IN THIS WEEK’S REPORT: A young angler shares information about his favorite fishing spots and offers up a few fly fishing tips.

Seth Jude and his father Seth are from Artesia, but their family ties bring them north to fish some of New Mexico’s pristine rivers and streams for brown, rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout. This week, Jude wants to share his love for fishing with his fellow New Mexico anglers and a couple of tips that help him find success.

Jude, now five-years-old, is proud to call himself a genuine diehard fisherman. He started f ishing in some ponds on his family’s property when he was just three. They would catch bass using jigs, bait and Carolina-rigged worms. He fell in love with catching bass first and then, soon after, trout. Jude prides himself on his ability to name all the different species of trout in New Mexico. With certainty, he says, “brown, rainbow, cut throat, Gila and brook.” He says, “When we can’t fly fish for trout, the pond is my go-to place.”

Jude Fletcher and his father, Seth, head out to fish the Rio Bonito

Jude got his first fly rod on his fifth birthday, and he quickly developed a passion for fly fishing. He says, “I’ve caught bass, chub and trout on my fly rod, so far,” and it is obvious that this is just the beginning for Jude.

His favorite fly is the Woolly Bugger because the fly has a fair amount of weight to it that helps him with his casting. He also likes midge pattern flies because he and his family have caught a lot of fish using various patterns. The black zebra midge is one of the patter ns that has worked well for them. He and his family like to fish the Rio Penasco, Rio Hondo and Rio Bonita (close to Ruidoso).

Jude also loves trolling the banks looking for stoneflies, nymphs and other larva so he can try to “match the hatch” using a fly that looks like the insects present where he is fishing. It is all part of the adventure when you are out learning about nature!

The Red River is an extra special spot for the Fletcher family. The family has fished up there for many years, going back to the 1950s when Seth’s great grandfather started fishing on the Red. Seth says, “it’s kind of a rite of passage in our family for a boy to go fish the Red River below the Questa hatchery with his father.

For the past few years, Jude has been very upset that he could not go with his grandfather and father to fish the Red River and Rio Costilla. Now that Jude has gotten better at casting his fly rod and learning how to read the water, his father says, “he’s ready to join the big boys.”

Jude is very excited and usually wants to spend his evenings in the front yard practicing his fly cast. When the weekend comes, he is up at 5:30 a.m. and ready to hit the water.

Jude says, “I’m very excited because next year I get to go fish with my dad and grandpa on the Rio Costilla and Red River!”

I think every kid should try fly fishing!

When the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing State Park closures took effect in March, I decided it was as good a time as any for me to embark on learning how to tie flies. I had threatened to learn for years, but until now, I had never followed through.

With my basic beginner fly tying kit that I picked up in Taos, I started out learning how to tie some of the basics such as the Woolly Bugger and San Juan worm. I would look up fly tying videos on YouTube and just do my best to mimic what those folks were doing. I found that it is undoubtedly a skill that can be self-taught in this day and age of technology and media sharing.

Moving on, I knew I needed to get better at tying smaller flies. As Jude and Seth mentioned earlier in this report, I have also found the midge pattern flies to work exceptionally well for me.

Any anglers willing to share their stories, experiences, techniques or tackle, please contribute by emailing Dustin at [email protected].

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.