By GEORGE MORSE
Los Alamos Daily Post
Sports and Outdoors
The weather has been colder than normal for much of November and now early December. In years past I remember it not being unusual to get a cold spell at this time of year.
The cold weather has brought snow to the mountains and the Sangre de Cristos are particularly pretty right now covered with snow. It’s a welcome sight after last year’s very dry winter.
If you do a lot of mountain driving this time of year, be sure to make a note during the day where melting snow is causing water to flow onto the road. These same spots will freeze over at night and create those icy spots that can be an unpleasant surprise if you are driving through the mountains at night. Certain parts of the road, particularly those that stay shady most of the day, will remain icy while other areas will be dry.
The cold weather has chased a lot of anglers indoors and consequently many areas have not reported on the fishing conditions. Most of the high mountain lakes are frozen over now and difficult to access because of the snow. This is an in-between time where the cold temperatures can cause lakes to freeze over, but the ice is still too thin for safe fishing.
Eagle Nest Lake is a prime example of this. Right now, ice and snow have shut down the bank fishing at Eagle Nest, but the ice is still too thin to safely go out on. Once this lake freezes over and the ice is thick enough, this is the prime destination for anglers who like to fish through the ice. To check on the ice conditions, call (575) 377-1594.
Fenton Lake is iced over and the ice is unsafe for fishing. Warm springs beneath Fenton Lake create conditions where portions of the lake can have much thinner ice than others and it is currently closed to fishing. Call (575) 829-3630 for conditions. Before it froze over, Fenton Lake was stocked Nov. 27 with 1,752 rainbow trout.
Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton is another ice fishing destination when it freezes over. Currently, there is still some open water at Lake Maloya and the fishing is good. It was stocked Nov. 26 with 1,752 rainbow trout.
Lake Alice, which is a smaller lake below Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon, is already frozen over, but is closed to fishing. Call (575) 445-5607 for conditions.
Abiquiu Lake does not freeze over. The fishing has been fair for walleye and trout. Launching boats at Abiquiu Lake is still very difficult and a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is running low at 76.8 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair for trout.
The State Game and Fish Department will likely be stocking this area through the winter Please be aware that the daily limit in this section of the Chama River is two-fish-per-day.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam is running very low at 31.6 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been good for brown and rainbow trout. At flows this low, the trout will be congregated in the deeper pools.
There were no reports from Heron Lake. This probably means that the snagging for kokanee salmon is slow because when the snagging is good at Heron it attracts good numbers of anglers. The fishing for rainbow trout should be at least fair from the bank here. Heron Lake normally has open water through the winter.
The Rio Grande streamflow has risen a lot since last week and is now at 275 cubic-feet-per-second. One popular fishing spot during the winter on the Rio Grande in the Pilar area and the Department does a lot of stocking here. On Nov. 29 the Department stocked 2,228 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
The fishing is still good in the Red River below Questa. No reports on the Ped River Hatchery Pond.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa is iced over. There were no reports on the fishing.
There were no reports from the Cimarron River below Eagle Nest Dam in Cimarron Canyon State Park and the flow here is very low at 5.6 cubic-feet-per-second. No reports on the Gravel Pit Lakes, which may be frozen by now.
The fishing has been fair at Storrie Lake State Park for stocked rainbow trout. Storrie Lake sometimes freezes over.
The Department is stocking rainbow trout in the Pecos River at Villanueva State Park south of the town of Pecos and the fishing has been good. The Pecos River below Sumner Lake between Santa Rosa and Fort Sumner is stocked with rainbow trout during the winter and the fishing has been good.
Monastery Lake near the town of Pecos was stocked Nov. 28 with 251 rainbow trout. This little lake can freeze over and ice fishing is not allowed.
Over in the Four Corners, the fishing at Navajo Lake for trout and northern pike has been slow. The snagging for kokanee salmon has also been slow. In past years, some anglers would troll crank baits during the winter at Navajo for big brown and rainbow trout. Navajo Lake does not freeze over.
The streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam is 289 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been good in the Quality Waters with a variety of fly patterns. The fishing in the Bait Waters has been fair-to-good.
The Department now stocks rainbow trout in Jackson Lake and Lake Farmington in the Four Corners area. Jackson Lake was stocked Nov. 27 with 1,075 rainbow trout. Lake Farmington was stocked with 1,811 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair at Jackson Lake and there were no reports from Lake Farmington.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque was stocked last week with a total of 2,492 rainbow trout and the fishing has been very good. The drainage canals in the Albuquerque area are now being stocked with rainbow trout and the fishing has been good in the Albuquerque, Belen and Peralta canals.
Lakes in Southern New Mexico do not freeze over and are heavily-stocked in the winter. Alto Lake and Grindstone Reservoir near Ruidoso are both stocked by the Department. Alto Lake was stocked Nov. 28 with 1,001 rainbow trout and with 20 rainbow trout averaging 17 inches in size. Grindstone Reservoir was stocked Nov. 29 with 1,501 rainbow trout and with 30 rainbow trout averaging 17 inches in size. The fishing has been very good at both lakes.
Lake Roberts near Silver City was stocked Nov. 28 with 2,958 small Gila trout. It is also well-stocked with catchable-size rainbow trout. The fishing has been good.
The fishing is fair for white bass and catfish at Elephant Butte Lake. The Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam was stocked Nov. 28 with 651 rainbow trout.
Many of the smaller municipal lakes and park ponds throughout Southern New Mexico are stocked with rainbow trout during the winter and the fishing is normally quite good after these stockings.