Hot Winter Fisheries

Rio Peqasco, New Mexico

Location: Southern New Mexico near Cloudcroft and Ruidoso.

Species: Rainbow and brown trout.

Equipment: 8- to 9-foot rods for 4- to 6-weight line.

Notes: Think small. Small flies, small tippet. This is one of the premier fisheries in the West. Few anglers know about it, but many anglers fish it incorrectly. If you like to fish with big flies, use streamers. The Powell Ranch stretch does not advertise, but its four or five miles are fishable, if not exactly prolific. And it only costs $5 to access. The Bernard Cleve section, the only public water on the river, has plenty of gravel, which means the fall spawners end up on this water come autumn, although it does get awfully low at times.

Contact: There are three main sections of the Rio Peqasco: the Foley Ranch, the Mulcock Ranch, and the Bernard Cleve Ranch, although parts of these (and a few others) often share the river as a boundary. Both the Foley and Mulcock sections, about seven miles of water, charge day fees and require anglers to fish with a guide. The total cost for each river is $300 a day. To fish the Foley section, the most pristine section of this spring creek, anglers should make reservations through the Reel Life shops in Santa Fe (505-995-8114), or Albuquerque (505-268-1693). To fish the Mulcock section, anglers can make reservations through the Reel Life Flyshops or by calling Mulcock Ranch directly (505-687-3352 or 746-6785).


How about a spring creek in the middle of nowhere loaded with big trout, with very little angling pressure, fishable all through the winter?

Afternoon delight

The Rio Peqasco flows in southern New Mexico, past high desert sage and juniper through a valley flanked by low-slung hills. The Rio Peqasco teems with sizeable wild brown and rainbow trout, and is fishable all year long, with a constant temperature in the mid-50s.

The river's glassy surface is tough on beginning anglers, whose days will be fraught with casting and mending disasters. The river is deceptively deep, an illusion caused by the amazing clarity of the water and the thick watercress swaying in the gentle currents.

But under the cut banks and between the watercress channels, the Rio Peqasco holds big browns and rainbows, many over five pounds.

Article © Mark D. Williams, 2000.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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