Imagine sneaking away to the seclusion of a cool high mountain valley to fish an undiscovered stream surrounded by willows, lush riparian habitat and tall pines. Then imagine working your way up the riffles of a rock bottom mountain stream to discover deep hidden pools, one after another, thriving with trout. Why just imagine? This is the little piece of heaven that can be experienced at Cow Creek Ranch. And it's all literally just outside our door.
Fly fish some of the best private quality waters in New Mexico
4 1/2 miles of private stream and seven high mountain lakes teeming with trophy rainbows, browns, brookies, andcutthroat - all within walking distance from the lodge, makes this Orvis Endorsed angler's paradise one of New Mexico's best kept secrets. A well-nurtured natural fishery, our private waters yield trout averaging 16"- 20" in size, with the 2013 record measuring in at 29”. All fishing on the ranch is catch-and-release barbless hook fly fishing.
Cow Creek itself is spring-fed from Elk Mountain about 6 miles north of the ranch. It flows parallel to the Pecos River, one valley to the east, and is a tributary to the Pecos River by I-25. Because of its high elevation, the runoff is usually finished by the first week of May, and the stream maintains a fairly steady flow throughout the summer months.
Cow Creek Ranch continues to be one of the most desirable places to fly fish in New Mexico.
Map of the Waters
The Fishing Stations
The stream is divided up into
fishing stations, much like the
traditional English beat system
to ensure that anglers have their
own private waters to fish each
day. Each station is about a 1/4
mile to 1/3 mile in length and is
marked by a sign on the road.
The 3 ½ mile stretch of stream immediately north and south of the lodge is the most managed stretch of stream and offers a variety of trout fishing. The stretch north of the lodge from station #8 and up has more of an elevation drop. Deep drop pools with runs in between are characteristic of this stretch of stream. The stretch of stream south of the lodge, stations #1- #7, snakes through the valley with more concave bend pools, deep pockets, and undercut banks. These stations are a great choice for the angler who likes to hop back and forth between moving and still water, as the lakes are scattered throughout the valley near these stations.
This one mile stretch of stream at the north end of Cow Creek Ranch is a true gem. It is a bit of a hike, but well worth it, as it is completely wild and untouched. It is a much tighter stretch of stream and far more technical than the lower stretch. The fish are smaller on average, but it is here that you will find the native species, the Rio Grande Cutthroat, as well as Brook and German Brown trout. The best way to fish this stretch is to hike up after breakfast with a picnic lunch because you will want to stay all afternoon.
There are seven high mountain lakes at the ranch, as well as one small pond, appropriately named “The Brookie Pond.” Each lake is very different from the others and has something unique to offer, whether it is a special hatch or just the right water temperature. Everyone seems to have his own favorite lake. The best thing to do is fish them all and pick your favorite. Lakes 1 and 7 are the largest of the lakes and are good lakes to float tube.