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The Rio Penasco

The Rio Penasco is one of those oddities that one stumbles across every now-and-then within the confines of Mother Nature.

     The Penasco is a multiple Spring Fed Creek/River teeming with Rainbow and Wild Brown Trout. Located East of the resort mountain town of Cloudcroft, NM. The shallow desert terrain often reaches temperatures in the low 100’s... throughout the summer, there are a number of springs that bubble cup along its banks.

     This best kept secret in New Mexico... produces trophy trout along with addictive action. The Peñasco averages 10-20 feet wide but don’t let the width fool you. There are a number of pools 8-10 feet deep and one nearly 30 feet deep. Watercress lines most of the river and often reaches heights up to three feet.

     Sneaky fly-fishermen use the abundant watercress as cover, casting and dabbing flies to skittish trout. Sinuous like moss also grows freely throughout, channeling the water in certain directions and speed. Bigger trout often seek shelter within the moss and in the bottom depths of the deep and clear pools.

     A lot of insects and hatches occur during the year; the most productive hatches include Blue Winged Olives (Baetis), Tricos (Tricorythodes) and Caddisflies (Tricoptera). Terrestrials include hoppers and beetles. Both the Blue Winged Olives (#18-20) and Tricos (#22) hatch throughout the year. Look for Caddis (#12-18) action in late February until early May and again from September through November.      

     Hopper and beetle activity starts in late May and lasts into October. Hopper patterns 'twitched' along the moss beds and deep pools often result in ferocious strikes. Nymphs and streamers (Gray, Olive, and Black Leeches #12)) are effective for big rainbows and browns... especially in deep slow moving pools and channels.
     The entire length of the Peñasco is privately owned; fortunately a good portion is open to the public for daily fees. The Catch and Release Section on The Mulcock Ranch, and Mesilla Valley Fly Fishers located on the Runyan Ranch.
     The closest commercial airport is in El Paso, a little over 3 hours away. There is also a small airport in Alamogordo, just an hour from the river.
     If your driving, US Highway 82 parallels the Peñasco. The nearest town is the tiny community of Mayhill. This is the closest place to buy basic groceries.




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