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Valles Caldera National Preserve - Fly Fishing

Fishing Area
Looking into the Preserve from a free hiking trail. – Rourke McDermott

The source waters for two major streams in the Jemez Mountains can be found in the heart of the Preserve; the San Antonio Creek and the East Fork of the Jemez River. Both are formed by cool water that naturally percolates to the surface through a series of ancient springs. As these rivers meander through lush meadows, numerous bows and pools have become home to thousands of trout.

The San Antonio Creek [Map] flows westerly through the San Antonio Valley in the northern part of the Preserve. Replete with brown trout ranging up to 16 inches in size, the stream offers a variety of fishing challenges. There are few trees and shrubs to provide cover for a fisherman, where both fishermen and fish can easily see through the clear water of a mountain stream. Precise casting and a stealthy approach is needed at the narrow upper end of the San Antonio where, in some places, the creek is only two feet wide. The river widens at the lower end with long stretches of shallow water rippling over gravel beds.

The East Fork [Map] flows southwesterly from its headwaters in the eastern end of the Valle Grande, which is the huge valley that covers most of the southern third of the Preserve. Similar in character to the San Antonio Creek, this stream contains a combination of brown and rainbow trout in sizes up to 18 inches. A variety of fishing experiences awaits anglers, including many bows that deeply undercut the bank, inviting a precise placement of a fly to lure some of the bigger trout from their lairs. Several miles downstream from the source water, the Jaramillo Creek enters the East Fork. The confluence of these waters provides a natural feeding area for trout. The narrow Jaramillo also contains many large trout that hide beneath overhanging grassy banks that bracket the water.

Pet Friendly Notes

Leashed pets are allowed at the staging area, but not in activity areas. Registered assistance dogs are allowed.

Rules and Regulations for Fishing Area

Reservations are not required but are encouraged. A limit of 20 anglers at any one time are permitted on the 14 miles of the San Antonio Creek and only 10 fly fishers on the 10 miles of the East Fork of the Jemez River.

Nearby Places