Top Ten Hidden Trout Fisheries

Cimarron River, New Mexico

This twelve-mile tailwater in the northeastern part of the state ranks among the finest brown trout streams in the West. The Cimarron doesn't act like a tailwater. Except for the slow spring-creek like upper mile as it flows out of Eagle Nest Lake, the stream bounces and tumbles through the scenic canyon, rushing past the overlooking Palisades, bunching up in flatter sections, providing pocket water, glides, bend pools, perky riffles and undercut banks—all attractive trout lies. What sets the Cimarron apart from most southern Rockies fisheries is the varied and abundant insect population. The stonefly hatches in May and June can cloud the sky. During the day, anglers can experience multiple hatches of caddis and mayfly, making the Cimarron a first-rate dry fly destination. Walking upstream under the canopy of overhanging brush, marveling at simultaneous hatches and casting to rising wild trout is the allure of this gem of a river. State Highway 64 runs beside the winding stream for most of its course, but anglers can find solitude by walking away from bridge crossings and parking areas to cast dry fly attractor patterns on soft water for plump browns all day long.


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