Reel Report

Stay home, mend equipment, make your own flies

Posted 3/27/20

Fishing, like most other activities in New Mexico, has been affected by efforts to prevent the spread of a deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19. All New Mexico State Parks are currently closed until at least April 9. Here's how you can make positive use of your time until the danger clears.

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Reel Report

Stay home, mend equipment, make your own flies

Posted

Fishing, like most other activities in New Mexico, has been affected by efforts to prevent the spread of a deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19. All New Mexico State Parks are currently closed until at least April 9.

And this week's fishing report is not the usual catch of the week and reports on statewide waters.

Instead, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish reminded anglers that as "COVID-19 continues to force all of us to make changes to our daily schedule, the department would like to remind you that together we can make a difference."

To help minimize the spread of the virus:

• Practice social distancing;

• Wash your hands regularly;

• Avoid nonessential travel.

In this time of change, the department would like to encourage anglers to stay home, mend equipment and prepare for the upcoming fishing season. In the weekly fishing report, provided by Dustin Berg of Go Unlimited (supporting disabled anglers) and the Department of Game and Fish, we will be sharing tips and tricks to help you be ready to go on future adventures.

One way to pass the time while on self-isolation and avoiding the crowds is to make your own artificial flies, lures and homemade catfish baits. Here are a few that can be made at home and used as soon as restrictions throughout New Mexico are lifted.

Woolly bugger

This is an excellent fly for catching trout, crappie, bluegill and bass. It is an easy fly to tie and a great starting point for beginner fly tyer. Some popular colors that have proven to be successful in many situations are black, olive, brown and white. Why not make a fish-catching woolly bugger of your own?

Fly-tying equipment can be ordered online from many websites and range in price from about $30 and up, but the feeling of catching a fish on a fly that you tied yourself cannot be defined by words. The key equipment in a starter kit includes a vise, scissors, whip finisher, bobbin, bodkin, bobbin threader, hackle pliers, hair stacker, half-hitch tool and hackle gauge. Instructions on how to use these tools are usually included with the kit and are also available all over the internet.

It is a fun activity and super rewarding when you catch a fish on a fly that you created.

Chamois leech

This fly is one of the easiest to make and is great for catching trout, crappie and other species. There are two variations of this fly that we will discuss. The first is a common mainstay in many fly fisherman's tackle boxes. It is created like most flies in a fly-tying vise.

The easiest way - which has worked well for Dustin Berg, department fishing report contractor- is to purchase chamois cloth (commonly used to dry cars after washing) from an auto store. Cut leech-shaped strips that are about 1 1/2 -inches long, 1/3-inch wide in the middle and come to a point on each end. The finished cut piece should look like an elongated diamond.

Once you have made your cuts, take a small salmon egg hook (Dustin recommends red hooks) and run it through the center of the chamois. Then run it back through the chamois so that the hook is centered lengthwise and widthwise with the leech pattern you created. A very small dab of superglue where the hook goes through the chamois will secure it.

This fly can be fished with or without weight. In still water, once soaked with water, the chamois leech will slowly sink; trout will often strike on the fall. This chamois leech has been very successful for many kids that Berg has taught to fly-fish at Seven Springs Brood Pond in the Jémez Mountains. See the photo for the finished product.

Closure information

If you have personal tips and tricks that you would like to share with your fellow anglers as we wait out the current restrictions, email Dustin at funfishingnm@gmail.com.

Social distancing is a challenge for all anglers; the itch to go fishing just keeps growing. But this is a time for all New Mexicans to pull together for the overall health of all our citizens and stay home. The department reminds anglers it is their responsibility to be aware of closures and contact land managers for properties of interest when restrictions are lifted.

-- Sumbitted report

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