By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
Despite the recent return of winter weather over the weekend, snowpacks in New Mexico and Southern Colorado remain well- below normal.
Streamflows are running less-than normal and reservoir levels are well-below capacity. The outlook for water supply this summer is grim.
The fishing is currently pretty good as the lower streamflows favor anglers. The problem is we need those heavy spring runoffs that used to put a damper on spring fishing conditions in previous years. They also helped fill our reservoirs and maintain the streamflows through the heat of summer to the benefit of the trout.
One has to wonder if the deep snowpacks and heavy spring runoffs of the past will ever return or are we looking at a new normal now.
New Mexico State Parks are open to all visitors. Overnight camping is still by reservation only. Call 877.664.7787 for reservations. It is beneficial to check the state parks website for conditions at individual state parks if you are planning a trip to one of them. Visit emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/FindaPark.html.
Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains was a popular ice-fishing destination. It was closed to ice fishing Feb. 5 due to deteriorating ice conditions. It is now all open water and the fishing has been fair-to-good. This lake can get very crowded. It is heavily-stocked. It was stocked April 6 with 670 rainbow trout. Camping is allowed by reservation only.
Call 877.664.7787 for reservations. Fenton also has wild brown trout and you might catch a Rio Grande cutthroat trout
from an earlier stocking. Call (575).829.3630 for current conditions at Fenton.
Fishing the Rio Cebolla below Fenton Lake might be worthwhile. It was stocked April 6 with 400 rainbow trout.
San Gregorio Lake was still frozen as of last report but the ice may be breaking up now. This lake winterkills and the fishing is poor until it is restocked.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond is still closed.
The trout fishing has been fair in the Jemez River. The streamflow has risen sharply and is now 68.2 cubic-feet-per-second. The Jemez River was stocked April 13 with 895 rainbow trout. The fishing is good once you find where the stocked fish are. The smaller streams in the Jemez Mountains are beginning to thaw out. The Rio de las Vacas was stocked April 6 with 500 rainbow trout. The San Antonio River was stocked April 13 with 749 rainbow trout. All the streams in the Jemez Mountains have wild brown trout.
Eagle Nest Lake State Park has good fishing when the wind isn’t blowing hard. Boating conditions are listed as good. The boat docks are scheduled to be installed May 6 at Eagle Nest. Overnight camping resumed March 15 by reservation only.
Rainbow trout, yellow perch and northern pike are the species that can be caught, with an occasional kokanee salmon.
The fishing for trout and perch has been good. Some big pike were landed. For more information and current conditions, call (575).377.1594.
The Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park has lost its ice cover. Fishing has been fair for rainbow and brown trout. Streamflow below Eagle Nest Dam is 12.8 cubic-feet-per-second. The Gravel Pit Lakes at Maverick campground are open but have not been stocked.
Heron Lake State Park is open. Camping is available by reservation only. The kokanee salmon snagging season is over.
There is more open water for bank fishing at Heron and at El Vado Lake. Due to low water the boat ramps are closed and
boating conditions are described as poor. Bank fishing should be at least fair for rainbow trout with the possibility of
catching a lake trout at Heron. El Vado has rainbow trout, brown trout and small smallmouth bass. Call (575) 588-7470
for conditions at both Heron Lake and El Vado Lake.
The main park is now open at El Vado Lake.. Boating conditions are described as poor.
Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton is open daily. Lake Alice and Lake Maloya are now open for bank fishing.
Camping is available by reservation only. Lake Alice is a small lake and the fishing is primarily for recently-stocked
rainbow trout. It was stocked March 29 with 250 rainbow trout. Lake Maloya is much larger and is capable of producing
larger, holdover trout. It is well-stocked. It was stocked March 29 with 1,500 rainbow trout. Call (575) 445-5607 for
Morphy Lake State Park near Mora was opened for day use March 1 after being closed for more than a year. There is no
overnight camping here and it is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Initially, it was closed for repairs on the dam. Later, it was closed
due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fish here had over a year to grow unmolested and there are some nice, large
holdover trout here. Fishing had been described as slow initially, but anglers were catching good-sized cutbow trout and
cutthroat trout. It has now been heavily-stocked. It was stocked again March 18 with 2,699 catchable-size rainbow trout
and with 216 rainbow trout averaging 15.1 inches in size. It was stocked April 6 with 3,000 rainbow trout. It might be
hard to get your bait, fly or lure past all those stockers to the bigger and better holdover trout.
Clayton Lake and the Charette Lakes are now open for fishing after being closed over the winter. The fishing has been
pretty good for some nice-sized holdover rainbow trout at Lower Charette Lake. Some nice-sized holdovers are being
caught. Lower Charette Lake was stocked April 13 with 2,250 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 250 rainbow trout
averaging 15 inches in size. The Charette Lakes are located between Wagon Mound and Springer.
Clayton Lake State Park is now open daily with camping by reservation only. It was stocked April 5 with 3,599 catchable-
size rainbow trout and with 400 rainbow trout averaging 14.3 inches in size. It also has some big walleye and a few
trophy-size largemouth bass. There are also catfish here. This is a trophy bass lake where the daily limit is two bass-per-
day 14 inches in size or longer. The state-record walleye was caught at Clayton Lake. The boat ramp is closed. At Clayton
Lake, be sure to check out the Dinosaur Tracks.
Maxwell Lake 13 on the Maxwell Lakes National Wildlife Refuge opened up March 1 for fishing. Save yourself a trip. This
lake practically dried up last fall and will need to be restocked.
Stubblefield Lake is also very low, but could be worth a try for catfish. The state-record channel catfish was caught here.
There were also largemouth bass and walleye here but they may not have made it through the winter due to low water.
Cochiti Lake had been closed most of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It reopened Jan. 4 by reservation for day
use. Ice fishing is not allowed here. Fishing has been reported as slow. Catfish and possibly northern pike are likely your
best bet. The boat ramp is open. Tickets and reservations may be made at www.recreation.gov. They are not sold at the
lake. The Tetilla Peak Recreation Area is closed. This lake is managed by the Corps of Engineers.
The gate hours at Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. It was stocked April 7 with 4.050
rainbow trout. Camping is available by reservation only. It’s likely at least fair if not better for stocked trout. Call (505)
425-7278 for conditions.
Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos is closed. Opening date is May 1 at this little lake.
Most high-elevation lakes are still frozen over and may be inaccessible due to ice and snow. Some anglers reported
parking and hiking in to Hopewell Lake between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla. They were catching rainbow trout
through the ice. Cabresto Lake near Questa may offer some ice fishing. Both these lakes normally stay frozen until early
May. The same is likely true of the Canjilon Lakes, the Trout Lakes near Cebolla and the Lagunitas Lakes. The ice is likely
getting weak and slushy now and would be unsafe to fish on. Forest service roads may still have some snow and muddy
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is currently open for day use. It will be open Thursday-Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The
fishing has been good here in the early spring. There is open water here for bank fishing. The lake is nearly full and the
boat ramp is open. It was stocked April 15 with 3,250 rainbow trout averaging over a foot in length and with 300 rainbow trout averaging 16 inches in length. For updated conditions, check the Bureau of Land Management website at: blm.gov/visit/santa-cruz-lake-recreation-area.
Abiquiu Lake is now open for day use, including the boat ramp and picnic areas. The campground is closed. A four-wheel
drive vehicle is recommended for launching boats. The lake level is low. The fishing has been fair-to-good for walleye.
The fishing is slow-to-fair for smallmouth bass.
Ute Lake State Park is open. The fishing should be slow-to-fair for white bass, walleye and largemouth bass. Conchas
Lake State Park is open. Some crappie, walleye and largemouth bass are being caught. Santa Rosa Lake State Park is
open and anglers have been catching some crappie and walleye. This lake is extremely low and the boat ramp is closed.
Sumner Lake State Park is open and fishing for walleye could be fair. Camping is allowed by reservation only at all these
Conchas Lake was stocked twice two weeks ago with 156,027 walleye fry averaging less than an inch in length.
Over in the Four Corners Navajo Lake State Park is open. Camping is by reservation only. This lake does not freeze over.
The best fishing may be for trout and possibly northern pike. Bass fishing should pick up as the water warms up. It was
stocked five times two weeks ago with a total of 241,328 small rainbow trout. It was stocked April 8 with a total of
37,791 small rainbow trout. Now is a good time to troll lures like Rapalas for big brown trout. Boating conditions are
good. Call (505) 632-2278 for conditions.
Lake Farmington is open. This Lake is administered by the City of Farmington. It was stocked April 12 with 2,553 rainbow trout. The fishing should be good for these stocked fish.
Tiger Park Pond in Aztec was stocked April 6 with 1,193 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 150 rainbow trout averaging 16 inches in size. Aztec Pond # 1 was stocked April 6 with 317 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 35 rainbow trout averaging 16 inches in size.
The Animas River in Aztec was stocked April 13 with 500 rainbow trout.
Jackson Lake north of Farmington has had good fishing for stocked trout. It was stocked April13 with 1,007 rainbow trout. It is part of the Jackson Lake Wildlife Management Area managed by the State Game and Fish Department
Bluewater Lake State Park is open. Boating conditions are listed as good. Camping is allowed by reservation only. It was stocked Feb. 10 with 6,000 rainbow trout. It was stocked again March 8 with 5,992 rainbow trout. The trout fishing has been very good. A few tiger muskies are being caught and the fishing for them should pick up. Fishing for catfish is fair.
Call (505) 876-2391 for current conditions.
Most small streams in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains have thawed out and starting to experience runoff conditions.
The streamflow in Chama River has increased significantly as spring runoff begins and water is released from reservoirs for the upcoming irrigation season.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is flowing at 809 cubic-feet-per-second. The flow has been increased significantly.
This will impact the fishing conditions, making them more difficult.. The water here is usually murky. The fishing had been good for stocked and holdover rainbow trout. There are some big, wild brown trout here. The limit here is two-fish-per-day. It was stocked April 5 with 1,006 rainbow trout.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam is flowing at 694 cubic-feet-per-second. The flow has increased but fishing below El Vado holds up well during higher flows. The fishing has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. It was stocked April 1 with 642 rainbow trout. Some big brown trout were caught recently by anglers using Rapalas. The state-record brown trout was caught here. You may catch some small Rio Grande cutthroat trout here. Please release them carefully and give them a chance to grow.
The Chama River above El Vado Lake is experiencing early spring runoff conditions. The streamflow at La Puente has risen sharply and is at 510 cubic-feet-per-second. The stronger flows make fishing a little more difficult, but some big trout will be caught now. It was stocked April 5 with 938 rainbow trout.
The nearby Brazos River is also experiencing runoff conditions and is flowing at 125 cubic-feet-per-second. It has not been stocked but fishing could be fair-to-good for holdover rainbow trout and wild brown trout.
The Rio Grande streamflow is 405 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. This is well-below normal but still a good flow for anglers. The fishing has been fair-to-good for rainbow and brown trout. The Rio Grande in the Pilar area was stocked April 14 with 2,000 rainbow trout. The Rio Grande above Pilar in the Gorge was stocked April 14 with 251 rainbow trout. Some of this stocking takes place near the John Dunn Bridge north of Taos near Arroyo Hondo. Caddis hatches are beginning to occur on the Rio Grande.
The Rio Grande Gorge above Pilar was stocked March 10 with 10,661 fingerling Rio Grande cutthroat trout. The State Game and Fish Department is hoping to establish a naturally-reproducing population of cutthroats here. These stockings are done by carrying the trout on backpacks into the Wild Rivers section near Questa.
Some anglers like to toss large streamers in the Rio Grande hoping to entice a strike from a big northern pike. The Pilar area and the Orilla Verde Recreation Area are good spots to try.
The Rio Pueblo near Penasco has lost its ice and the streamflow is 31.5 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked April 12 with 1,200 rainbow trout. The fishing could be fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout.
The Red River near the Red River Fish Hatchery is flowing at 70.3 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing is normally fair-to-good here. It was stocked April 6 with 700 rainbow trout. The Red River above Questa is thawing out and was stocked March 23 with 499 rainbow trout. It was flowing at 40.4 cubic-feet-per-second.
The Red River Hatchery Pond is now open and was stocked April 6 with 399 rainbow trout. The fishing here is for anglers under 14 years-of-age and over 65 years old.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa is open. There is now open water for bank fishing. This little lake is right off the highway. It was stocked April 12 with 499 rainbow trout. It should be worth a try.
The Rio Costilla near Costilla was stocked April 15 with 2,065 Rio Grande cutthroat trout. From Latir Creek to the boundary of the Valle Vidal, fishing in the Rio Costilla is catch-and-release with flies and lures having a single, barbless hook. In the Valle Vidal, the State Game and Fish Department is conducting a project in the Rio Costilla from the Valle Vidal boundary upstream to Costilla Dam that includes the removal of fish and restocking in2022 with Rio Grande cutthroat trout.
The best river in the state and well-known throughout the angling world is the San Juan River below Navajo Dam. The streamflow here is 545 cubic-feet-per-second, which is about 50-percent of normal. It offers world-class fly fishing.
The fishing has been good with a variety of fly patterns in the Quality Water. The fishing here is catch-and-release with flies and lures having a single, barbless hook. The Quality Water is stocked with small rainbow trout that grow quickly in the fertile waters. There are big, wild brown trout in the Quality Water that are not adverse to gobbling up their smaller rainbow brethren. Some of these fish would likely shatter the state record if they could be kept and weighed.
The fishing in the Bait Water of the San Juan below the Quality Water has been fair-to-good with flies, bait and lures.
The Bait Water was stocked April 5 with 3,024 catchable-size rainbow trout. It was stocked two more times last week
with a total of 83,468 small rainbow trout 3.1 inches in size.
Coyote Creek State Park near Guadalupita is open. It was stocked April 12 with 800 rainbow trout. The Coyote Creek
Pond was stocked April 12 with 599 rainbow trout.
The Pecos River above the town of Pecos is starting to experience runoff conditions.. Camping is closed in Pecos Canyon
State Park. The streamflow at Pecos has fallen and is now 45.8 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair for
rainbow and brown trout. The Pecos River between the town of Pecos and Cowles was stocked April 6 with 1,500
The Pecos River is stocked with rainbow trout at Villanueva State Park, which is open. Fishing can be good after these
stockings. It was stocked April 7 with 1,496 rainbow trout between the town of Pecos and Villanueva. The Pecos River
from Villanueva to Interstate Highway 40 was stocked April 6 with 201 rainbow trout.
The Mora fork of the Pecos River was stocked April 6 with 401 rainbow trout. It also has wild brown trout.
The Gallinas River near Las Vegas is starting to lose its ice. The streamflow was 7.19 cubic-feet-per-second. Some good-
sized holdover trout have been caught. It was stocked April 13 with 1,001 rainbow trout. The Gallinas Ice Pond was
stocked April 13 with 200 rainbow trout.
Monastery Lake is now open again to fishing. It was stocked April 13 with 249 rainbow trout. Please pick up your trash
here as this is private property and should be respected. Fishing here is possible through the State Game and Fish
Department’s Open Gate program.
In the Albuquerque area, Tingley Beach is open again. Fishing should be good for stocked rainbow trout. It was stocked
twice three weeks ago with a total of 2,282 rainbow trout. It was not stocked last week. The trout fishing may start to
slow down and the trout may be starting to thin out. It was stocked March 25 with 282 largemouth bass averaging 7.3
inches in size. There is a 14-inch size limit on largemouth bass. During the summer, Tingley Beach is stocked with catfish.
The Albuquerque-area drainage canals are stocked with rainbow trout about every week. The fishing should be fair in the Albuquerque, Albuquerque South, Belen Riverside, Corrales Riverside and Peralta drains. They were not stocked last week and the trout may be starting to thin out. Fishing for other species like bass and catfish may soon pick up as the weather gets warmer. Fishing for catfish in the Rio Grande near Albuquerque should pick up soon.
The stockings of trout at Tingley Beach and in the drainage canals will soon end as the weather warms up.
Escondida Lake just north of Socorro was stocked March 16 with 800 rainbow trout. There are also a few catfish, largemouth bass and crappie in this little lake. The fishing for stocked trout should be good but they may soon start to thin out. It was stocked March 25 with 198 largemouth bass averaging 7.3 inches in size. There is a 14-inch size limit on largemouth bass.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park is open. Camping is by reservation only. Fishing this time of year for white bass and catfish can be good if you can locate where the fish are schooled up. Some good-sized white bass have been caught trolling crank baits. Fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and walleye should pick up soon. A 55-pound blue catfish was recently caught and released.
Now is a good time to perhaps hire a guide, as they make it their business to know where the fish are. The water level is extremely low. It will likely slowly rise over the winter as they try to store as much water as possible to prepare for spring planting. The lake is expected to fall to just three-percent of its capacity this summer.
The Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Lake is barely flowing as they are not releasing water from the lake. The streamflow was 0.10 cubic-feet-per-second. The fish are congregated in the deeper pools. The fishing has been fair for catfish. It was stocked March 24 with 166 rainbow trout. The streamflow here should be increased soon.
Anglers in the Roswell area should be aware that Berrendo Creek is being stocked again. It had been closed because of too much trash being left behind. It was stocked March 16 with 400 rainbow trout.
In the Ruidoso area, the fishing remains good at Alto Lake and Grindstone Reservoir. These lakes are administered by the City of Ruidoso. They are now open to all anglers. Alto Lake was stocked April 13 with 999 rainbow trout. Grindstone Reservoir was stocked April 13 with 2,999 rainbow trout. Grindstone Lake has a lot of deep water and is capable of producing larger, holdover trout.
Alto Lake also has catfish and largemouth bass which should be getting more active now. Grindstone Lake has smallmouth bass, catfish and bluegill.
The Ruidoso River was flowing at 1.40 cubic-feet-per-second at Ruidoso. Streamflow at Hollywood was 4.31 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked April 12 with 501 rainbow trout.
The Timberon Ponds near Cloudcroft are being stocked again. They were stocked March 17 with 250 rainbow trout.
The State Game and Fish Department stocks many of the small municipal lakes in Southern New Mexico. Several lakes in the Carlsbad area receive heavy stockings. Carlsbad Municipal Lake was stocked March 16 with 1,500 rainbow trout.
Lake Van was stocked March 16 with 1,423 rainbow trout. These stockings will be ending as the weather gets warmer.
In Southwestern New Mexico, fishing in the lakes around Silver City should be very good soon as the water still remains cold enough for trout to be active. It is also warming up a bit and the fishing for warmwater species like bass and catfish should pick up as well.
Lake Roberts has been fair for rainbow trout and catfish. It was stocked March 24 with 2880 rainbow trout and there are a few Gila trout in this lake. This is a trophy-bass lake where the limit is two largemouth bass-per-day 14 inches in size or longer. This is the time of year when some of the biggest bass will be caught all season.
Bear Canyon Lake has fair fishing for stocked rainbow trout. It was stocked April 8 with 567 rainbow trout. There are also catfish, crappie and largemouth bass here.
Bill Evans Lake has had good fishing for stocked trout. It was stocked April 8 with 513 rainbow trout. There are catfish here. This is a trophy bass lake where the limit is two largemouth bass-bass -per-day 14 inches in size or longer. The state-record largemouth bass was caught at Bill Evans Lake. This is a good time of year to catch a trophy-sized largemouth bass.
The streamflow in the Gila River is 52.8 cubic-feet-per-second near Gila Hot Springs. This is very low for this time of year.
The fishing has been good for catfish in the lower Gila River. Trout fishing should pick up in the upper Gila River and its forks soon.
Quemado Lake has been fair for rainbow trout. This lake is ice-free. This lake has not yet been stocked this year, but there may be some nice holdover trout. It was stocked last year with tiger muskies. They should reach catchable size in a couple of years.