Rio Costilla New Mexico Fly Fishing

Rio Costilla New Mexico Fly Fishing

A high meadow (9000′) tailwater, the Costilla provides anglers with dry fly action for Rio Grande Cutts from mid-June through mid-September. Costilla Cutts aren’t the smartest fish in the world, but they may be the fastest. We’ve seen many an experienced angler shake their heads and ask “Am I too late or too early?” Lots of takes here. If you connect on 50% of them you’re doing well. A great place for anglers of all levels.

The Valle Vidal Section is a nine mile section below the Costilla reservoir damn. This area is catch and release flies only and opens July 1st. Flows are regulated so that Friday, Saturday and Sunday are low flow and Monday through Thursday flows are higher. Weekdays are always better here. This area is 1 hour north of Taos and easily accessible by car.

Rio Costilla is a tributary of the Rio Grande in Colorado and New Mexico.

Rio Costilla New Mexico Fly FishingThe Costilla rises in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in far southern Colorado at the confluence of East Fork Costilla and West Fork Rio Costilla. It then flows southward across the border into New Mexico. Here it is impounded by the privately-held Costilla Reservoir on the Vermejo Park Ranch.

From there, it flows generally southwest, receiving the waters of its tributary Comanche Creek at the north end of Valle Vidal. The Costilla then begins to curve towards the northwest towards a point where it meets New Mexico State Road 196.

The Costilla then travels generally northwestward, following alongside State Road 196 through the small town of Amalia. It leaves the mountains after passing through a diversion dam — the beginning of the Acequia Madre irrigation ditch — and just before flowing through the town of Costilla, entering the broad, flat plain of the Taos Plateau volcanic field.

Flowing north from Costilla, the Rio enters Colorado at Garcia. It then flows in a broad semi-circle to the west, eventually flowing to the south, just west of Jaroso, Colorado and crossing the border, once again entering into New Mexico. Soon after crossing the border, the Costilla turns to the southwest and empties into the Rio Grande, its mouth in a gorge just to the northwest of Ute Mountain.


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