By GEORGE MORSE
Los Alamos Daily Post
Sports and Outdoors
New Mexico seems to be out of the major storm track for now and temperatures are hovering to near or a little above normal. It would be great if we could get some more snow to help build the snowpack.
Although several lakes are now ice-covered, none are reporting ice that is thick enough to allow for safe conditions for ice fishing.
This is the time of the winter to build a good base for the snowpack. The Natural Resource Conservation Service shows that the current snowpack is at 118 percent of average for the Sangre de Cristo river basins. The Rio Chama basin is at 96 percent of average. The upper Rio Grande is at 81 percent of average. The San Juan headwaters are at 73 percent of average. The Jemez River basin is 111 percent of average.
These numbers are better than last year, but we need a lot more snow if we want to recover from the drought conditions that we have been experiencing in recent years.
The State Game and Fish Department is continuing to stock rainbow trout in some areas of Northern New Mexico.
Southern New Mexico now sees the majority of the stockings of catchable-size rainbow trout.
One of the better fishing areas continues to be the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam. The fishing has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. The streamflow below Abiquiu Dam is 151 cubic-feet-per-second.
The fishing is slow at Abiquiu Lake. Launching boats at Abiquiu Lake is still very difficult and a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
The streamflow on the Chama River below El Vado Dam is 81.5 cubic-feet-per second. The fishing has been fair-to-good for rainbow and brown trout.
El Vado Lake is iced-over and closed to ice fishing.
Heron Lake is open and the bank fishing for rainbow trout has been fair-to-good. The kokanee salmon snagging has been slow.
Fenton Lake is iced over and closed to ice fishing. Call (575).829.3630 for conditions.
There were no reports on the fishing in the streams in the Jemez Mountain area.
There were no reports from Santa Cruz Lake. I was informed that the lake is now rising after being drawn down very low and that the fish survived the summer. It might be worth a try. Expect cold mornings with warmer conditions in the afternoon. Some ice may form around the edges of the lake but will melt off during the day.
The streamflow in the Rio Grande is 329 cubic-feet-per second. The fishing has been fair. The Department stocked 1,999 rainbow trout Dec. 12 in the Pilar area.
The fishing in the Red River below Questa has been fair-to-good for brown and rainbow trout.
Eagle Nest Lake is frozen over and the ice is unsafe for ice fishing. It is currently closed to fishing and boating. Call (575).377.1594 for ice conditions.
Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton still has a lot of open water and the fishing has been good. Lake Alice at Sugarite Canyon is still iced over and closed to fishing.
Storrie Lake near Las Vegas has seen ice forming around the edges of the shore that is melting off during the day. There were no reports but it could be worth a try for stocked rainbow trout.
The Pecos River is now being stocked with trout at Villanueva State Park and the fishing has been slow-to-fair. Villanueva State Park is south of the town of Pecos and Interstate 25. The Pecos River is also being stocked with trout below Sumner Dam. The Department stocked 300 rainbow trout below Sumner Dam last week and the fishing has been fair-to-good.
Monastery Lake near the town of Pecos is ice-covered and ice fishing is not allowed here.
One of the better destinations in winter is the Four Corners area, where lakes remain ice-free and are being stocked by the Department.
The fishing at Jackson Lake has been good for stocked rainbow trout.
Lake Farmington was stocked Dec. 12 with 2,062 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
The streamflow on the San Juan River below Navajo Dam is 289 cubic-feet-per second This is a well-known, year-around fishery that draws anglers from across the United States. The first four miles below the dam are Quality Waters where anglers can use only flies and lures with a single, barbless hook. The fishing is catch-and-release. The fishing has been good with a variety of fly patterns. The Quality Waters were stocked Dec. 10 with 39,974 small rainbow trout. This section contains some monster brown trout that exceed 30 inches in length. Big trout like this love to snack on their smaller brethren. A streamer might hook you up with a trout of a lifetime.
The fishing in the Bait Waters of the San Juan, which are below the Quality Waters, has been fair-to-good.
There were no reports from Navajo Lake. In years past, some anglers would troll big minnow-imitating lures like Rapalas and catch some big rainbow and brown trout during the winter here.
The fishing has been slow at Cochiti Lake.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque was stocked three times last week with a total of 2,401 rainbow trout. Thefishing has been very good for these stocked trout.
The drainage canals in the Albuquerque area are now being stocked with rainbow trout and the fishing has been very good in all of them.
The fishing at Elephant Butte Lake has been slow. The Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam was stocked Dec. 11 with 648 rainbow trout. However, the good fishing has been for catfish.
Trout are now being stocked in lakes and ponds throughout southern New Mexico. One popular spot has been Escondida Lake just north of Socorro. It was stocked Dec. 12 with 802 rainbow trout and the fishing has been good.
Other popular spots are Lake Roberts, Bear Canyon Lake and Bill Evans Lake near Silver City. Grindstone Lake and Alto Lake near Ruidoso are also popular destinations for some winter trout fishing.