By GEORGE MORSE
Los Alamos Daily Post
Sports and Outdoors
The fickle spring weather has been something anglers have to deal with here in Northern New Mexico. Some days the wind blows so hard fishing is difficult at best. On others the wind is quite tolerable and may actually help the fishing by stirring up the water a bit. Mornings are usually less windy than afternoons, but Tuesday the wind was already blowing in the morning.
Last week there was a spike in the streamflow on the Rio Grande April 11 where the flow nearly tripled in just two days. This had me scratching my head. I found out the reason Sunday. While eating at the Chili Line Depot in Tres Piedras, I was talking with the owner and she said they had heavy rain April 7 that was most welcome. That was the reason for the sudden rise and muddy water April 11 on the Rio Grande.
After eating at the restaurant, I drove to Tierra Amarilla on US Highway 64 to get a look at what’s left of the snowpack. There’s not much left. Driving past Hopewell Lake, there was a lot of open water now at the lake and you might want to try fishing there. There were still some snow banks and conditions on the shoreline are likely pretty muddy. There was a truck that had driven down to the lake. The wild brook trout and maybe some holdover rainbow trout might be biting well. There was open water near the inlet and down towards the dam. Worms are an excellent bait for this early spring fishing at Hopewell.
The streamflow has dropped on the Rio Grande and is now running well below normal. The flow at Cerro near the Colorado border was just 112 cubic-feet- per second and at Taos Junction Bridge just 252 cubic-feet- per second. These low flows are not good news for rafters and kayakers, but they have been great for fishermen.
With the annual caddis hatch happening on the Rio Gradne and the low water, fly fishermen are enjoying great trout fishing using dry flies like the elk hair caddis, as well as nymphs. Nightcrawlers and spinners are also catching fish. Low water conditions on the Rio Grande this time of year are unusual and you might as well take advantage of them. In addition, the State Game and Fish Department stocked 3,949 rainbow trout April 12 in the Rio Grande between Pilar and Rinconada.
The streamflows on the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam and El Vado Dam have been increased and the fishing in both areas has slowed down. The upper Chama above El Vado Lake is also running high.
The fishing for smallmouth bass at Abiquiu Lake has been slow-to- fair, as has the fishing for walleye. The wind can really give you problems here, but the fishing should pick up. You may also hook a big rainbow or brown trout at Abiquiu. They recently stocked a lot of small rainbow trout here, so using a lure like a Rapala that imitates a small trout could produce some big walleye or trout that are feeding on these small trout.
There were no reports from El Vado Lake, but it was recently stocked with small rainbow trout. The brown trout and smallmouth bass here could possibly be feeding on them.
The bank fishing for rainbow trout continues to be good at Heron Lake. There were no reports of any lake trout being caught.
Over in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos, the fishing has been very good at Fenton Lake for rainbow and brown trout. Smaller lakes like Fenton are easier to fish during windy days. The Department stocked 2,201 rainbow trout April 13 at Fenton Lake.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond, also known as the Kids Pond, received two stockings of rainbow trout lake week. One stocking was of 319 trout April 10 and another stocking April 13 of 201 trout. The fishing here has been very good for rainbow trout and there are also some big brown trout here. The Rio Cebolla below and above Fenton Lake has been good and was stocked April 10 with 449 rainbow trout.
The small streams in the Jemez area were recently stocked and the fishing has been good. The Jemez River was stocked April 10 with 1,135 rainbow trout and the fishing has been good. The Rio San Antonio was stocked with 751 rainbow trout April 10 and this little stream also holds some surprisingly big brown trout.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo has been heavily-stocked this spring and the fishing has been good for the stocked rainbow trout and the wild brown trout found here.
Several of the tributaries of the Rio Grande should have some good fishing. The Rio Pueblo near Penasco is running low for this time of year and was recently stocked April 11 with 1,202 rainbow trout. Taos Creek was stocked April 11 with 702 rainbow trout. The Red River is flowing high, although still below normal. The fishing here has been fair.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa received its first stocking of the year April 11 of 500 rainbow trout. Eagle Nest Lake is now open to boating. The bank fishing has been fair for rainbow trout. No reports on perch and they’ve been catching a few northern pike.
The Cimarron River below Eagle Nest Lake through Cimarron Canyon State Park has been fair with flies and worms. This stream has yet to be stocked this year, but should have a few holdover rainbow trout and contains wild brown trout.
Maxwell Lake 13 on the Maxwell Lakes National Wildlife Refuge has been good for stocked rainbow trout and some nice- sized holdover rainbow trout.
Lake Maloya and Lake Alice are both in Sugarite Canyon state Park near Raton. Lake Maloya has been very good for trout. A 25-inch rainbow trout was caught here on a Super Duper lure. No reports from Lake Alice, but the fishing should be good for stocked rainbow trout here.
Lower Charette Lake was stocked April 10 with 2,251 rainbow trout averaging about 10 inches and 249 rainbow trout averaging 14 inches. The fishing has been good. No reports on the fishing for perch, which are also found here.
The fishing at Morphy Lake State Park near Las Vegas has been good for rainbow trout. Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas has also been good for rainbow trout and there are also catfish here at Storrie Lake, but no reports of them being caught just now.
The Gallinas River near Las Vegas received its first stocking of the year April10 of 1,000 rainbow trout. The Gallinas Ice Pond, where they used to harvest ice in the winter in the days before refrigeration, was stocked April 10 with 199 rainbow trout.
Monastery Lake near Pecos has been very good for rainbow trout using Power Bait. It was stocked April 11 with 1,176 rainbow trout. The Pecos River is running low for this time of year and the fishing has been good with flies and bait. It was stocked April 10 with 500 rainbow trout.
Over in the Four Corners area, the bass fishing is picking up and was fair-to- good at Navajo Lake. The fishing for northern pike and brown trout has also been good here. You can catch all these species on jerk baits and crank baits, so you can never know what fish is going to strike your lure.
The San Juan River below Navajo Dam is flowing at 600 cubic-feet- per second. The fishing was just fair-to- good in the Quality Waters on a variety of fly patterns. The fishing was also fair-to- good in the Bait Waters below the Quality Waters.
Lake Jackson and Lake Farmington were both stocked with rainbow trout last week and the fishing has been good.
The winter stockings of rainbow trout and Tingley Beach have stopped. The fishing remains good at Tingley Beach and should stay good until the water gets too warm. The trout fishing is about done in the Albuquerque area drainage canals, but you might start to catch some catfish and bass from them as the weather warms up.
The white bass fishing at Elephant Butte Lake has been hot and anglers are also catching walleye, bass and catfish. They caught several big largemouth bass at Elephant Butte last week. The fishing has been very good at Cabollo Lake, which is right below Elephant Butte, for walleye and white bass. The fishing in the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Lake has been good for catfish and fair for walleye and white bass.