It seems like that with a few exceptions, the fishing has hit the summer doldrums at many of the lakes in Northern New Mexico. Slow-to-fair fishing has been reported from popular destinations like Fenton Lake in the Jemez Mountains, Hopewell Lake near Tres Piedras, Morphy Lake near Las Vegas and Eagle Nest Lake.
All of these lakes experience heavy weed growth in the summer and that makes the popular technique of fishing on the bottom with Power Bait or salmon eggs difficult. I suspect anglers would have better luck using a bobber and fishing either worms or flies. That will help keep your bait or fly out of the weeds. Also, fish early of late in the day when the fish are more likely to be feeding on the surface.
Better reports are coming from Heron Lake, where the bank fishing for trout is reported as good. I have a hunch there’s more food in the shallow water and that’s what’s attracting the trout and making the bank fishing better than trolling from a boat.
The trolling continues to be slow for trout and kokanee salmon at Heron. One can only hope that the water levels at Heron will increase and that the once-great trolling for kokanee salmon rebounds to its former glory days.
The demise of the kokanee salmon fishing at Heron, where the State Game and Fish Department once depended on as a source of kokanee salmon eggs used to stock the species in several lakes, has led to a change in regulations during the kokanee salmon snagging season at Navajo Lake. Navajo Lake is now used by the Department as a source of kokanee salmon eggs. The kokanee salmon snagging season at Navajo is now closed from Oct. 1-Nov. 9 while the Department gathers eggs.
The trolling for kokanee salmon at Navajo is also reported as slow. You’ll have better luck fishing for bass and northern pike at Navajo.
El Vado Lake continues to surprise with good fishing for smallmouth bass. This week there were reports of anglers catching perch at El Vado. These are the first reports of perch being caught there. I have a hunch that the perch are actually smallmouth bass being wrongly-identified as perch. There was a report of a 16-inch perch. That would be state-record size.
In the same area, the fishing in the Chama River below El Vado Dam may be one of the best spots to go for trout at this time. The streamflow below El Vado in the Chama was a very angler-friendly 153 cubic-feet-per-second Monday. This area receives heavy stockings of rainbow trout and also holds big, wild brown trout.
The fishing in the Chama River above El Vado and also in the nearby Brazos River continues to be good. Monsoon rains have helped keep streamflows above normal and helped maintain good fishing conditions here.
The fishing for smallmouth bass is rated just fair and slow-to-fair for walleye at Abiquiu Lake. Anglers need to locate weed beds to find fish here. If you want to target walleyes, concentrate your fishing around early in the morning or late afternoon and evening. Walleyes are very sensitive to bright sunlight and tend to feed best at low-level light conditions. I have had reports of some decent-sized bluegills caught at Abiquiu. Trout fishing here will be slow until the water starts cooling down.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam remains not just murky but downright muddy and fishing here is slow. Wait until the water clears some before fishing this area. There are big brown trout and even a few big rainbow trout here, but right now fishing conditions are not good.
The Rio Grande has been fishing well in the Pilar area for stocked rainbow trout. Expect to catch some smallmouth bass in this area too. As I have said before, this area no longer seems to have the healthy population of wild brown trout it once did.
The fishing in the Rio de los Pinos, Pecos River near Pecos and Red River continues to be good as monsoon rains have helped keep water levels above normal. All these streams are well-stocked with rainbow trout.
Lake Maloya near Raton continues to have good fishing. The Cimarron River and the nearby Gravel Pit Lakes have also been good. The fisheries here are maintained by healthy stockings of hatchery-raised rainbow trout.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa continues to receive stockings of rainbow trout and the fishing here remains good.
There were no big trout stocked in Northern New Mexico last week.