Rio Grande River Brown Trout
Copyright 2021 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Rio Grande River New
The Rio Grande River begins in the state of Colorado and
flows into New Mexico.
We have a separate website
section on the Colorado section. The Rio Grande in New
Mexico section is known for its very deep gorges. The
best area to fish is the upper gorge but you will remember
it well when you fish it. It's a mile hike with an almost 1000
foot vertical decline. Fly fishing New Mexico's Rio Grande
River can be difficult due to its ruggedness.

Trout in the Rio Grande River in New Mexico consist  
mostly of brown trout. There are also some good size
cutthroats. There are also some large cutbows.

This can be a muddy river during heavy thunderstorm
activity. It's water is mainly used for irrigation. Summertime
water clarity is unpredictable. From September through
October is the most consistent water levels and clarity.
Also the Red River tributary can greatly influenced the
water clarity below its confluence.

There's a great Little Black Caddis hatch referred to as
the Mother's Day hatch that occurs in the middle of April.
The water is usually covered with them. It can be affected
by the spring run off which is usually also in April. If the
hatch misses the runoff, it can be a great time to fish the
river. There's also plenty of stoneflies in the stream.

The Red River, Rio Pueblo, and Rio Embudo are the
major Rio Grande tributary streams and each of these
can also offer some great fishing opportunities if you fish
them at the right time.

Fly fishing the Rio Grande River successfully is mostly a
matter of timing. Other than that, it just takes the effort to
get into its gorges. Once your there, if the water is at a
good level and clear, fishing can be absolutely great.

The aquatic insect populations varies depending on the
section of the river you are fishing but those listed below
are plentiful throughout most of the stream from its
headwaters to its lower section.

Prior to the runoff, the main hatches consist of Western
March Browns and Blue-winged Olives. The March
Browns can get caught up in the high runoff water
depending on the exact time it occurs. The BWOs can
start as early as late February and early March but April
usually is the most consistent time for the hatches to
begin. About six different species, mostly
Baetis, species
make up what is called BWOs. There's also a Fall hatch
of the Blue-winged Olives. It usually takes place from late
September through the month of October.

Midges are very plentiful in the Rio Grande. Imitations will
work well anytime and become more important when the
water is too cold for most other insects. Small black winter
stoneflies hatch in the early season, even when there's
snow on the ground. These are mostly found in the fast
pocket water.

Salmonflies are present in some sections of the river and
begin to emerge in early June. They are often caught up
in the Spring runoff. You will find some hatches of Golden
Stoneflies become to come off in late June to early July.
The hatches can last into the first of August. Little Yellow
Stoneflies are plentiful in fast water sections in late July
and early August.

The first caddisflies to hatch are the Little Black Caddis,
called the Mothers Day hatch in most places in the West.
This hatch starts in mid April and last about a month. In is
a sparse hatch but can be important.

In late June and early July, there's several different
species of caddisflies called Spotted Sedges that begin to
hatch. These are the most plentiful of the caddisflies and
the different species hatch throughout most of the
Summer and on into the early Fall. There are also some
Green Sedges that hatch from May to September.

In late June, usually before the runoff ends, Pale Morning
Duns will start hatching. The PMD hatch will last most of
the summer and other than BWOs is the most consistent
mayfly hatch.

In some areas of the fast water you will find a few Pink
Ladies that hatch in August and September. Many  
anglers call these mayflies Yellow Quills.

In the late Summer, August and September, terrestrials
can play an important role in the trout's diet. Imitations of
grasshoppers, ants and beetles will become important

Sculpin are very plentiful throughout the river. There are
some other types of baitfish and minnows but sculpin are
by far  the most important in the food supply for the trout.

The season is open year-round.
Early, before runoff in April can be good.
Summer is good, provided the water is clear. .
September through October is considered the best time
to fish the Rio Grande in New Mexico.

Click Here For Fishing Gear, Tackle and Flies
Type of Stream
Freestone Stream

Rainbow Trout
Brown Trout


Northern New Mexico

Nearest Towns


Tough in most areas, deep gorges

Non-Resident License
State of New Mexico

National Weather Service Link

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Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
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 (
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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Rio Grande River New Mexico Fishing Report:
05/24/16 The stream levels are very high and the water stained from Spring Runoff. It will
be a few days clearing. We will keep you updated.
Rio Grande River New Mexico
Fishing Report:
Updated 01/16/2021
(see below)
06/07/16 The river is still high and stained from runoff. You will just have to wait and watch
the levels. Hopefully, since it started early, it will end early.
07/19/16 The stream levels are in good shape and several hatches are underway including
Pale Morning duns, little Yellow and Golden stoneflies, Green drakes, Spotted and green
Sedges and more.
08/02/16 Excellent reports coming in. Good stream levels and lots of trout being caught.
Lots of hatches are underway. It doesn't get much better.
08/30/16 Stream levels are just a little low but normal for this time of the season. There are
lots of caddisflies, green sedges, Spotted sedges and little sisters. Tricos are hatching.
Terrestrial insects, ants, beetles and hopper are working.
09/20/16 The stream levels are low but otherwise in good shape. The weather is a little
cooler and our customers are catching trout. There is a chance of rain everyday for the next
week, so the levels could change.
10/11/16 The stream is just a little below normal but great conditions otherwise. There are
lots of hatching of October caddis, BWOs and Mahogany duns.
11/01/16 The stream levels are good and our customers are catching lots of trout. Brown trout
are spawning to post-spawn and Brown sculpin streamers are catching them. There are some
good Blue-winged olive hatches taking place.
11/29/16 Lost of trout are being caught by the few fishing the river. The stream levels are a
little low but in great shape otherwise. Blue-winged olives and midges are hatching.
12/13/16 Fish the lower end of the river that holds trout. The water temperature is in the high
thirties. Midges, Creams and Reds are hatching. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem.
01/10/17 We don't recommend fishing at this time. The water has a lot of slush ice in it and is
barely above freezing. Check back as the weather warms some.
01/24/17 The very lowest end of the river that holds trout may be okay, but all the canyon
section is still too cold with lots of ice. Wait until it warms up a little.
02/07/17 The upper river to the Colorado line is too cold to fish. The lower river is okay with
water temperatures ranging from 34 to 36 degrees. Fish midges, creams or reds.
04/04/17 Flows have been high for the past month but are now down near normal. The water
is getting a little warmer and clear and conditions looking much better. Midges, light greens,  
and little Blue-winged olives should catch trout.
04/25/17 The flows are very high and the water very dingy but it should be settling down in a
short time.
05/23/17 The stream levels are still high, too high to wade safely. There are lots of stoneflies,
mayflies and caddisflies hatching. Fish as soon as the water gets low enough. It will be good.
06/06/17 The stream is still very high and stained to muddy from runoff. This is likely to last
another week or so. Check back with us and we will keep you informed of the status.
07/18/17 The runoff is finally over and the stream levels down and in good shape. There are
lots of insects hatching, including some big stoneflies. We received two good reports from he
past week.
07/25/17 Rain brought it back up again a little high but it is falling fast. There are multiple
hatches taking place. We had one good report from a customer this past week.
08/08/17 The river is in good shape. Fish the canyon section for the best results. Yes, it is a
little rugged but there are plenty of willing trout.
08/22/17 We are receiving some more good reports. There are some nice hatches taking
place and trout being caught. Conditions are very good.
09/12/17 We are getting some very good reports from customers fishing the river. There are
still plenty of hatches taking place and terrestrials are also working good.
09/26/17 Stream levels are a little low but wading easy and safe. The canyon is turning out
some good trout. It requires a little hiking but you should have good results. Western Ginger
Quills, Red Quills, BWOs, spotted sedges, October caddis and more.
10/10/17 The stream levels are a little too high to wade. You will have to wait until it falls back
down but shouldn't take long.
11/23/17 Stream levels are in good shape and Cream and Red midges, and Blue-winged
olives are hatching. We received two good reports from customers this past week.
01/04/18 The river has some slush ice in places and lots of bank ice and snow. Midges and
Winter stoneflies are hatching. Fish the lower section of the river.
02/14/18 The lower river (that holds trout) is a little warmer with good stream levels. We didn't
receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week, but it should be very good.
03/13/18 The stream levels are a little low but otherwise, it is in good shape. It is still cold,
averaging about 35 in the middle and lower sections. Midges, winter and Skwala stoneflies are
04/04/18 Midges, little Blue-winged olives, and Skwala stoneflies are hatching. Stream levels
are down near normal levels.
04/19/18 Stream levels are good and there are some good hatches taking place. Fish the
lower section of the river.
05/03/18 Great conditions with good hatches and good dry fly action. The stream levels are a
little below normal but wading easy and safe with caution.
07/19/18 The uppermost canyon section is turning out some trout lately. There are some good
hatches of Red quills, Spotted sedge, little Yellow stoneflies, PMDs and other insects. Stream
levels are a little low.
08/16/18 The canyon section of the river is turning out some good catches. There are lots of
PMDs, spotted and green sedge caddis, little Yellow stoneflies and other hatches.
09/30/18 The river is turning out some good trout. We get few reports but those we do get are
always good. There are hatches and terrestrials, sculpin streamers and crustaceans are also
10/17/18 The weather and water is cooler, of course, but there are still good BWO and
October caddis hatches taking place. Sculpin streamers will get you the larger trout.
11/26/18 The stream levels are still low but trout are being caught in good numbers
according to the reports we are getting. Sculpin streamers, Midges and BWOs.
12/03/18 Stream levels are a little low and you have to stay hidden. We didn't receive any
reports from the past week but it has been very good.
01/23/19 The stream levels are down low but trout are being caught in good numbers. Send
us an email for a recommended fly list:
03/08/19 We received two good reports from the past week. The water is still cold and light
green midges, winter stoneflies and sculpin still the main flies to be using.
05/19/19 The river is in runoff condition, with very high levels and dingy to highly stained
water. Fish when it clears and drops. Check back with us. We will keep you informed.
06/21/19 Stream levels are high and the river muddy to highly dingy due to Spring runoff. It
will be clearing and dropping soon. Now is the time to get your flies and gear in order. Shoot
us an email and let us help you.
07/07/19 Lots of hatches are taking place. We recieved one good report recently. The river
is just getting low and clear enough to fish.
07/14/19 The river is in good shape with good stream levels and lots of trout being caught.
This coming week should be a good one.
08/09/19 The river has been high again but back down in good shape. We are getting good
reports from customers. Good hatches are taking place.
09/01/19 The river is turning out some good trout. There are still some hatches taking place
and our terrestrial imitations are also working good.
10/22/19 Stream levels are running high, but trout are still being caught. Midges are hatching
and Sculpin patterns are working.
03/03/2020 The stream is flowing at a normal level and there are some hatches taking
place. March browns, midges, little BWOs, and Skwala stoneflies are hatching
03/20/2020 The river continues to turn out some good catches for our customers. Skwala
stoneflies, little BWOs, and Midges are hatching.
05/07/20 The stream levels are high from the start of the runoff. Fish  when it drops.
06/13/20 The stream levels are still high, to high to fish well, from runoff conditions.
07/08/20 The river is down in good shape with good hatches taking place. You should be
able to catch plenty trout.
07/20/20 There are a lot of hatching insects and our customer are sending in some good
catch reports.
08/03/20 The river is a little low but our customers are reporting some good catches. There
are some hatches going on and terrestrial imitations are working.
08/27/20 The river is flowing a little low but we are still getting good reports from customers.
09/13/20 The river is still a little low but we continue to get good reports from customers. Stay
low and as hidden from the trout as you can and make good presentations using Perfect
10/04/20 There are blue-winged olives, Mahogany duns, October caddis and Spotted sedge
caddis hatching as well as a few other insects. We continue to get some good reports from
10/19/20 Stream levels are a little low but we continue to get some good reports. Stay low
and as hidden from the trout as you can. There are good Midge and BWO hatches taking
11/02/20 The stream is still a little below normal but we are getting some very good reports
from customers. There are good hatches and our sculpin streamers are working good.
11/17/20 The stream is a little low but our customers are catching some nice trour. Stay
hidden and use our sculpin and leech pattern streamers.
12/20/20 Good winter stonefly hatches as well as BWOs and midges. We are getting some
good reports.
01/02/21 The river continues to turn out some good catches. Good hatches of winter
stoneflies continue along with midges.
01/16/21 The stream is in fairly good shape for this time of the year. We are getting a few
good reports from customers. There are good hatches and our streamers are working.