is surrounded with high
grass and willow trees in many areas of it upper end but
it is quite different where flows through the Toltec Gorge
You can access the upper end of the Rio de los Pinos
near the Toltec Canyon via the Toltec and Cumbres
Scenic Railroad. It is located at the Chama Railroad
Depot at Antonito, Colorado. You can make
arrangements with them to drop you off and pick you up
at the Osier Station. You will have to hike down in the
Beaver Creek flows into the Rio de los Pinos near its
upper end. It is formed by the confluence of Diablo Creek
and Cruces Creek, both of which are located in the
Cruces Basin Wilderness. Beaver Creek gets its name
from its populations of beavers that form dams along the
stream. These small streams hold mostly brook trout.
They can be accessed at a trailhead at Osha Canyon
located off NM state highway #87.
Forest Service Road #284, off US Highway #285,
provides access to the lower section of the Rio de los
Pinos. There are campgrounds and a few miles of stream
access available from the road. The trout in the lower
section, consisting mostly of browns and rainbows,
average a larger size than those of the upper section.
The stream is larger and consist of pocket water with
some deeper pools and runs.
Be sure to check the special regulations (subject to
change) of the Carson National Forest portion.
Aquatic insects are fairly plentiful in Rio de los Pinos. You
will find blue-winged olives early in the year and again in
the early fall. Pale Morning Duns are also plentiful from
May through June. There are some Dark Red Quills,
Mahogany Duns and other mayflies that hatch in May
Caddisflies are plentiful and mostly consist of Green
Sedges and various species of Spotted Sedges. They
hatch off and on from May through September. There is
also some Little Yellow Stonelfies in the fast water
sections that hatch from late My though June. There are
others but not in plentiful quantities. During the summer
months, ants, beetles and grass hoppers are plentiful and
imitations of them work well.
The season is open year-round.
Early, before runoff in March can be good. Late May
through June is usually a good time for fly fishing Rio de
Early Summer is usually good. Some sections can get a
little on the warm side in July and early August.
Late August through September is probably the best time
to fish the stream.
Click Here For Fishing Gear, Tackle and Flies
|Type of Stream
Rainbow Trout (mostly stocked)
Brown Trout (wild)
Brook Trout (wild)
Small to Medium
Northern New Mexico
Los Pinos, New Mexico
San Miguel, New Mexico
Vallecitos, New Mexico
Easy and plentiful in the lower
section. Tough in most of the upper
area with some deep gorges
State of New Mexico
National Weather Service Link
Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Flies
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
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