Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Rio Vallecitos New Mexico
The Rio Vallecitos is a small stream where it begins at
about 9,500 feet in elevation. It probably averages about
fifteen feet wide in its headwaters. The stream flows
together with Placer Creek to form the main stem of the
Rio Vallecitos about five or six miles below Hopewell Lake.
It flows through both narrow canyons and open  
meadows. There are plenty of brook trout in the stream in
the Placer Creek headwaters along with some brown trout
and some rainbow trout.

The main stem of the river becomes wider and grows to
average between thirty and forty feet in width near its
confluence with the Rio Chama. Its lowest part's name
changes to the Rio Ojo Caliente. This section doesn't
hold trout and is a series of hot springs that are popular
bathing spots. The lower river flows through an open
valley with short sections of canyons. Most of the water is
surrounded by farms. There is a mixture of public and
private water and it's difficult to tell which in some areas.
There is about ten miles of public water.

In the headwater area, there's about two or three miles of
public water just below Hopewell Lake. It's accessible via a
dirt forest road #9181. You will need a 4 wheel drive
vehicle during rainy spells. The road crosses Placer
Creek. You can park and fish upstream on Placer Creek
or continue on to the Rio Vallecitos and park and fish
upstream.

From the beginning of the mainstream downstream to the
confluence of another tributary, La Jarosa Creek, a
distance of about four miles, you will find a mixture of
public and private property. There are some tiny streams
but the main part of the river continues through open
meadows and canyon sections. This is a great dry fly
section with a mixture of brook, brown and rainbows.  

Below La Jarosa Creek downstream for about five miles is
probably the best section of the Rio Vallecitos. Its
accessible from its lower end where Forest Road #274
(off State Highway #111) crosses the river in La Jara
Canyon. Most all of the five mile section is off the road
and requires hiking into a rugged area of canyon water
but it's well worth the effort to fish. Downstream at the
village of Vallecitos you will find also some public water
but it isn't near as good as the section upstream just
mentioned.

Fly fishing the Rio Vallecitos is also possible just above
the village of Ancones where it runs through a narrow
canyon. Above the end of the canyon there's another
short section of public water that's in an open part of the
valley. Its flows are slower and smoother than the pocket
water in the canyon section downstream. These sections
contain mostly brown trout with some rainbows.

Seasons:
The season runs year-round.
Spring:
Fly fishing the Rio Vallecitos is good just before runoff in
the middle of March and April.
Summer:
Fishing is good from the end of the runoff in June through
the summer months.
Fall:
Fall fishing is good, especially for the spawning brown
trout during the month of October.

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Type of Stream
Freestone

Species
Rainbow Trout (Stocked with some
holdovers)
Brown Trout
Brook Trout

Size
Medium

Location
North Central New Mexico

Nearest Towns
Vallecitos
La Madera

Season
Year-round

Access:
Fair - mixture of public and private
waters

Non-Resident License
State of New Mexico

Weather
National Weather Service Link

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