Fly Fishing the Pecos River in New Mexico: A Comprehensive Guide

I. Introduction

The Pecos River, situated in northern New Mexico, offers a fantastic fly fishing experience for anglers seeking Brown and Rainbow Trout. Flowing through the Pecos Wilderness and the Santa Fe National Forest, the river provides a variety of fishing opportunities amid breathtaking landscapes. In this guide, we will explore the best fishing spots on the Pecos River, local conditions, and additional attractions in the area.

II. Pecos River Fishing Spots

A. Pecos River Headwaters

The headwaters of the Pecos River can be found within the Pecos Wilderness, providing an isolated and serene fly fishing experience.

  1. Pecos River Wilderness: Accessible via hiking trails, this remote section offers the chance to catch wild trout in an untouched environment.
  2. Mora Flats: A popular backpacking destination with several fishing spots along the riverbanks.

B. Pecos River Public Access Points

Below the Pecos Wilderness, the river offers several public access points for anglers.

  1. Terrero Campground: A popular access point with a mix of pocket water, riffles, and deep pools.
    • Terrero Campground is a small campground located in Pecos Canyon State Park in New Mexico. The campground is open year-round and has 10 campsites, all of which are reservable. The campsites are spacious and have plenty of room for tents, RVs, and trailers. The campground also has a dump station, flush toilets, and showers.
      • The campground is located on the banks of the Pecos River, which is a great place for fishing, swimming, and canoeing. There are also several hiking trails in the area that offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The campground is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. The scenery is beautiful, the activities are plentiful, and the staff is friendly and helpful.
      • $5.00 Fee. The $5.00 is for five days. You can also pay $15 for a year. If you have a current hunting or fishing license, camping is free (you already paid for it). There is no on-site payment. You must purchase your permit ahead of time at any place that sells hunting/fishing licenses or you can pay an additional $4.95 and buy it online.
    • Here are some of the pros and cons of Terrero Campground:
      • Pros:
        • Beautiful scenery
        • Plenty of activities
        • Friendly staff
        • Open year-round
        • Affordable
      • Cons:
        • Small campground
        • No hookups for RVs
        • No cell service
        • Can be crowded during peak season
  2. Dalton Day Use Area: An easily accessible stretch of the river with ample parking and a variety of fishing opportunities.
  3. Pecos National Historical Park: Provides limited fishing access during specific seasons, with the opportunity to catch Brown and Rainbow Trout.

III. Local Conditions and Tips

A. Best Times to Fish

  • Spring (April-May) and fall (September-October) offer the most consistent fishing conditions, with cooler water temperatures and active trout.
  • Summer (June-August) can be productive, especially during early mornings and late afternoons. However, be aware of afternoon thunderstorms.

B. Recommended Flies

  • Dry Flies: Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Royal Wulff
  • Nymphs: Beadhead Pheasant Tail, Copper John, Hare’s Ear
  • Streamers: Woolly Bugger, Slumpbuster, Conehead Muddler Minnow

IV. Local Eateries and Breweries

A. Frankie’s at the Casanova

  • A cozy eatery offering New Mexican cuisine, including green chile cheeseburgers and enchiladas.
  • Frankie’s at the Casanova is a delightful, family-owned eatery located near the Pecos River in New Mexico. Offering an array of delicious and authentic New Mexican dishes, this cozy restaurant has quickly become a local favorite.
  • The atmosphere at Frankie’s is warm and inviting, with a rustic charm that reflects the region’s cultural heritage. The friendly staff is eager to make guests feel at home, ensuring a pleasant dining experience from start to finish.
  • The menu at Frankie’s at the Casanova highlights the flavors and ingredients unique to New Mexican cuisine. From mouthwatering green chile cheeseburgers to succulent enchiladas smothered in homemade red or green chile sauce, each dish is expertly crafted to satisfy the taste buds. The restaurant also offers vegetarian options, ensuring that there is something for everyone to enjoy.
  • One of the standout features of Frankie’s is its commitment to using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. This dedication to quality is evident in every bite, resulting in a memorable culinary experience. The portions are generous, and the prices are reasonable, making it a great option for families or groups of friends looking to share a meal.
  • The dessert selection at Frankie’s should not be overlooked. Their signature sopaipillas, served warm and drizzled with honey, are the perfect way to end a satisfying meal.
  • In summary, Frankie’s at the Casanova is a must-visit for those seeking an authentic taste of New Mexican cuisine. With its welcoming atmosphere, mouthwatering dishes, and commitment to quality ingredients, this charming eatery is sure to leave a lasting impression.
  • Address: 12 S Main St, Pecos, NM 87552
  • Menufrankiesnm.com
  • Phone(505) 757-3322

B. Rowley Farmhouse Ales: A Delightful Farm-to-Table Experience

  • Rowley Farmhouse Ales is a charming brewery and gastropub located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, not too far from the Pecos River. With a focus on farm-to-table cuisine and an exceptional selection of craft beers, this establishment offers a unique and memorable dining experience.
  • The atmosphere at Rowley Farmhouse Ales is welcoming and laid-back, with a rustic, farmhouse-inspired interior. The friendly staff is knowledgeable about both the food and the beer, ensuring that guests feel right at home from the moment they walk in.
  • The menu showcases seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients, with dishes that highlight the flavors of the region. From hearty sandwiches and artisanal pizzas to creative small plates and sharable appetizers, there is something for everyone. The food is expertly prepared and presented, with an emphasis on quality and flavor.
  • Beer enthusiasts will appreciate the extensive selection of craft brews on tap. Rowley Farmhouse Ales produces their own range of beers, focusing on traditional styles with a modern twist. From crisp, refreshing pilsners to rich, complex stouts, the brewery’s offerings cater to a wide range of tastes. In addition, they frequently feature guest taps from other local and regional breweries, ensuring a diverse and ever-changing lineup.
  • In conclusion, Rowley Farmhouse Ales is an excellent choice for those seeking a high-quality dining experience paired with outstanding craft beers. The farm-to-table approach, coupled with the welcoming atmosphere and exceptional beer offerings, make this gastropub a must-visit for locals and visitors alike.
  • Address: 1405 Maclovia St, Santa Fe, NM 87505
  • Menurowleyfarmhouse.com
  • Phone(505) 428-0719

C. Santa Fe Brewing Company Tap Room in Eldorado

If you’re a fan of Santa Fe Brewing Company, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a taproom located just outside of town in Eldorado. The atmosphere is a bit more casual than the taproom at the brewery, but it’s still a great place to relax and enjoy a few beers.

The taproom doesn’t serve food, but there are a few restaurants in the shopping center next door. You can also bring your own food and eat it at the taproom. In the cooler months, there’s a fire pit on the patio where you can warm up.

The taproom offers a wide variety of Santa Fe Brewing Company beers, including both on-tap and bottled options. You can also buy growlers of beer to take home. In addition to beer, the taproom also sells cider and some local wines.

The taproom is open from 3pm to 10pm Monday through Thursday, 3pm to 11pm on Friday, 2pm to 11pm on Saturday, and 2pm to 9pm on Sunday.

Here are some of the things you can do at the Santa Fe Brewing Company Tap Room in Eldorado:

  • Enjoy a variety of Santa Fe Brewing Company beers
  • Buy growlers of beer to take home
  • Enjoy a glass of cider or wine
  • Relax on the patio by the fire pit
  • Bring your own food and eat it at the taproom
  • Visit the restaurants in the shopping center next door

V. Accommodations and Lodging

A. Pecos River Cabins

  • Rustic cabins located along the Pecos River, providing a peaceful retreat for anglers and nature enthusiasts.

B. Pecos Canyon Recreation Area Campgrounds

  • Multiple campgrounds within the recreation area, offering tent and RV camping options with easy access to the river.

VI. Local Attractions

A. Pecos National Historical Park

  • Explore the history of the area, including ancient pueblo ruins and Civil War battle sites.

B. Pecos Wilderness

  • Hiking, wildlife viewing, and backpacking opportunities in a pristine natural environment.

C. Santa Fe

  • A short drive from the Pecos River, the city of Santa Fe offers a wealth of cultural attractions, including art galleries, museums, and historic sites.

D. Glorieta Pass

  • A historic site of the Civil War’s Battle of Glorieta Pass, offering hiking trails, interpretive exhibits, and beautiful vistas of the surrounding landscape.

VII. Conclusion

The Pecos River in New Mexico presents a diverse and rewarding fly fishing experience, with opportunities to catch Brown and Rainbow Trout amid stunning landscapes. By understanding the local conditions and selecting the right flies, anglers can maximize their chances of success on the water. Additionally, the area surrounding the Pecos River offers a variety of eateries, accommodations, and local attractions, ensuring a well-rounded and enjoyable experience for visitors.

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