Tip: If you're making a DIY trip, Texas Hole should no doubt top your list of spots—but it will undoubtedly be stacked with eager anglers. To avoid the crowds, head south toward the Lower Flats day-use area and work your way north to end your day at T Hole. If you'd prefer to have a guide, call up Corey or JB at Fisheads and thank me later. Andrew Miller
Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming tend to dominate conversations about great Western trout streams. But northern New Mexico boasts some of the region’s most underappreciated and highly productive fisheries. Not only do its mountainous, high-desert streams endure less pressure than the big-name Western hotspots, but they are also home to some of the country’s most striking scenery—and fattest fish.
Here are six can’t-miss streams, in no particular order, that deserve a place at the top of your flyfishing bucket list.
The San Juan
Tip: If you’re making a DIY trip, Texas Hole should no doubt top your list of spots—but it will undoubtedly be stacked with eager anglers. To avoid the crowds, head south toward the Lower Flats day-use area and work your way north to end your day at T Hole. If you’d prefer to have a guide, call up Corey or JB at Fisheads and thank me later.
Tip: Coopers at El Vado offers some great camping options, with tent sites, RV hook-ups, and fully furnished cabins for a multi-day adventure. I’d suggest giving yourself no fewer than two days to explore the Chama. Head south away from the dam, and get an early start to cover as much ground as possible—you’re going to need the time.
Tip: Keep driving past the public pull-offs and hike through the special trout-waters section south of Cowles Ponds. Size and bag limits deter most casual anglers from making the trek, giving you the chance to have a piece of river all to yourself.
Tip: If a little hiking doesn’t bother you, call up Reel Life Guide Service in Santa Fe and book a trip along the Brazos Box Trail to fish the section of water owned by Corkins Lodge.
Tip: I’d suggest taking an off-road adventure and driving a high-clearance 4×4 up through Rio Costilla Park to the pristine fish-filled Latir Lakes. You’ll flex your suspension and your fly rod at the base of one of the state’s tallest peaks.
Andrew Miller, formerly of Santa Fe, is a photographer based in Denver, Colo. When he’s not behind the lens, you can find him working the banks of a quiet stream or putting in miles on a backcountry trail. See more of his work here.