Culebra Creek, southern Colorado


Sea­son: Year-Round Fish­ing! (Pri­vate Water)

The Cule­bra springs out of the bot­tom of Sanchez Reser­voir, located in San Luis CO, about an hour’s drive north from Taos. Sit­u­ated at the base of the 14,000 plus foot Cule­bra Peak, the creek offers both fan­tas­tic scenery and splen­did fly fish­ing on a year-round basis. The river runs through lovely wide-open pas­tures and mead­ows. The fish, on aver­age, are the largest in the Taos area, with fish 18″ and up not uncommon.

Van Beacham has an exclu­sive lease on about eight miles of the stream, and owns two more. Van only allows anglers to fish the stream with a guide (unless you are one of the few priv­i­leged mem­bers of his Soli­tary Angling Club) which keeps pres­sure down. There are six sec­tions and only one party per day is allowed on each. Every sec­tion receives at least two days rest each week.

Hatches occur all year long (see hatch chart) with pro­lific spring and fall baetis hatches. Stone­flies, cad­dis, crane flies, PMDs and tri­cos hatch all sum­mer and midges hatch all winter.

By far, our clients’ favorite place to fish, Cule­bra Creek in South­ern Col­orado is our crown jewel and per­haps the finest small stream in the south­west, boast­ing a robust pop­u­la­tion of wild browns and cut­bows that aver­age 16 to 20 inches with sev­eral larger fish up to, believe it or not, 30 inches! The num­ber of big fish varies from year to year but the Cule­bra grows fish rapidly so there are always big fish. There are mul­ti­ple rea­sons for the Culebra’s abil­ity to grow big fish. First, it’s a tail-water below Sanchez Reser­voir, which pro­vides nutrient-rich, clean water with less fluc­tu­a­tion of water tem­per­a­tures, result­ing in good year-round feed­ing opportunities.

Sec­ondly, the Cule­bra has numer­ous bends with deep under­cut banks where big fish can hide when endan­gered or threat­ened and very few places for small fish to sur­vive the onslaught from cold win­ter tem­per­a­tures, fast cur­rents and pre­da­tion, thus more big fish. Other fac­tors include man­age­ment tools such as SAC stream and habi­tat improve­ments, catch-and-release fly­fish­ing only, pre­scrip­tion stock­ing of fish, reduc­tion of poach­ing through patrolling and lim­ited angling pres­sure through care­ful sched­ul­ing. (See the SAC brochure for more details.)

flyfishing Culebra Creek

Could be any day, any sec­tion on the Culebra

The secret to suc­cess­ful angling on the Cule­bra is learn­ing which sec­tions fish best at cer­tain water lev­els and times of the year and the dif­fer­ent tech­niques to use dur­ing those con­di­tions. Need­less to say our guides know the Cule­bra inti­mately and can help insure your next fish­ing trip is a suc­cess. We have over 10 miles of the Cule­bra divided into 10 sec­tions (beats) so there is plenty of room to spread out and once you book a sec­tion with your guide, you’re the only one there and chances are that there wasn’t any one there yes­ter­day nor will be tomor­row. The secret to our qual­ity fish­eries is that we “rest the water.”

Come fish the Cule­bra with one of our guides and find out why it is by far our most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion that anglers keep return­ing to year after year.

For details on tech­niques, sea­sons, hatches and access to the Cule­bra Creek refer to my book, The Flyfisher’s Guide to New Mex­ico.

*The entire Cule­bra Creek is also avail­able to mem­bers of the SAC.

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