10620023_10152805343686215_1728346708637927452_oGuest Blogger: Jesse Stovall

It was quite a mystery to me as well. Recently I started working in the oil fields of south east New Mexico after moving from California. The epic expanse of mountains and trout creeks I had grown accustomed to in California ate at me during my down time. I assumed trout was out of the question and warm water fishing would be my future in the deserts of New Mexico and Texas. A quick internet search found a wealth of trout fishing near Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

10426286_10152805343746215_1286040918925589576_nMy uniformed view of New Mexico just conjured up fake alien crashes and endless red desert. But, when I stopped stereotyping the newest of the Mexico’s it makes a ton of sense that it could be productive trout country. Basically northern NM is the lower part of the Rocky Mountains. Santa Fe sits above 7,000 feet and surrounded by soaring peaks above 13,000′. This is the high country and with high altitude comes cold streams and good trout habitat.

1457666_10152805343311215_9208926786675670409_nSo cold water and beautiful scenery, what else makes it so good? Well, it’s just really good. The waters I fished were healthy and had plenty of wild trout. Like a lot of places they stock a lot of fish but, a short hike and a little looking got me into wild fishing. Best of all the fishing was pretty darn good from June all the way through December (from when I found it until Christmas emptied my pockets). The last day I fished the high was 18° and the trout were still all over some well presented wet flies. Northern New Mexico is also home to one of the country’s most well known trout rivers (which I will admit I have not fished, I have a small stream addiction) THE SAN JUAN. A little bit of Googling reveals the incredible quantity of fish in just a few miles of river.

1922515_10152805343501215_7632603962812073011_nA couple more selling points of Northern New Mexico is it’s diversity. You have desert canyons with big cold rivers like the Rio Grande as well as; high mountain lakes with wild trout. Tiny trickles of water with beautiful little browns can be fished the same day as year round spring creeks with solid slabs of butter bellies. In all but a few special regulation waters fishing is open YEAR ROUND. You read that right, the trout season is OPEN YEAR ROUND. Awesome.

Tom Rosenbauer of Orvis did a great podcast with Doc Thompson of High Country Anglers, about fishing in New Mexico and well worth a listen if you want to learn more about some of the finer points of New Mexico fishing. Find it HERE.

10649943_10152704866211215_7534793143234262855_nOne last point, everyone I met there has been super friendly. I have used the town of Taos NM as a hub for my adventures and unlike a lot of towns with a tourism industry these folks are generally interested in what I am doing in town and how I like it. Have had plenty of beers with good people. It’s also a surprisingly good place for beer and music. Not to mention a solar powered radio station that has a live stage, restaurant and bar.

Tightlines everyone!


  1. Did you manage to connect with any Rio Grande Cutthroat trout? They were the first trout encountered by Europeans in North America during the explorations of what would become New Mexico by Spanish explorer Coronado in 1541.

  2. No I did not. The weather turned cold and those waters shutdown before I got a chance. Hoping I will still be working there and have a chance to get into some nice cuties. I love wild trout. I love wild and native trout even more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *