By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
As summer draws to a close, the State Game and Fish Department continues to stock the lakes and rivers of Northern New Mexico with thousands of rainbow trout, including some of near-trophy size averaging over 18 inches.
This program of stocking larger-than-average trout in some of the most popular fishing spots has been most successful. It gives the average angler more chances to catch a big trout that they might not otherwise have.
It actually began somewhat by accident. The department was seeking to control an outbreak of whirling disease at its Los Ojos Fish Hatchery. In order to determine if whirling disease had been controlled, the Hatchery had to hold some of its trout longer than normal so they could be tested for the disease. That meant that they would be bigger than the normal catchable-size stocked fish of about 9-12 inches. Once they were completely tested, they could then be stocked. The result was the Hatchery had thousands of good-sized fish that needed to be stocked. These bigger fish were stocked all over the state.
Anglers were so pleased to be able to catch bigger trout at their favorite fishing spots that now periodic stockings of big trout has become a regular part of the Department’s stocking program.
The last big holiday weekend of summer is coming up. Labor Day (Sept. 6) will see full campgrounds and lines of traffic at the most popular state parks and national forest recreation areas.
Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains is open. It was stocked twice last week with a total of 2,241 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 222 rainbow trout averaging 18.5 inches in length. Fishing has improved here with the recent stockings. Camping is allowed by reservation only. Fenton also has wild brown trout and Rio Grande cutthroat trout from an earlier stocking. Only two cutthroat trout may be kept per-day as part of the five-trout-per-day bag limit.
Call (575).829.3630 for current conditions at Fenton.
The Rio Cebolla below Fenton Lake is stocked with rainbow trout and also has wild brown trout. It was stocked Aug. 19 with 400 rainbow trout.
San Gregorio Lake is open. The fishing is reported as slow-to-fair. It has not yet been stocked this year. This lake requires anglers to park and hike in. There are reports of vehicles being broken into at the parking area. Lock your vehicles and secure your valuables
The Seven Springs Brood Pond is open. It is also known as the Kid’s Pond. It was stocked Aug. 18 with 526 catchable-size and with 250 rainbow trout averaging 18.5 inches in size. There are a few big brown trout in this pond. A 30-inch brown trout was caught here recently. The fishing is for anglers under 12 years old.
The trout fishing has been fair in the Jemez River. The streamflow is now 4.99 cubic-feet-per-second. This is very low.
The fish are concentrated in deeper pools and fishing is tough. It will not be stocked again until later this fall.
The smaller streams in the Jemez Mountains are lower. The San Antonio River was stocked Aug. 11 with 179 rainbow trout. All the streams in the Jemez Mountains have wild brown trout.
Eagle Nest Lake State Park is open and boating conditions are listed as good. Rainbow trout fishing is slow, especially from the bank. The fishing for perch has been good. Some big northern pike are being landed. Some good-sized kokanee salmon are being caught. A potential new state-record kokanee weighing 5 pounds was caught recently. As the summer progresses, bank fishing may be difficult due to weed growth. Fishing from a boat may be better. For more information and current conditions, call (575).377.1594.
Heron Lake State Park is open. Boating conditions are described as fair. Trolling lures for rainbow trout and kokanee salmon has been good. Bank fishing should be at least fair for rainbow trout. The lake level is still low. The primitive boat ramp is open. Four-wheel drive is recommended to launch boats.
El Vado Lake has rainbow trout, brown trout, perch and small smallmouth bass. Trout fishing may be slow. Call (575).588.7470 for conditions at both Heron Lake and El Vado Lake. The main park is now open. Boating conditions are described as poor. The main boat ramp is open. Water level is low. The North Day Use Area is open and uncrowded.
Abiquiu Lake is open, including the boat ramp and picnic areas. The campground is open. Camping is by reservation only.
It is managed by the Corps of Engineers. Reservations may be made at www.reservation.gov.
The water level is low at Abiquiu. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for launching boats. The fishing has been fair-to-good for walleye. The fishing is slow-to-fair for smallmouth bass. Fishing for panfish is fair. Trout have likely moved to much deeper water. Night fishing for catfish may be worth a try. Call 505.685.4371 for more information.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is flowing at 122 cubic-feet-per-second. This is low. The water here is murky. The fishing could be at least fair for stocked and holdover rainbow trout. There are some big, wild brown trout here. Fly Fishermen should use flies with a little flash to them. The limit here is two-fish-per-day.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam is flowing at 105 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. The state-record brown trout was caught here. It was stocked Aug. 17 with 1,052 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 222 rainbow trout averaging 18.5 inches in length.
The streamflow in the Chama River above El Vado Lake is steady and fishing conditions improving. The streamflow at La Puente is 34.2 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing conditions are good. It was stocked Aug. 10 with 1,043 rainbow trout.
Try fishing below the outflow from Heron Dam.
The nearby Brazos River is experiencing lower streamflow conditions and is flowing at 18.9 cubic-feet-per-second. It has not been stocked but fishing should be fair-to-good for holdover rainbow trout and wild brown trout.
Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos is open. Fishing is for anglers under 14 years of age or 65 years old and older. It is open sunrise to sunset and the daily limit is three fish-per-day.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is currently open Thursday-Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Overlook campground is open. The North Shore campground is closed. The fishing has been good here thanks to above-average flows from the Santa Cruz River keeping the water level high. The boat ramp is open. It is stocked with good-size rainbow trout and also has wild brown trout. The fishing has held up well here, but is starting to slow down. The water level here will steadily drop during the summer. The best fishing will be near the inlet. For updated conditions, check the Bureau of Land Management website.
The Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park is open. Fishing has been fair for rainbow and brown trout. It was stocked Aug. 12 with 2,425 rainbow trout. The Cimarron is running very low. Streamflow below Eagle Nest Dam is 0.79 cubic-feet-per-second. The flow picks up downstream and is at 13.3 cubic-feet-per-second near the town of Cimarron.
The Cimarron Gravel Pit Lakes at Maverick campground were stocked Aug. 12 with 35 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 45 rainbow trout averaging 15.0 inches in size. The fishing has been good.
Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton is open daily. Lake Alice and Lake Maloya are now open for fishing. Camping is available by reservation only. Lake Alice is a small lake and the fishing is primarily for recently-stocked rainbow trout.
Lake Maloya is bigger and is capable of producing larger, holdover trout. It was stocked Aug. 11 with 2586 catchable=size rainbow trout and with 400 rainbow trout averaging 14.8 inches in size. Call (575).445.5607 for current conditions.
Morphy Lake State Park near Mora was opened March 1 after being closed for more than a year. It has been heavily-stocked since reopening. There are some cutthroat trout here. Only two cutthroat trout may be kept per-day as part of a five-fish limit.
Clayton Lake and the Charette Lakes are now open for fishing. The fishing has been pretty good for some nice-sized holdover rainbow trout at Lower Charette Lake. The Charette Lakes are located between Wagon Mound and Springer.
Clayton Lake State Park is now open daily with camping by reservation only. It is stocked with rainbow trout. It also has some big walleye and a few trophy-size largemouth bass. There are also catfish here. Trout fishing may be slow. 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.
Stubblefield Lake is low. The state-record channel catfish was caught here. The fishing for catfish has been good.
Cochiti Lake is open. Fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass has been fair-to-good. Crappie, catfish and northern pike are being caught as well. The boat ramp is open. Reservations are no longer needed to enter the lake. Camping reservations can 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.
Storrie Lake State Park is open. Camping is available by reservation only. Fishing is likely a little slow for stocked trout.
There are some big catfish in this lake. Call (505).425.7278 for conditions.
Hopewell Lake between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla is open, as is the nearby campground. The fishing has been fair-to-good. It was last stocked July 27 with 1,958 rainbow trout and also has wild brook trout.
The Canjilon Lakes and the Trout Lakes near Cebolla are open and accessible. Forest service roads may have some muddy conditions. The fishing is much better after they are stocked. The Canjilon Lakes were stocked July 27 with 1,780 catchable-size rainbow trout. They were stocked again July 28 with 1,335 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 230 rainbow trout averaging 18.2 inches in size. There are a few brook trout in the upper Canjilon Lake.
The Trout Lakes were last stocked Aug. 11 with 556 rainbow trout.
The Lagunitas Lakes were last stocked June 28 with rainbow trout. This was the first and so far only stocking of the year.
Over in the Four Corners Navajo Lake State Park is open. Camping is by reservation only. The bass fishing has been good.
The fishing for northern pike has been fair-to-good. Trout fishing has slowed down. Check at the marina to see at what depth the kokanee salmon have schooled up and can be caught trolling. The trolling for kokanee has been good at about 30 feet. Be sure to tip the hooks of your lures with corn. The salmon will drop deeper as summer progresses. The salmon should soon start to undergo the physical changes associated with their spawning season, which begins in October.
Boating conditions are good. Call (505).632.2278 for conditions
Bluewater Lake State Park is open. Boating conditions are listed as good. Camping is allowed by reservation only. The trout fishing is slow. Tiger muskies are being caught and the fishing for them has been good using big crank baits and waterdogs. Fishing for catfish is fair using hot dogs. Call (505).876.2391 for current conditions.
The Rio de los Pinos near the Colorado border was running a little low. It was stocked Aug. 16 with 1,313 rainbow trout. Fly fishing conditions are good.
The Rio Grande streamflow is 257 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. This is a little below normal. The fishing has been fair-to-good for rainbow and brown trout. Bait is your best choice under murky conditions. Spinners may work too. Beadhead nymphs are good for fly casters. Anglers are catching smallmouth bass and some northern pike in the Pilar area.
From the Colorado state line downstream to the Taos Junction Bridge, the limit is two-fish-per-day in the Rio Grande.
The streamflow in the Rio Pueblo near Penasco is 14.0 cubic-feet-per-second. The flow is lower than last week. The fishing should be fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. It was stocked Aug. 10 with 1,199 rainbow trout.
The pond at Sipapu was stocked July 26 with 65 rainbow trout.
The Red River near the Red River Fish Hatchery is flowing at 43.7 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing is normally fair-to-good here. It was stocked Aug. 17 with 700 rainbow trout. The Red River above Questa was stocked Aug. 17 with 1,998
rainbow trout. It was flowing at 30.5 cubic-feet-per-second. The East Fork of the Red River was stocked with 301 rainbow trout Aug. 11 and the West Fork of the Red River was stocked with 301 rainbow trout.
The Red River City Ponds were stocked July 28 with 632 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 69 rainbow trout averaging 15.6 inches in size. The limit here is three fish per-day
The Red River Hatchery Pond is now open and was stocked Aug. 17 with 402 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 80 rainbow trout averaging 15.7 inches in size. The fishing here is for anglers under 14 years-of-age and over 65 years old. The limit here is three fish per-day.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa is open. This little lake is right off the highway between Questa and Red River. It was stocked Aug. 11 with 338 catchable-size rainbow trout.
Goose Lake, a popular high-elevation lake near Red River, was stocked June 30 with 403 rainbow trout. The limit here is three fish per-day.
The Rio Costilla from Latir Creek to the boundary of the Valle Vidal is catch-and-release with flies and lures having a single, barbless hook. The Rio Costilla below Latir Creek was stocked Aug. 10 with 400 rainbow trout.
The Shuree Ponds on the Valle Vidal opened for fishing July 1. They were stocked Aug. 9 with 500 rainbow trout averaging 14.8 inches in size. Fishing here is with flies and lures with a single, barbless hook. The limit is two fish-per-day.
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 735 cubic-feet-per-second. This is lower than last week and near normal. It offers world-class fly fishing for big trout.
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. It was stocked twice last week with 20,285 sub-catchable rainbow trout. 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. It seems like the fishing for brown trout has picked up this season.
The fishing in the Bait Water of the San Juan below the Quality Water has been fair-to-good with flies, bait and lures. A regular daily limit of five trout may be kept here. A 30-inch brown trout was caught recently. It was stocked Aug, 18 with 2,104 rainbow trout.
The Pecos River above the town of Pecos is running well thanks to recent rains. The streamflow at Pecos was 65.9 cubic-feet-per-second, which is much lower than last week and below normal. The Pecos has been able to sustain a normal-or-higher flow this season until now. The fishing has been fair for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. The Pecos River between the town of Pecos and Cowles was stocked twice last week with a total of 3,001 rainbow trout.
The Cowles Ponds were stocked Aug. 19 with 180 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 20 rainbow trout averaging 15. 1 inches in size.
Holy Ghost Creek in the Pecos drainage was stocked Aug. 17 with 400 rainbow trout. The Mora fork of the Pecos River was stocked Aug. 18 with 399 rainbow trout. It also has wild brown trout. Cow Creek was stocked Aug. 9 with 499 rainbow trout.
The Gallinas River near Las Vegas is running lower. The streamflow was 9.10 cubic-feet-per-second. Some good-sized holdover trout have been caught. It was stocked Aug. 10 with 1,001 rainbow trout. The Gallinas Ice Pond was stocked Aug. 10 with 199 rainbow trout.
Monastery Lake is open to fishing. It was stocked Aug. 19 with 898 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 95 rainbow trout averaging 15.1 inches in size. 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. This lake is very crowded on weekends.