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Ed Adams
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Cimarron [] Conejos [] Costilla
Culebra [] Red River [] Rio Grande
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Rio Grande Pike Fishing

Rio Grande Pike FishingESOX LUCIUS {Nothern Pike} is a lean and supple fish with a flat head and duck billed jaws filled with needle sharp recurved teeth. They are a fearsome predator and very aggressive. Pike habitat is mainly in the northern latitudes and they are found mostly in lakes in Canada and the northern US. They don't like water temps that exceed 65* and temps higher than this will definitely slow fishing. Light intensity is another factor when fishing for Pike and the best hours of the day are early {8-11am} and late {2-6pm} and the best season is in the spring when water temps are still cool and the sun is still low in the sky.

No one knows when or how Pike were introduced into the Rio Grande but my best guess is that it was a surreptitious stocker{s} who did the deed sometime in the 1950's. With an abundant trout and carp population and the waterfowl that the river supports there is an ample food supply to support a healthy population of Northern Pike. Pike habitat in moving water {rivers} is mainly in the slower stretches of water that are almost lake-like with only a moderate current. Pike will strike almost any good sized lure and fishing for them is generally done with larger spoons or lures with casting or spinning rods. Fly fishing for Pike has always been for the intrepid angler as casting larger flies can be difficult as well as hazardous. I have hooked some Pike while trout fishing but with light tippet the encounters were intriguing but brief. I often wondered, while fishing the Rio Grande, why the slower sections seemed devoid of trout. I would usually walk past these calmer stretches to get to the next riffle where the trout were more likely to be. A few years ago a friend and fellow angler showed me some of his Pike flies and gear and we fished together a few times. Watching him fish waters that I had been walking past for years to get to the next trout opportunity was an epiphany for me. Sections of the Rio Grande that I have neglected for decades took on a new aura. Pike are widely distributed in the Rio Grande from at least Espanola up into the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado. When the trout fishing is at its slowest in January thru May this can offer an exciting opportunity for the Fly fisherman.

I do my Pike angling with a 7 or 8 weight rod and although I have used a floating line I have come to prefer a medium sinktip line so I don't have to add any additional weight to an already weighted fly. For my terminal tackle I like an 8-9' hand tied monofilament leader with a 2' butt section of 20lb test followed by a 4' belly section of 40 lb test and then another 2' section of 20 lb to which I tie a weighted # 2-4 long rabbit strip streamer with lead eyes. Some anglers use steel shock tippets but I find these cumbersome when casting a weighted fly and don't lose too many fish to frayed leaders.The pattern doesn't matter too much and I tend to have a lot of the same flies in different colors from black to chartreuse and everything in between. Pike are often in water that is less than 24" and sight fishing in clear water is common. In low, clear conditions fishing upstream on the near side is essential so as not spook these wary fish. On the contrary the splashy landing made by these weighted patterns sometimes seems to attract a strike. Fishing a standard streamer method of casting down and across and then stripping the fly back up is also effective. These aggressive fish have a violent strike and it is a good idea to hit them a second time to secure the fly in their toothy jaws. Letting the fly sink for a few seconds before beginning a slow retrieve is the most effective method in my experience. If I'm not getting any action I'll experiment with slower or faster retrieves. You won't catch any world records but catching fish fish up to 48" is possible with most being between 30-40". For more info or a guided trip I can be reached thru this web site or at 505-586-1512.



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