One of the advantages of writing a fishing report and then saving it for future reference is you can go back and check the how the conditions were a year or two ago times of year when planning a trip.
Now is about the time of year that the lakes in Northern New Mexico start to freeze over. It comes in especially handy because it’s disappointing to drive to a lake and find it frozen over, yet the ice is not thick enough to support anglers and the lake is closed to fishing.
That’s what is happening now. The weather was pretty nasty at times last week around Thanksgiving and there were a limited number of reports. A lot of anglers probably chose to stay home, enjoy a good dinner and spend time with family than brave the cold and snowy conditions.
Eagle Nest Lake is New Mexico’s premier ice-fishing destination. Currently it is closed to fishing and boating because ice has started to form on the lake. Conditions are unsafe for anglers and boaters. If temperatures remain cold enough, there should be ice thick enough to allow fishing soon. Once that happens, the fishing for rainbow trout and yellow perch can be very good. They were still snagging some kokanee salmon near the dock when the ice started to form and you may pick up a salmon or two while ice fishing. There are also northern pike here.
There were no reports last week from Fenton Lake. The fishing has been good at Fenton Lake. It may be starting to freeze over. Fenton Lake is still stocked by the State Department of Game and Fish even when it freezes over. A large hole is cut into the ice and rainbow trout are stocked into it.
Fishing at the nearby Seven Springs Brood Pond near Seven Springs Fish Hatchery has been good for anglers under 12 years old. This pond is sometimes referred to as the Kids Pond.
Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton is another popular ice-fishing destination. There were no reports from here. It was stocked Nov. 25 with 1,751 rainbow trout. The fishing should be good if it has not started to ice over.
Lake Alice, a smaller lake also located in Sugarite Canyon State Park, also offers ice fishing. For updated conditions at Lake Maloya and Lake Alice, call (575).445.5607.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo normally remains ice-free because of its lower elevation. The fishing here has been good.
There is still some river fishing open during the winter. Sections of rivers below dams normally stay open all winter long.
The Rio Grande stays open, but very cold weather can cause the river to become choked with floating ice, making fishing next to impossible.
Currently the Rio Grande is in good shape and fishing has been good for trout. It was stocked in the Pilar area Nov. 27 with 2,000 rainbow trout. Streamflows have come down a little since last week and are near normal for this time of year.
Some anglers like to cast big streamers trying to catch northern pike this time of year in the Rio Grande. Pike are ambush predators and favor slower stretches of the river. The Pilar area and the Orilla Verde Recreation area are good sections of the Rio Grande to try for northern pike.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam is normally a good spot to try during the winter. The streamflow Wednesday was 506 cubic-feet-per-second. There were no reports from here.
The streamflow in the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam Wednesday was 356 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a lower flow than what it has been recently and the fishing conditions should be improving. Lower flows will improve the fishing in this location so keep checking them.
The San Juan River below Navajo Dam offers good fishing throughout the winter and you’ll likely find a little more room to fish this time of year at this well-known destination. The streamflow Wednesday was 570 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been good in the Quality Water using midge patterns and BWOs. The fishing in the Bait Water below the Quality Water has also been good for fly anglers.
They are still snagging some kokanee salmon at Navajo Lake. Normally, this salmon run starts to slow down this time of year and the quality of the fish starts to deteriorate. It appears to still be holding up. Navajo Lake does not freeze during the winter.
Several lakes in the Four Corners area are now being stocked. Jackson Lake was stocked Nov. 25 with 1,029 rainbow trout. Lake Farmington was stocked Nov. 25 with 1,820 rainbow trout. A 22-inch rainbow trout was caught at Tiger Park Pond in Aztec last week.
The kokanee salmon snagging at Heron Lake is listed as fair-to-good by the dam. Fishing for rainbow trout near the salmon runs is often fair-to-good and you might hook a lake trout this time of year at Heron.
There were few reports from Northeastern New Mexico as the weather probably kept a lot of anglers from venturing out.
The Pecos River is flowing low and the fishing is still good. This time of year the Pecos River at Villanueva State Park is where most of the stocking of rainbow trout takes place. The fishing has been good.
Monastery Lake near Pecos is still open and the fishing has been good. It was stocked Nov. 27 with 250 rainbow trout. Monastery Lake is closed to ice fishing if it freezes over. Manzano Lake is located at Manzano Mountains State Park near Mountainair. The fishing has been good at this little lake which is well-stocked with rainbow trout.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque is kept well-stocked with rainbow trout during the winter. It was stocked with a total of 2,400 rainbow trout last week. The fishing has been good.
The drainage canals in the Albuquerque area are now being stocked with rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
The annual River of Lights display at the Albuquerque BioPark is now open. This beautiful display is worth visiting if you’re in Albuquerque.
If you’re looking for warmer weather and still want to do some trout fishing, a trip to Southern New Mexico is what you might be looking for. The State Department of Game and Fish stocks rainbow trout many of the small municipal lakes and ponds in southern New Mexico during the winter and the fishing can be very good following these stockings. Quail season is now open and the best quail hunting is found in Southern New Mexico. A “Cast and Blast” fishing and hunting trip is possible now. Four different species of quail are found here in New Mexico. Scaled quail, bobwhite quail, Gambel’s quail and Montezuma quail inhabit the state. You can try for a grand slam of quail by harvesting all four species.