When you think of New Mexico, you think of white sand dunes, tall mountains and of course green chile. When you visit NM you realize why its called the Land of Enchantment. In the northern part of the state you have wonderful skiing, fantasitic mexican cuisine and of course the state fish, the Rio Grande Cutthroat trout. With its wonderful orange belly and fantastic scenery surrounding the streams where this fish is found you will leave with memories and some pictures youll enjoy for ever.
We started our adventure in the small town of Taos NM. When youre in Toas stop by Taos Fly shop for some wonderful information, flies and even pick yourself up a nice Roam and Reel hat. To get to Cabresto Creek you head north out of Taos on NM522 until you get to the town of Questa. In the town of Questa youll make a right hand turn on NM38 and an immeditate left turn onto Cebresta RD and this will hit dirt and turn into Forest Service road 134. Youll see a small sign on the right hand side where the road shoots off to the left that has a 134A. Thats the road youll want to take and that will take you along the Lake Fork of Cabresto Creek. The road is not very well maintained so make sure your vehicle has a bit of clearence and after a couple switch backs youll dead end into Cabresto Lake. Thats where our fishing part of the adventure starts
New Mexico has a something called the New Mexico Trout Challenge and since I had caught everything on the list (rainbow, brown, brooke, gila and rio grande cutthroat) except the Brooke trout and I have a love for native trout then I figured this would be a fun place to have an adventure. I was going to see if a balanced leech would work in the lake like it has in several places across the counrty. Brandon decided to start the day off with a dry flies and we saw several small trout cruising the shallows and Brandon was 3 fish in (2 Brooke and 1 Cut) before I even got a bump. So that told me it was time to throw on a parachute adams and within 2 minutes I was hooked into the Brooke Trout I needed to complete the NM Trout Challenge. So now we decided to go hit the stream coming into the lake to see what was in there.
We headed out on the trail on the west side of the lake to see what awaits us in the headwaters of the lake. As we walked up the stream we would peek into the brush and search for places that might hold a trout and is still able to get a fly into. These places were tough to fish because of the brush surrounding the stream. All the difficulty was completely worth all the catches we got into. We learned later on that these trout were never stocked in this creek and were completely native and probably some of the most pure Rio Grande Cutthroat in the state.
Thoughout the day trying to pocket hop and getting rained on, these trout didnt seem to picky at things they wanted to take. Anything from a hopper, adams, stonefly and even stimulators. Watching these fish hammer a dry fly within 2 drifts brought a smile to our faces and brought a new vigor with ever hole wanting to know what was around the next bend and how colored up the next cutthroat was going to be.
We ended the day back at the lake becuase we saw rises in a small delta area. We wanted to see what was in this area because we saw several rises in that area earlier. As we walked down a step hill to get to the top of that lake we would see several small trout dart into the willows. We crossed the stream and got to the top of the lake seeing trout rise. We ended up thowing dries and leeches to see what they would take and ended up picking up several Brooke Trout before the day was done.
So whether you’re looking for Brooke Trout, Cutthroat Trout or just looking for some good mexican food. Cabresto Creek is a fantastic place to knock out one of the fish on your Western Native Trout Challenge or two fish on your NM Trout Challenge. Dont forget to stop into the Taos Fly Shop while your there. Make sure to stop by our shop if you like any of the hats you see on our Instagram, Facebook or YouTube. If you like any of the products you see on our videos as well visit our parnters page and the links there will take you to the products we use and your purchases help keep us on the water.