The Rio Chama, a major tributary of the Rio Grande, flows through the Chama River Canyon Wilderness – a multi-colored sandstone canyon whose walls rise to 1,500 feet above the river as you travel downstream. The BLM manages a 22 mile stretch of the Rio Chama – from El Vado Ranch to the Chavez Canyon access. The 9 miles between Chavez Canyon boat launch and Big Eddy access is managed by the Santa Fe National Forest Coyote Ranger District.
At the time of this video, August 2022, heavier than normal monsoon rains have the Chama extremely muddy.
The section of the Chama is best fished when the flow is below 300 cfs. Even during low flow the water is pretty stained but fish can still be caught.
USGS Water: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nm/nwis/uv/?site_no=08285500&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060
The late fall, when the water drops and clears, is when the Chama fishes best below Abiquiu Dam.
Every winter it seems there’s a spell of warm sunny days in northern New Mexico where anglers just have to get out and go fishing.
And on days like that they may as well just head straight for the Rio Chama below the dam at Abiquiu Lake.
Long considered a winter fishery the river is regularly stocked with trout by the state Department of Game and Fish.
The river boasts about five miles of public access from the base of the dam downstream to just outside the village of Barranca near Abiquiu.
And in recent years about two miles of river directly below the dam received habitat improvements and other upgrades that have significantly improved fishing and recreation conditions.
The river is designated special trout water with a bag limit of two from the bridge crossing the river on U.S. Highway 84 at Abiquiu for about 7 miles upstream to the base of Abiquiu Dam. Standard bait and lures along with typical fly fishing fare works well on the many stocked rainbow trout found here.
Along the river just below the dam visitors will find a parking and picnic area with several shelters and a sturdy vault toilet. Further downstream several other picnic and parking areas are carved out by the riverside. The surrounding land is rugged and remote and well suited for hiking.