The first dozen miles of the Cimarron River (from Eagle Nest Lake to Ute Park, New Mexico) are known for fine trout fishing. Stocked trout include rainbow and brown. The river is maintained by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish at a trout density of approximately 3,000 fish per mile, although water flow can vary between 2 and 50 cubic feet per second.
There is 8-10 miles of public access in the Cimarron Canyon State Park.
The Cimarron River is technically a small tailwater that fishes and looks more like a mountain freestone stream. The water features include riffles, pockets, bend pools, undercut banks, beaver ponds, drop-offs, runs and everything in between. These water characteristics, along with a dense aquatic insect population, make the Cimarron one of the best wild brown trout fisheries in the Southwest. New Mexico Game and Fish does stock rainbows throughout the Cimarron.
The Cimarron Canyon State Park has three maintained campgrounds with tent and RV sites. The small communities of Eagle Nest and Cimarron are the closest towns with basic amenities of restaurants, places to stay, gas stations, groceries and fishing licenses. The larger towns of Taos, Red River and Angel Fire offer more amenities but with a little longer drive.
The best time to fish the Cimarron is from May through mid October. Key hatches include Golden Stoneflies, PMDs, Tricos, Caddis, BWOs, Midges and Terrestrials.