A MESSAGE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF GAME & FISH
As COVID-19 continues to force all of us to make changes to our daily schedule, the department would like to remind you that together we can make a difference.
2020-2021 New Mexico fishing licenses are on sale, valid April 1 to March 31.
This fishing report, provided by Dustin Berg of Go Unlimited (supporting disabled anglers) and the Department of Game and Fish, has been generated from the best information available from area officers and anglers. Conditions encountered after the report is compiled may differ, as stream, lake and weather conditions alter fish and angler activities.
Catching Big Fish with Small Bugs, Volume 1
We would like to welcome anglers to join in contributing to the weekly fishing reports. For future “Catching Big Fish with Small Bugs” reports or other stories, tips and tricks, please share your contributions with Berg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whenever I am going to fish a lake, river or pond, I try to pay very close attention to what is on the fish buffet. More specifically, I try to notice what the fish are primarily eating. For this report, we are going to focus on the very small midge insect that trout love to feast on.
The midge is incredibly small, only the size of a couple of flakes of pepper. They are so small that you probably will not see them floating in the water unless they are grouped in a cluster.
The aquatic midge life cycle is broken down into four stages. They start as an egg before metamorphosing into larvae, pupae and eventually adults. The first three stages take place in the water; as a winged adult, they live above the surface.
The most effective way for an angler to imitate midge insects is by using flies tied on tiny hooks that measure only a few millimeters in length. Size 30, 26 and 24 are popular hook sizes for midge flies.
The emerger is a midge fly resembling the transition that occurs at the water’s surface as midge transitions from pupae to adult. These flies are often used for fishing from the water’s surface down to three-feet deep. Subsurface midge flies, imitating the larvae and pupae stages, are often fished at two-to-six-feet deep. The depth at which any of these flies are used is dependent on the overall water depth and at what level fish are prevalent. A number six split-shot weight positioned a foot above your fly is an excellent way to achieve depth.
A strike indicator placed on your fishing line five-to-six-feet above your fly serves as an indicator for when a fish eats your fly, much like a traditional bobber. If the water is only three-feet deep, then the indicator should be placed approximately three-feet above your fly and so on.
Dry fly or floating midge flies are often tied to imitate a cluster of adult midges grouped floating on the water’s surface. These flies work best when you can visually see fish rising to eat from the water’s surface. Floatant is used to keep your fly from sinking.
My good friend Chris Gallegos is a professional angler on the San Juan River. He has been teaching me for years the art of fly fishing. He says there are three main components to mastering the art of mending and working with a light pound-test fishing line.
1. Use light tackle. Gallegos prefers three-weight fly rods and two-or-three-pound test fishing line. Light pound test line is not as stiff and allows small flies to move more naturally.
2. Use little flies when imitating the midge. Gallegos prefers size 30, 26 and 24 barbless hooks.
3. Master mending your fishing line. As your fishing line and fly float downstream, chances are that your line and fly will float at different rates. Varying speeds in the current can vary across sections of the river. Mending your line is to adjust for these variances, allowing your fly to continue at its natural rate, unencumbered by pulling from the line that it is attached to.
Implementing some of today’s tips and tricks in combination with the productive midge fly patterns will increase your success as an angler. There are so many intricacies to fishing using small flies, so please stay tuned for more techniques, tackle and fly patterns in a series of reports we have dubbed “Catching Big Fish with Small Bugs.”
The department reminds anglers it is their responsibility to be aware of closures and contact land managers for properties of interest when restrictions are lifted.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
New Mexico State Lands
New Mexico State Parks
New Mexico Open Gate Properties
New Mexico Wildlife Management Areas
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Consult local government websites for information regarding specific city and town fishing access.