Fishing the Rio Grande
Although most of their lives are spent in the ocean, sea-run brown trout seem to retain more of the eccentricities of resident browns than, for instance, steelhead do of resident rainbows. Moody fish, they must be shown flies the way they want to see them. The Rio Grande is a large river. Thus, it’s compatible with a wide range of techniques; critical since a large sea-run brown trout may demand that a fly be fed to it on the bottom one hour but rise to a skating fly the next. Water levels can change from week to week and they generally drop as the season progresses.
Vary your presentations in each pool fished until you find the right formula of fly, line, drift or swing, and retrieve. Also heed the advice of your guide, whose primary aim is to help you hook and bring more fish to the net.
Generally, the Rio Grande’s sea-run brown trout seem to lie near cut banks during the middle of the day, though in low water they will also lie in the faster necks of pools. They typically move into these areas during early morning, evening, and nighttime hours. A good rule is, “Tails in the morning and heads at night.” Also look for fish distributed throughout pools on calm, overcast days. On sunny days, one theory holds that sea-run browns take best if they don’t have the sun in their eyes, although this theory, like others, is often affected by the number of fish in a particular pool and the number of “takers.”