Water Sports


The Rio Chama watershed offers some of the finest fishing in the State of New Mexico and Southern Colorado.  In fact, the Chama Valley watershed offers as much variety and quality angling opportunities as you’re likely to find anywhere in the Southwest. Visiting anglers have a wealth of variety close at hand: scores of crystal clear alpine lakes, meandering mountain streams, Abiquiu , El Vado and Heron Reservoirs and the prolific Rio Chama itself.  There is even a lake near the town of Los Ojos reserved for anglers under the age of 14 where giant hatchery trout can turn your child’s trip into the fishing expedition of a lifetime! Resident species and hatchery plants vary from place to place, but include Brook Trout, Rainbows, Browns, Cutthroat, Lake Trout, Kokanee Salmon, Walleye, Perch, Small mouth Bass, Bluegills and Catfish. Local outfitters offer equipment, guides and access to the finest private and public fishing waters.

A New Mexico State fishing license is required for anglers over 16 and can be obtained online by clicking here.


Rio Chama - Nearly 25 miles of the Rio Chama below El Vado Lake have been designated a Wild and Scenic River and offer some of the finest whitewater rafting and advanced kayaking in the State of New Mexico. 


Heron Reservoir is a designated no-wake lake with outboards restricted to idle speed.  This fact, plus the incredible mountain scenery, clear blue waters and consistent summer breezes make Heron the first choice among sail boaters.  Launching facilities are provided by the State Park and nearby businesses cater to the needs of recreational boaters…learn more


Class II to IV conditions will be encountered on a stretch of the Rio Chama approximately 15 miles above El Vado Reservoir.  Here, the river runs clear and cold and it is important to check local conditions before venturing out…learn more


Canoes provide a more leisurely way to enjoy many of our beautiful waters. 


Trujillo Reservoir, in the Rio Grande National Forest is surrounded by beautiful mountain vistas…learn more

Hopewell Lake is well-known for its resident population of Brook Trout.  Set in the Carson National Forest, Hopewell makes a perfect day trip during your stay in the Chama River Valley…learn more 


Top Water Sports Destinations

Rio Chama – From the San Juan Wilderness to the Rio Grande… learn more

Rio Chamita – A small trout stream with Special Regulations.  Consult the New Mexico Fish and Wildlife pamphlet for details. In the Edward Sargent Fish and Wildlife Area, adjacent to the Village of Chama…more

Rio Brazos – Bordering State Road 512, a small, clear trout stream stocked with Rainbows.  Flows through private property, but two public access points are maintained by the State…learn more

Conejos River – Flows though the Rio Grande National Forest (Colorado) about 28 miles West of Chama.  Good fishing for Rainbows and Browns…learn more

Heron Lake – Deep clear water reservoir about 10 miles West of Los Ojos on highway 95.  Trolling speed only for motor boats.  Fishing for huge Lake Trout, rainbows, Kokanee salmon.  Bank fishing, public boat launches and charters available.   Ice fishing (weather permitting). Sailing, canoeing and kayaking.  Swimming allowed from the shore...learn more 

El Vado Lake – Reservoir of the upper Rio Chama located about 15 miles West of Tierra Amarilla.  Water skiing, fishing, canoeing and kayaking.  Fishing for Rainbows and Brown Trout as well as Kokanee Salmon...learn more

Abiquiu Reservoir – Reservoir of the lower Rio Chama just outside the town of Abiquiu.  Good fishing for warm water species…learn more

Rio Grande National Forest – North and West of Historic Chama.  High alpine lakes and streams provide rugged wilderness fishing experiences.  Outfitters provide horseback access or hike in…learn more 

San Juan National Forest – North and East of Historic Chama.  Short hikes take you to spectacular mountain vistas and numerous lakes and streams…learn more 

Canjilon Lakes – Easily accessible chain of mountain lakes outside of the community of Canjilon.  Great fishing for the whole family; overnight camping in season…learn more

Want to learn more about Chama Valley? Contact us.

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