Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Chama River - Chama - New Mexico

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

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Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

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Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midges Midday #22-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
February Midges Midday #22-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
March Blue Winged Olive Afternoon #16-20 Pheasant Tail, RS2
April Blue Winged Olive Afternoon #16-20 Pheasant Tail, RS2
Midges Midday #22-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
May Depends on water clarity Varies Varies Varies
June Green Drakes Morning and Evening #10-12 Green Drake Dun, Green Drake Nymph
Stoneflies Evening #4-8 Stimulator, Golden Stone
July Terrestrials Afternoon #8-14 Green Butt Skunk, Dave's Hopper
Caddis Evening #14-18 Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis
Stoneflies Evening #4-8 Stimulator, Golden Stone
August Terrestrials Afternoon #8-14 Green Butt Skunk, Dave's Hopper
Caddis Evening #14-18 Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis
September Blue Winged Olive Afternoon #16-20 Pheasant Tail, RS2
October Blue Winged Olive Afternoon #16-20 Pheasant Tail, RS2
November Midges Midday #22-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
December Midges Midday #22-24 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

The Chama River, located in New Mexico, is renowned for its excellent fly fishing opportunities. The river harbors an abundance of trout, making it a popular spot for both novice and seasoned anglers.

Experienced fly fishers recommend the following spots for a fruitful fishing experience:

  • Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad: The river winds along the track of this historic railroad, providing beautiful and secluded fly fishing spots.
  • Chama River Bend Lodge: Known for its well-stocked waters, this private lodge offers visitors access to some of the Chama River’s best fly fishing experiences.
  • El Vado Lake State Park: Below El Vado Dam, the Chama River’s cold tailwaters create an ideal habitat for trout, attracting fly fishers from across the region.
  • Chama River Canyon Wilderness: Offering both peace and privacy, this wilderness area of the river is abundant in fly fishing spots.

Best Access Points

When choosing the best spots to fly fish on the Chama River, consider the following:

  • Abiquiu Dam: Downstream of Abiquiu Dam provides a splendid fly fishing location due to the high number of brown and rainbow trout.
  • Cooper’s El Vado Ranch: Situated alongside 3/4 mile of the Chama River, it offers private and public access to the river with a chance of large trout.
  • Chama River Canyon Wilderness: This remote region provides access to the river in unspoiled wilderness, offering excellent catch on a good day.
  • Below El Vado Dam: Fish can be large down here, but beware, this area can get busy during the right seasons.
  • Rio Arriba County Public Access: Offers multiple points that are publicly accessible, opening opportunities for excellent fly fishing experiences.

Local Fish

  • Brown Trout: This species is a major target for fly fishers due to their size and fight.
  • Rainbow Trout: They are known for their beautiful bright colors and quick-biting tendency, making them an exciting catch.
  • Brook Trout: Found in the cooler parts of the Chama River, they are known for their striking colors and patterns.
  • Cutthroat Trout: Named for the distinctive red coloration on their throat, fly fishers enjoy the challenge they present.
  • White Sucker: Although not always the favored target, they can be a challenge to catch because of their bottom-dwelling habits.
  • Golden Trout: They are coveted for their brilliant colors and rarity, making them a prized catch for fly anglers.
  • Mountain Whitefish: These fish are native to the Chama River and are popular for their feisty fight and unique appearance.
  • Black Crappie: Being a warm water species, Black Crappie are less common in the Chama River, but remain a target for fly fishing due to their sensitivity to the fly.

About The River

The Chama River, gushing through the landscapes of Northern New Mexico, holds a celebrated history. First inhabited by the ancient Puebloans, appreciation for its bounties spans millennia. This river has been a vital source of water for the settlements along its banks, fostering the growth of their agricultural activities.

  • The Chama River is a major tributary of the Rio Grande, stretching about 130 miles.
  • The river’s course, now famed as the Chama River Wilderness, became officially protected within the Santa Fe National Forest in 1978.
  • Its breathtaking beauty is renowned, with its verdant cottonwood and willow banks orging starkly against the backdrop of New Mexico’s stark desert.
  • The diverse fish population, in particular the rainbow and brown trout, makes it a hot spot for anglers.

Through time and turmoil, the Chama River – Chama continues to flow majestically, an emblem of nature’s endurance and an integral part of the regional identity.

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