Brown Trout

Fly Fishing on the Cimarron River New Mexico (How and Where)

The Cimarron River originates from Eagle Nest Lake and Dam in northeastern New Mexico. Situated near the eastern edge of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this prime destination for dry fly fishing flows eastward along US Hwy 64. The water eventually joins other rivers and reaches the Mississippi River.

Brown Trout Fly Fishing
Brown Trout Fly Fishing

New Mexico Game and Fish (NMGF) The river is estimated to have roughly 4,000 catchable wild brown trout per mile, making it one of the healthiest wild brown trout fisheries in the state and southern Rocky Mountains.

The majority of wild browns measure between 10-14 inches, with the occasional large fish. The New Mexico Game and Fish department stocks 8-12-inch rainbow trout during the summer months through a put-and-take program.

Check out this page on the NMGF to get the current stocking report. ๐Ÿ‘‰ Cimarron River Stocking Report Link

Where To Fly Fish on the Cimarron River

Ten miles of trout water are open to the public and 8 miles of water flows through the Cimarron Canyon State Park, the other 2 miles are private and only accessible via guide trips.

The state park water begins at the US Hwy 64 bridge just upstream of Tolby Campground and ends at the eastern edge of the state park just west of the small community of Ute Park, NM.

Access Point on the Cimarron River

The two private miles are situated on separate private lands. The first segment, “Holy Water,” covers 3/4 of a mile starting from the outflow of Eagle Nest Lake and Dam.

The other 1.5 miles, known as “Dream Water,” is east of Ute Park, NM. The entire Cimarron River from the eastern boundary of the state park downstream is private.

Guide Pro Tip: New Mexico Game and Fish has Special Trout Waters. PLEASE read the regulations found in this PDF. ๐Ÿ‘‰ New Mexico Special Trout Waters

What is the Cimarron River Like for Fishing?

The Cimarron averages 10-15 feet wide and 1-3 feet deep with every imaginable water characteristic. Fast riffles, deep runs, bend pools, undercut banks, spring creek-like channels, pockets and beaver pools can be found within several hundred yards of each other.

There is a Special Trout Waters section on the Cimarron River. In an effort to help maintain this fabulous wild brown trout fishery please release all brown trout.

Brown Trout Fly Fishing
Brown Trout Fly Fishing learn more in this article ๐Ÿ‘‰ How to Fly Fish for Brown Trout

The Best Fishing Water Flows on the Cimarron

The one constant factor on this tail-water is the willow, alder, cottonwood and pine trees lining the river. The water in the Cimarron is primarily used by ranchers and farmers downriver. The irrigation season runs from May through September when flows can range from 10 cubic feet per second(cfs) to 70 cfs, optimal fishing flows range between 15cfs -50cfs.


Fly Fishing Gear and Setup for the Cimarron River

Tight casting quarters and ever-changing water features challenge fly fishers of all skill levels. The best technique involves quietly wading up-river making short roll casts underneath overhanging branches.

Foundation Fly Rod Combo
Foundation Fly Rod Combo ๐Ÿ‘ˆ Link to Amazon

Sage Foundation Fly Rod and Reel Combo

Are you ready to up your casting game? Looking for a rod that casts a little farther with more accuracy? The Foundation Setup will to step up and deliver. Plus when your buddies see the Sage name you’ll get those jealousy looks.

Read my review Here and watch my on-water review of the Foundation HERE ON YOUTUBE

Check out the link below for more reviews and current pricing.

Rods should be 7-9 foot, 2-5 weights. Waders with felt soles are ideal for the rocky streambed. No need to worry with long leaders, 7.5-foot leadersโ€™ work.

Recommended Flies and Hatch Chart

The big advantage on the Cimarron is the diverse insect population the brown trout thrive upon. From April through September anglers can see at least 5 different stonefly hatches, 11 different caddisflies and countless different mayflies along with midges and a host of terrestrials.

Griffiths Gnat Fly Pattern for Midge
Griffiths Gnat Fly Pattern for Midge
Elk Hair Caddis Fly Pattern
Elk Hair Caddis Fly Pattern
Flying Ant Fly Pattern
Flying Ant Fly Pattern
Fly PatternSizeHatch StartHatch End
Pale Morning Dun (PMD)16April 1Sept 1
Midge20May 1Nov 1
Yellow Sallie14June 1Sept 1
Caddis Dry (Elk Hair)16June 1Oct 1
Light Cahill16June 1Sept 1
Terrestrials (Hoppers)8July 1Oct 1
Ants18July 1Oct 1

A thick Golden Stonefly (Hesperoperla Pacifica) hatch begins in early June moving up river through June into early July. During this hatch 80-100 fish days are possible.

In July numerous species of mayflies hatch, the caddisflies quickly follow in late July. The abundant insect hatches combined with the shallow water makes the Cimarron a premier dry fly fishery.

Resources, Guides and Fly Shops

Solitary Angler is one of the few guide services that operates on the Cimarron.ย  With this river being so small you might want to get a guide to point out the intricates of the water.ย  Solitary Angler is located in Taos with the river only an hour away.

Eagles Nest Fly Shack and Lodge can provide guided trips, lodging at reasonable price and can set you up with some of the necessary gear to make your time on the water memorable.ย  Hereโ€™s a link to learn more

One More Cast for the Cimarron

With willing trout in high densities and easy wading the โ€œCimโ€ will call you back.  The fishable water is concentrated below the dam so finding โ€œthe perfect spotโ€ is easy.  The 8 miles of public water gives folks enough room to spread out with skinny water like this that is easy to wade.

Looking to Learn the Tips and Techniques for the Fish You Love to Chase? I’ve Got You Hooked Up Below

Hi David Humphries Owner of Guide Recommended. I love everything to do with fly fishing. Casting, Tying, YouTube, writing about it and even teaching. I’ve got a FREE video workshop teaching how to dry fly fish at this link How to Fly Fish

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