Fishing Season: Valle Vidal Section opens July 1 each year. RCCLA open all year but fishes mid May through Sept

Rio Costilla - NM

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Temperature 55°



Water Temp:


Doc Thompson's Tip of the Week

RCCLA Rio Costilla is starting to fishing. Still on slower side. Better fishing in late mornings and afternoons. The Valle Vidal section doesn't open for fishing until July 1 each year.

Directions open in app

Map of Rio Costilla

Water Flow Data

Orvis-Endorsed guides nearby

Doc Thompson

5-Day Outlook as of 5/8/24

RCCLA Costilla should start fishing better as we move through the first week of May. Fishing should start spreading out soon.

Techniques & Tips as of 5/8/24

Better fishing is in the afternoons. Mainly fish dry-droppers or nymphs until bug life starts getting active in a week or two.

Local Species Available Valle Vidal Section opens July 1 each year. RCCLA open all year but fishes mid May through Sept

  • Fish Icon

    Cutthroats and Cuttbows

Doc Thompson's Recommended Fly Patterns

"Must-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Tunghead Stonefly black/brown 12-14
Cliff's Crazy Cranefly N/A 12
Orvis CJ Nymph red, olive 14--16
Bead Head Barr Emerger olive 16
Hot spot nymphs N/A 16
Caddis Larva N/A 14
T.H. Soft Hackle Caddis Pupa olive 14-16
Bead Head Caddis Pupa N/A 14-16
Midge Larva N/A 16-18
SJW N/A 14-16

Tunghead Stonefly

If you fish stonefly nymphs, you'll want to have several sizes of these bottom bumpers.

Doc Thompson's Recommended Gear

Description: About Rio Costilla

The Rio Costilla is located 12 miles west of the small town of Costilla in north-central New Mexico right along the New Mexico-Colorado border. There is approximately 15 miles of public fishing access on two stretches of the Rio Costilla. There is 9-10 miles in the Valle Vidal Unit of the Carson National Forest and 5 miles in the Rio Costilla Park. There is also private access available to the Costilla on Vermejo Park Ranch and Cottonwood Meadow Ranch. Rio Costilla is primarily a classic high mountain meadow stream with riffles and deep bend pools. The Valle Vidal section does not open for fishing until July 1 and usually fishes through September. The Rio Costilla Park stretch is open year-round, but typically fishes from May through September. The main species of trout are Rio Grande Cutthroats and Cuttbows. Key hatches include Golden Stoneflies, PMDs, Drakes, Caddis, Ginger Duns and Terrestrials. The closest towns with full amenities are Red River (1 hour+ drive) and Taos (1.5+ hour drive). The gas station in Costilla is the last stop for basics before heading up to the Rio Costilla.

Nearest Airport:

Major arilines fly into Albuquerque, private planes can fly into Taos or Angel Fire

Best Time to Fish:

Late morning through afternoon

Best Stretch:

Valle Vidal (opens July 1 each year). Rio Costilla Park and the lower private water fishes mid May through September.

Best Access:

Rio Costilla Park