New Mexico’s Rio Mora Stuffed with Trout

By: Chris Shaffer

Did anyone in Northern New Mexico catch a 19-inch rainbow that broke them off recently? How about two of them? I’m sure many of you will say yes. Fortunately, we caught those two fish in the Rio Mora River yesterday. We first removed our hook, then the other and released them back into the system. They are probably still there. Them and dozens of others.

We were in town to film Pautzke Outdoors on the Pecos River, but after spotting a few trout in the Mora we didn’t get around to filming on the Pecos at all. It was the kind of evening we wish we could duplicate often. In fewer than two hours we caught and released several dozen fish on film. Most of them were nine to 11 inches and all but three were browns. Two of the browns were beautiful, wild, seven-inch fish with another pushing probably 11 inches. He got off seconds before touching the net.


Anyone that fishes the Pecos River has likely driven by the Rio Mora. A tributary to the Pecos, the Mora is about half the size and the lower 100 yards has pools that corral trout and are harboring some larger fish right now. We put two nice ones back last night. They swam away and will likely be caught again and make someone’s day.


If you’re going to give it a try focus on the heart of the hole and near the top. We found very few trout near the bottom of any of the holes, although many of them were positioned on the edge of the current. The Mora is still off colored so there’s no need to use extremely light line. You could even get away with six-pound test while runoff is still high. We used 10-pound fluorocarbon mainline and four-pound leaders with a Trout Magnet float, small split shot with a Danielson 1/64 ounce jig head and Gamakatsu size 12 single egg hooks.


All our bites came on Fire Bait and Pautzke salmon eggs. We started with Pink Shrimp, Silver Label and Chartreuse Garlic eggs before switching over to Peach Garlic, Feed Pellet Brown and Mountain Wildfire FireBait. The fish were eager to grab it all, which was convincing considering the guys we saw tossing spinners weren’t getting bit. With the eggs we used two to three eggs at once.


Editor’s Note: Pautzke FireBait and the new salmon eggs are available at New Mexico Walmart stores. For updated stocking info please visit the New Mexico Game & Fish site at