By GEORGE MORSE
Sports & Outdoors
Los Alamod Daily Post
The weather in February here in the Southwest can vary between periods of spring-like warmth with winter returning at times. The buds on the elm trees in the Espanola Valley are starting to swell and that’s one of the first signs that spring is around the corner.
There is usually a warm stretch of weather in February so it is best to call ahead to check on ice conditions. The good news is that several lakes still have good ice fishing conditions and another lake was just opened up for ice fishing.
Heron Lake near Tierra Amarilla was recently opened for ice fishing with ice about eight inches thick. No report on how the fishing was. It should be at least slow-to-fair and possibly better for holdover rainbow trout . There are also lake trout in Heron and you might hook a kokanee salmon. Call (575) 588-7470 for conditions.
Nearby El Vado Lake is still closed due to unsafe ice.
The water level at Abiquiu Lake is very low. The boat ramp is completely out of the water. Launching boats here is extremely difficult. This looks like one of those years when water levels at Abiquiu will change dramatically. The shoreline that you fish in March and April could be under many feet of water by June and July. Abiquiu Lake was stocked
Jan. 30 with 27,820 small rainbow trout.
The fishing in the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam has been good and a nice brown trout was recently caught and released here. The streamflow was 111 cubic-feet-per-second. There have been no reports recently on the fishing below El Vado Dam and the flow is very low at 25.6 cubic-feet-per-second.
Fenton Lake was stocked Jan. 31 with 1,001 rainbow trout and the ice fishing has been very good here. The ice is 10-to-13 inches thick.
Also in the Jemez area, the Jemez River was stocked Jan. 31 with 1,001 rainbow trout. Most of this stocking takes place on the lower river where the fishing has been good. Other streams in the Jemez area have been iced over but could soon be clearing as the weather gets warmer.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is still ice-covered and closed to fishing The streamflow in the Rio Grande was 349 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair.
The Red River below Questa was stocked Jan. 29 with 700 rainbow trout and the fishing has been fair. Mid-day is the best time to fish here as morning temperatures are still very cold in this area.
The ice fishing at Eagle Nest Lake has slowed down a bit and the fishing has been just slow-to-fair for rainbow trout, yellow perch and an occasional northern pike. The ice thickness has been about 18 inches.
The ice fishing has been very good at Lake Alice and Lake Maloya in Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton.
Storrie Lake near Las Vegas was stocked Jan. 30 with 2,399 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
The fishing has been fair-to-good on the Pecos River in the Villanueva area.
Monastery Lake is still iced over and closed to fishing.
Over in the Four Corners area, there are still no reports from Lake Farmington and Jackson Lake. These lakes should be worth a try as they were recently stocked. Jackson Lake was stocked Jan. 31 with 2,041 rainbow trout. Lake Farmington was stocked Jan. 31 with 2,355 rainbow trout.
Some northern pike are being caught at Navajo Lake. They could be chowing down on the small rainbow trout that have been recently stocked. Navajo Lake was stocked four times last week with a total of 78,002 small rainbow trout.
The streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam was 284 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been good in the Quality Waters with a variety of fly patterns. The Quality Waters were stocked twice last week with a total of 6,872 small rainbow trout. There are some really big brown trout here and they are likely eating some of their small brethren., so big fly patterns may attract a trophy brown. A 31-inch brown trout was caught and released here on a mouse pattern.
The Bait Waters below the Quality Waters has been has fair for trout.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque was stocked Jan. 29 with 2,281 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 240 rainbow trout averaging 15 inches in size. The fishing has been good.
The drainage canals in the Albuquerque area are stocked weekly with rainbow trout and the fishing has been good.
A 20-pound striped bass was caught at Elephant Butte Lake last week. The fishing has been fair for white bass and largemouth bass.
The lakes in the Carlsbad area continue to be heavily-stocked. Bataan Lake was stocked Jan. 28 with 1,501 rainbow trout. Carlsbad Municipal Lake was stocked Jan. 28 with 1,501 rainbow trout. Lake Van was stocked Jan. 29 with 2,001 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good to very good for these stocked trout.
The fishing at Lake Roberts near Silver City has been good for trout. Gila trout have been stocked here and you might be lucky enough to hook one.