Categories ArchivesExcerpts from Van's Book

Defining Small Streams and Creeks standard

(excerpted from the Flyfisher’s Guide to™ New Mexico by Van Beacham) – In defining a small stream or creek in New Mexico you must first put into perspective the difference in water size here compared to waters in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah. To explain, I’ll tell you a fish story about a fellow guide I know named Rick from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He came to New Mexico to ski Taos and check out the winter fishing I’d been telling him about. I took him to the Red River, at its confluence with the Rio Grande, the first day. After walking almost a mile and a half down the Gorge to the confluence he looked at the two rivers ...

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The Rio Grande Gorge standard

(excerpted from the Flyfisher’s Guide to™ New Mexico by Van Beacham) – Most people think of the Rio Grande as a muddy channel along the Mexican border, but like many great American rivers, the Rio Grande originates high in the Rocky Mountains. Two tremendous mountain ranges, the San Juans and the Sangre de Cristos, are the source of hundreds of crystal-clear creeks, streams, and lakes in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, all of which are part of the Rio Grande watershed. After gathering these headwaters, the Rio Grande flows through the broad San Luis Valley and enters the Rio Grande Gorge 14 miles north of the New Mexico state line. Known locally as the Gorge, it was not actually ...

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Small-Stream Flyfishing, part 2 standard

(excerpted from the Flyfisher’s Guide to™ New Mexico by Van Beacham) If we all had to guide on strictly wild freestone streams many guides would be out of business. Not only are they unpredictable compared to tailwaters, which makes guiding more difficult, but many beginning anglers don’t have the time or the patience to fish streams that don’t consistently produce. Let’s face it, when you’re learning and you only have a few days a year on the water, you want to go where you have the best chance of catching lots of fish. That means hiring a guide and going to one of the best rivers, usually a tailwater. Even my business, The Solitary Angler, which specializes in “quality flyfishing ...

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Small-Stream Flyfishing, part 1 standard

(excerpted from the Flyfisher’s Guide to™ New Mexico by Van Beacham) When most people think of flyfishing the Rocky Mountain West, they probably imagine themselves standing hip deep in a broad western river, casting 30 to 40 feet of line into a deep riffle or pocket they can’t reach by wading. Or floating down a big river in a drift boat, pounding the banks with a big attractor and anticipating the slashing attack of a wild trout. But the reality is that the majority of western flyfishing water is in the form of small streams and creeks, most of which have yet to be discovered by all but the most adventurous anglers. You see, all those big rivers actually start ...

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About Flyfishing in New Mexico standard

(excerpted from the Flyfisher’s Guide to™ New Mexico by Van Beacham) – The information in this book is based on my own experience and that of other anglers who’ve fished here over the last 46 years, when we had normal or above normal water flows. It’s important to note that until about 10 years ago, New Mexico had been in a very wet, 30-year cycle. But from about 1998 until 2005, New Mexico, along with much of the West, suffered from an extended drought, and some of our streams and lakes definitely took a beating. From 2005 to the present (2010), we have been averaging above normal precipitation again and things have improved dramatically, although not fully. Still, depending on ...

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New Mexico Game Fish standard

(excerpted from the Flyfisher’s Guide to™ New Mexico by Van Beacham) – New Mexico has a wide variety of cold and warmwater game fish that flyfishers can pursue, ranging from the normal trout species to cuttbow hybrids, kokanee salmon, striped bass, walleye, and even catfish. The NMDGF regulations booklet gives a description of each of these, but most flyfishers concentrate on the few species listed below. Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) The rainbow trout takes its name from the pinkish-red band along the midline of its flanks. This band may be heavy or almost nonexistent, leaving the fish a silvery color. The fish is marked across its head, back, and upper flanks with many small, irregular black spots that are concentrated ...

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