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The San Juan River is a world-famous fishery below Navajo Dam in northwest New Mexico. To fish “The Juan” in June can be hard on the body because when you are standing in mid-river—in waders—your lower half is 40 degrees and your upper half is 100. Better to get a guide and a float and be all one temperature. And it is critical to have a guide here. If you have never fished it, beware that even a very experienced fly-fisher will struggle without one.
The upper Río Grande around Taos can be great fishing in early summer, but it may be out of sorts from runoff, too. Fortunately, as Taos is the epicenter of trout fishing in New Mexico, there are many other streams that will fish well when the great river doesn’t: The Red and Hondo rivers and Pueblo and Costilla creeks are excellent for beginners. These streams have numerous—and conveniently dumb—trout.
The Cimarrón River is another good fishery for beginners. Very easy access off US 64 makes this small but rich tailwater stream a great choice in springtime because it is not affected by snowmelt. Be sure to check out its source, Eagle Nest Lake, for trout, yellow perch, and pike
The Chama River has several distinct sections, but the uppermost reaches of the river are usually prime in late June. Profuse mayfly hatches draw good-sized trout up from El Vado Lake. By mid-July, most of the water will be sucked out for irrigation, at which point the nearby Brazos becomes better fishing.
Although the Pecos has miles of prime water to fish along the road, the glory of springtime in the Rockies is found in the fantastic Pecos Wilderness. This vast tract has miles and miles of trout streams flush with fish. And June is the backpacker’s month: no bugs or dangerous lightning storms yet, and temperatures are warm. On the main stem of the Pecos, the stoneflies will be hatching.
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