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New Mexico Rivers - Cimarron River

Fishing New Mexico's Cimarron River
Tailwaters of Eagle Nest Lake, the Cimarron River maybe New New Mexico's best trout fishery. About three miles below the dam the river enters Cimarron Canyon State Park which extends eight miles along Cimarron Canyon. Just below the confluence of Tolby Creek, The river in this area has been classified as "Special Trout Water" because of the abundance of the trout fishery here. That classification means artificial lures and bait only, catch and release preferred. Within the canyon the Cimarron offers about eight miles of some difficult but rewarding angling.  The river will wind its way past heavy brush along the banks and forest of tress.

The river itself will have hanging brush, fallen trees, submerged logs and large boulders. Local fishermen have occasionally been known to curse underwater snags when a fishing line becomes tangled on one.

However, such snags such as fallen trees -- "large wood" to biologists -- produce benefits to the fish that are far greater than the annoyance of ripping off an incidental hook. But the Cimarron also has its fair share of pockets, slicks and riffles that makes it an ideal trout fishery.

For the angler the river is fairly easy to wade and seldom over thirty feet in width. Fly Fisherman will enjoy good pockets, long riffles and more importantly the finesse that's required to catch some larger browns. Ideally a short fly rod 3-5wt will work well with a dropper setup.  Average size for browns are about 12-13 inches and rainbows slightly smaller. Up stream near the dam, browns and rainbow are larger, but the slower water means the trout are less forgiving.  Downstream outside of the canyon fishing access is easily available along the highway. Fishing tends to be slower and waters much warmer.

The best time to fish the Cimarron may be in autumn. Fishing pressure subsides, water temps drop allowing the fish to be more active and aggressive. The second best time will be in spring. The hatches on the Cimarron are typical of most northwest tributaries.

Eagle Nest Weather



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