As recommended in earlier fishing reports, it’s time to fish the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam now that the streamflow has been lowered. Anglers are having great success using a variety of baits and flies. There were a lot of trout stocked in this section of the Chama just prior to the lowering of the streamflow (564 rainbow trout stocked Dec. 20) and these trout are much more concentrated now that the streamflow is low (less than 100 cubic feet-per-second).
One complaint other anglers make about the fishing in this area is that some anglers often exceed the daily limit. Right now, with the low water and lots of stocked trout, this will be easy to do. This is Special Trout Water. You can use any method you wish. However, the daily limit for trout is three fish-per-day rather than the usual five. Please observe this limit and don’t be a fish hog.
There are some very big fish in this section of the Chama. Primarily, the big fish are the naturally-reproducing brown trout. Try to limit your take of these fish, as they are not stocked. There are also a few holdover rainbow trout that reach good size.
Although this area experiences some fishing pressure, it still produces big brown trout. Brown trout are harder to fool than the more gullible rainbow trout. I limit myself to one big brown trout (over 18 inches) these days. A trout that size has already spawned a couple of times and its genes are already in the river. If you can, try to release the smaller brown trout because the potential for them to grow to good size is very good in this section of the Chama.
There have been efforts to turn this section of the Chama into a Quality Water limited to artificial lures and flies, Catch-and-Release fishing.
The flows have also been lowered in the Chama River below El Vado Dam. The fishing here should be pretty good too. There is an artificial flies and lures, Catch-and-Release section below Coopers Landing on this section of the Chama.
The bank fishing for rainbow trout at Heron Lake remains good. I still expect some lake trout to be caught from the bank here. Try using different and bigger baits for these fish rather than the usual Power Bait and salmon eggs used for rainbow trout. Maybe a big nightcrawler. Bigger spinners and spoons might also tempt a big lake trout here.
The streamflow on the Rio Grande was 411 cubic-feet-per-second which is a good level for fishing, although it will get better if the streamflow drops a little more. The trout fishing should be fair. Fly fisherman should try drifting nymphs deep. Fly fishermen are also hooking a few northern pike using big streamers. Trout tend to concentrate in the deeper pools this time of year. It’s still a good idea to cast your bait or fly into the faster water at the head of pools and let it drift down into the slower water. The deeper you can get your bait or fly, yet still have a natural drift, the better.
Eagle Nest Lake is ice-covered, but the ice is still too thin for safety and it is closed to fishing. Call 575.377.1594 to check on ice conditions.
Lake Maloya near Raton on Sugarite Canyon State Park still has some open water for bank fishing. The fishing here has been good. Call 575.445.5607 to check on conditions.
Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas has some open water for bank fishing. It has been fair for rainbow trout.
The Pecos River is running low and clear. The fishing has been good below the town of Pecos.
Monastery Lake near Pecos remains ice-free and it was stocked Dec. 20 with 249 rainbow trout. The fishing has been very good at Monastery Lake thanks to weekly stockings from nearby Lisboa Springs Fish Hatchery.
Fenton Lake is ice-covered and closed to fishing. However, it was stocked with 752 rainbow trout Dec. 19. If a warm spell creates open water for bank fishing, it could be very good here. Call 575.829.3630 to check on conditions.
The streamflow on the San Juan River below Navajo Dam is at a good level for fishing. It has been good in the Quality Waters using a variety of fly patterns ranging from small midges to woolly bugger streamers. The Bait Waters have been fair. The area between the Simon Point Day-Use area and the Crusher Hole Day-Use Area is now closed to boat and foot traffic until March 1. Call Navajo Lake State Park for more information at 505.632.2278 for more information.
Some of the best fishing right now is at Tingley Beach right in the City of Albuquerque. The ponds there are heavily stocked with rainbow trout this time of year. If you are looking to learn how to fly fish, the Bob Gerding Catch-and-Release Pond is a good spot to practice your casting and maybe hook a few fish. The drainage ditches in the Albuquerque area are also well-stocked and the fishing is good for stocked trout.
It’s not a good sight to look up at the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains on Christmas Day and see little if any snow. We need snow. Hoping for more snow in 2018 and wishing everyone a Happy New Year.