Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide in Northern New Mexico

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Doc Thompson

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide


Phone icon575-376-9220 Email icondoct@flyfishnewmexico.com Link iconflyfishnewmexico.com
Northern New Mexico

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The Story

Doc Thompson offers fly-fishing guide and instructional trips throughout northern New Mexico. Fish the small mountain rivers, streams, and wild canyon rivers in the Taos, Red River, Eagle Nest, Cimarron, and Angel Fire areas of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico. Doc's calm and patient approach is one of his many trademarks for delivering a quality fly-fishing experience that you deserve regardless of your skill level. If you have never touched a fly rod, you can feel at ease with Doc's instruction and ability to explain the “whys” and “whats” of fly fishing. For more experienced fly fishers, Doc works with you on the needed techniques and information to make the most of your time on the water. Day, multi-day, and half-day trips are available on both public and unpressured private water. Lodging packages are available. Group trips are welcomed. Doc has been honored in the past as Orvis-Endorsed Guide of the Year and Fly Tyer of the Year.

Date Range

Mid-February through December.

What is Provided to Customer

Guide trips include flies, leader/tippet, terminal tackle, and lunch on day trips. Orvis rods, reels, and waders are available for use on guide trips. Please let your guide know of any equipment needs in advance. The key items you will need are rod, reel, waders, polarized sunglasses, rain gear, and valid New Mexico fishing license.

Region/Terrain Where You Fish

The small mountain rivers, streams, and wild canyon rivers in the Taos, Red River, Eagle Nest, Cimarron, and Angel Fire areas offer a wide range of fishing diversity in the spring, summer, and fall. The trout waters in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico range in elevation from 7,000 feet to 10,000 feet. All of these waters are ideal wade/walk fisheries. The Cimarron River is a smaller mountain tailwater that is much more like a freestone mountain stream with a variety of water characteristics featuring brown and rainbow trout. The Cimarron typically starts fishing in April and continues into October. The Rio Costilla represents a classic mountain meadow stream home to cutthroats and cuttbows. The Costilla fishes best from May through September. The Lower Red River is a smaller wild canyon river with lots of pockets and runs featuring browns, rainbows, and some cuttbows. The Lower Red tends to fish from mid-February to early April and then September through November. The Rio Grande is a rugged wild canyon river deep in the Rio Grande Gorge with browns, rainbows, and cuttbows. The Rio's most consistent time frame is September and October. Doc has access to both public and unpressured private waters.

Typical Weather by Season

From mid-May through October, New Mexico typically experiences sunny days when quick-dry pants and long-sleeved fishing shirts are ideal with waders. Mid-July through mid-August is when we can experience some light mountain rain showers in the afternoons, but be sure to always have a rain jacket any time of year. November through April can have cool to cold days with chances of snow, so incorporate a good layering system. A good layering system should include fleece pullover, long-sleeved shirt, fleece vest, rain jacket, fishing gloves, and cap.

Sample of Typical Itinerary

When and where we meet is based upon where we fish on a given day. We typically meet at 8am-8:30am and are back by 5pm-5:30pm. Daily itineraries have flexibility to meet your needs and schedules.

Species You Fish for by Season

Browns, rainbows, cutthroats and cuttbows.

What Should Customers Bring?

The key items you will need to bring are rod, reel, waders, polarized sunglasses, rain gear, and valid New Mexico fishing license. Clothing suggestions include lightweight quick-dry pants and long-sleeved shirts, hat, socks, rain gear.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Where will we fish?
A. Where we fish is based upon the time of year you plan to fish, your fishing interests and current fishing conditions for that time of year.

Q. What kind of fishing license do I need?
A. Each person fishing needs a valid New Mexico fishing license for the days you are fishing. One-day, 5-day, and annual licenses are available. You will need the Habitat Management Access Validation Stamp. If you are fishing the Rio Costilla, Red River, or Rio Grande you will also need the Habitat Improvement Stamp.

Q. Where can I purchase fishing licenses?
A. Licenses can be purchased in advance through the New Mexico Game and Fish website.

Q. Where do you recommend I stay?
A. Guest house and cabin packages are available as an easy way to combine your guide trip and lodging in one easy-to-make reservation. There are also a number of inns, B&Bs, hotels, and motels throughout Taos, Red River, Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, and Cimarron, New Mexico.

Q. What equipment do I need to bring?
A. Key equipment items you need are rod/reel, waders, rain gear, polarized sunglasses, and a valid New Mexico fishing license. Orvis rods, reels, and waders are available for use on guide trips.

Q. What forms of payment do you accept?
A. Forms of payment include US cash, US check, and major credit cards.

Q. What is the closest airport?
A. The Albuquerque International Sunport and Santa Fe Airport have daily commercial flights. Private planes can fly into Taos, Angel Fire, or Raton, New Mexico.

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Browns and Aspens The Aspens were in full color and the browns were at their fall peak as well. The Cimarron was at its best and provided non stop action all day.A nice 20" rainbow in the last pool topped it all off.
Date published: 2012-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A brunette & blonde go fishing Doc took a friend & I out on the Cimarron River in October for our first fly fishing experience. He is not only a master of the fly, but one of the greatest teachers of the trade. We were beyond blessed to get to share such a grand adventure with Doc. He is a man of excellence from the preparation of the trip down to every detail along the way.
Date published: 2020-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Already Planning to Book Again Doc was an incredible guide that was extremely thoughtful about his actions, making for a well-curated experience, while also balancing the awareness that this was a getaway for us. We were able to have a really good time, learn about nature, as well as give time to appreciate our surroundings. My fiancé, who is new to fishing, was so well-guided by Doc that I was shocked to see how great his casting got by the end of the day. He balanced time between experienced and inexperienced clients so well that I never felt like I was missing out on anything. I also appreciated that Doc was very thoughtful, purposeful, and informative about his actions, but never missed an opportunity to make us laugh. This is what the mantra of fishing is all about. It’s great to see that in an ever-changing world, the beauty in this tradition, and the passed down knowledge for the respect of the outdoors still holds steadfast. 
Date published: 2020-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A guide for all anglers I have been fishing with Doc for approximately 10 years and have recently developed some physical limitations. Doc has been able to accommodate and compensate for my limitations and has kept me fishing. I am grateful
Date published: 2020-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellence once again Been fishing with Doc for over 20 years with the usual outstanding results! The most knowledgeable and capable guide that I ever fished with and I am an octogenarian who has fished with hundreds of guides
Date published: 2020-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thank you Doc! I had only fly fished once so needed someone who was a patient teacher and ok with questions. Doc was perfect for my situation. Good guy and super knowledgeable.
Date published: 2020-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Trip on the Cimarron River, NM My dad and I recently went on a guided trip on the Cimarron river. We had a wonderful day. Steady dry-dropper action on a small stream is hard to beat. Doc was an excellent instructor even for a seasoned fly-fisherman. We are looking forward to our next trip with Doc and High Country Anglers.
Date published: 2020-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Experience Doc was very knowledgeable about the stream that we fished and techniques needed for success.
Date published: 2020-09-01
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