When it comes to spring fishing in New Mexico, bass and trout fishing are your best bets. Here are the places you want to hit and what tactics to use.
March, April & May
If your dream is to spend time tossing tiny flies to large rainbows, then you should make plans to spend a few days on the famed San Juan River; it just might be the best trout tailwater in the southwest. This Land of Enchantment jewel begins below Navajo Dam in northwest New Mexico, and rumor has it there are as many as 75,000 trout roaming throughout the first four-mile section of quality water below the dam. With spots along this section affectionately called Caddis Corner, Texas Hole, Lunker Alley, Baetis Bend and Frustration Point, it's easy to believe that such a large number of trout swim these waters.
Needless to say, a fishery of this magnitude does see its share of wading visitors, and there's not too many days, even in Spring, that you are not standing next to another angler at one of its famous runs, riffles or holes. Despite this, catch rates in this stretch are very high, with the latest estimates showing one trout per hour being fooled. Add to this that trout averaging 16 to 17 inches in length, and 20-plus inch brutes are not in short supply, and it's to easy to put the blinders on and forget about the other anglers you'll be sharing the water with. Who knows, you many need some help netting a pig.
These are educated tailrace trout that live in a rich biomass environment, so your drift must be dead and your imitation worthy. Flies need to be small and tippets thin, so don't even think about bringing your size #18 and #20 flies, smaller #24 to #26 patterns are the norm. And if you're not using 6X fluorocarbon tippet or smaller, you might as well stay home. In early spring, midge larvae and pupa patterns always gets their share of looks, as well as leech, scuds, egg and worm imitations. When the calendar flips to April and May, blue-winded olives are added to the meal ticket, and on those perfect cloudy days, be ready for the floaters to be inhaled on top.
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Anglers like their tools close by. And it's even better if it's connected to you so it doesn't go in the drink. T-Reign retractable gear tethers hold onto your pliers, hemostats or landing net. Several size options. Carabiner connects to D-ring, belt loop or strap, or use the stainless steel clip on belt or pack.
Suzuki DF15A/20A EFI
Suzuki's two new four-stroke, two-cylinder portable outboards have a compression reduction system for easier starting. The 20hp tiller model weighs 97 pounds the eletric-start model weighs 106 pounds. Single overhead cam, four-valve engine with Suzuki's Lean Burn Control and bat-tery-less electronic fuel injection. Built for running in skinny water, both motors come with five tilt pin positions and 15- or 20-inch shaft.
Rapala is hoping the new Scatter Rap Series lures and their 'evasive action ' will be as popular as the original 'wounded minnow ' style action that the company is famous for. The new lure has a 'Scatter Lip ' that creates an evasive, erratic, aggressive sweep-ing action. Ideal for multispecies gamefish, the Scatter Rap Series is available in 14-16 classic and new color patterns. Baits 5- to 9-feet deep.
MSRP, $18.95 per pair.
The original Gear Grabbar is a unique way to hold lures and tools at the ready in boats. But the new Lure Hangar is a step beyond. This is a 12- by 16 1/2-inch plate,m ade to mount on your gunwhale, that holds 16 or more lures. There's enough room for a selection of jig, plugs, topwaters or whatever other baits you want to hang.
Honda Marine's BF250 outboard is a 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 that uses varia-ble valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC). Programmed fuel injection delivers the precise amount of fuel and air to each cylinder for easy starts and instant throttle re-sponse. 20-, 25- and 30-inch shaft models.
TACKLE TOTE VEST
If you wade when you fish, Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear designed a Tackle Tote Vest that to keep gear accessible but dry when you're standing in deeper waters. It's adjustable, sturdy, has lots of pockets and a modest pricetag.
FLEX 'N GO TACKLE SATCHEL
On-the-go anglers will find a lot to like in Plano's new Flex 'N Go Tack-le Satchel. It features adjustable built-in storage with a deep bin on one side and framework for the pair of swap-pable Plano 3600 StowAway boxes on the other, each Stowaway held with a flexible strap.
www.cabelas.com Jackets MSRP, $249.99-$269;
Cabela's Guidewear raingear now comes in four distinct series. Bass Angler (pictured) jackets and bibs are built with the tournament bass angler in mind. Xtreme parkas and bibs will help anglers fishing Northern lakes and rivers. Tidal jackets and pants offer lightweight, waterproof and breathable protection. River Runner jackets are perfect for wading anglers.
BERKLEY JAR BAIT FOLDER
Anglers who use jar baits know it's a pain to carry more than a few. Berk-ley now has two Jar Bait Folders to keep the baits at hand and make them easy to transport. Model 1170 holds 10 jars. Model 1490 holds 16. Both have various pockets and a D-ring for pliers.
BERKLEY TRILENE XL
Berkley says they've improved a classic. New Trilene XL lines are now 10 percent stronger 20 percent more flexibility then they had been. Knot strength has also improved, said the company. Trilene XL has been around since 1972.
The new AV Micro is a complete underwater camera system that is the same size as a smart phone. On the boat or off the dock, use it to see where fish are hanging out. 3 1/2-inch diagonal display. Built-in rechargea-ble lithium ion batteries.
Smithwick Rogue's has been a stand-ard in bass-anglers' tackle boxes for years. Now they've got a new twist on the famous jerkbait. The
Perfect 10 Rogue has a new lip de-sign, to get deeper, quicker than other jerkbaits.
SIMMS WEATHER GEAR
MSRP, jacket $349, bibs $299.
Simms designed its Contender Gore-Tex jacket and bibs for anglers who need reliability when they are motor-ing on the water at 70 mph in rain and wind. Waterproof and breathable. Cuffs are water tight and adjustable.