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> > Rod recommendations in Santa Fe area

ChopFebruary 11th, 2020, 6:31 pm

Posts: 1
Any suggestions on the size of rod to use for day trips (2 to 3 hour drive) in the Santa Fe, NM area. I have a 9' 5 weight which I was told may be too big for the smaller streams.
MartinlfFebruary 11th, 2020, 9:12 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Let's see if Ryan weighs in. I'd guess a 2 or 3 weight. I'd fish a 9' rod, but it might be too long, depending on how much brush there is and how good a caster you are in brush. Perhaps an 8' or 7.5' rod?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Red_green_hFebruary 12th, 2020, 7:30 am
New Mexico

Posts: 90
Let's see if Ryan weighs in

Thanks for the shout out. I fish those streams often enough up in the Pecos that I can say a 9' rod is too long. There are some spots in the box where a 9' 5wt will do ya, which if it's a good day you wont go anywhere else. I always bring mine in case I stop. But if you're fishing the smaller feeder streams like cave creek, Mora River in my experience 8' is too long. My go to stick is a 2 piece 6'2wt. I've caught some decent sized wild brownies with this set up. In the larger waters I use a 5x leader, in smaller slower waters I switch to a 6x. I just purchased a 4 piece 6 1/2' 2wt for easier packing and can't wait to try it out. And on some of the even smaller streams I use a 5'9" 1wt. I also have 7 1/2' 3wt I'll use too.

Same thing applies in the Jemez. I was fishing the Gaudalupe box last fall with a 8'6" 5wt and was losing flies like crazy in the trees. Now admittingly I'm a rookie and my technique probably sucks but when I switched over to my shorter rods I didnt have that problem.

Now I see many people usin 9' rods up there, many people who have forgotten more about fly fishing than I'll ever know. And I gauruntee you any outfitting shop up there in Santa Fe will tell you 9'5wt is the way to go. But in my experience if you want to spend more time fishing and less time untangling shorter rods are the way to go on these smaller streams in the mountains. Why? 1) the trail sometimes ends and the spot you want to get to is through a pile of bushes. Weaving a 9' rod through these mazes are near impossible. Heck trying to needle a 5'9" through these is hard enough. I bring a machete and hack my way through. 2) you don't need a 5wt rod to land these fish. Most are in the 8 to 12" range. Occasionally you'll hook a real beauty in some of the deeper pools and a 2wt has always been enough. 3) up there there's no need to go for a world record cast. Most of my casts are sling shot casts or trying to float an indicator under a bush to a really sweet spot inaccessible by any other means. I find a shorter rod is a lot easier to mend and control the line. Even on stretches that are in wide open meadows the technique is such that one needs a real delicate presentation that using a smaller weight rod affords you.

Fishing these remote mountain streams are their own reward. It's a worthy endeavor and one you'll enjoy. Even some of my best days up there are days I've gotten skunked. There is always something new to see and something to be amazed by. Good luck and have fun up there.
Ryan Norris
"a day not catching anything is better than a day not fishing at all"
MartinlfFebruary 12th, 2020, 9:19 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Thanks, Ryan. It always helps to get a local perspective. I hope your fishing is going well. I'd love to walk one of those trails with you and see those little gems. But, alas, it's doubtful my journeys will find me in New Mexico any time soon. Tight lines.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Red_green_hFebruary 12th, 2020, 9:36 am
New Mexico

Posts: 90
Not a problem, won't be going any time soon up there as the northern mountains just got blanketed with about 2ft of snow in some places. Just found out about one such spot by where I frequented last year that boasts some amazing waterfalls. From what I'm reading it's a bugger to get to and will probably catch more scratches then fish. Nonetheless I plan on going and trying my hand at it. I'll take lots of pics so you can see what you're missing out on 😉.
Ryan Norris
"a day not catching anything is better than a day not fishing at all"
WbranchFebruary 12th, 2020, 9:56 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
I guess the question is how small is small? If you are talking abut waters 8' - 12' wide I'd recommend a 6' #4 and that would be fine for those wters and smaller trout. If you are a proficient caster and fishing streams in the 20' width range I'd go with a 8' #5. With that rod you can fish virtally any nymph except heavily weighted ones, you can fish any dry fly and still be able to throw smaller streamers in the #6 - #10 range.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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