By GEORGE MORSE
Sports and Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
Once again, the hottest fishing spot for local anglers is the Chama River below El Vado Dam.
With streamflows measuring a measly 102 cubic-feet- per-second, the Chama has been excellent for anglers using everything from flies to Power Bait. The State Game and Fish Department has stocked a lot of rainbow trout in this area, including 495 trout stocked Jan. 3 that averaged over 11 inches in size. Right now, there is an abundance of stocked trout in the easily accessible parts of the Chama and these are what you’ll most likely hook. There are bigger fish in this section of the Chama. To increase your chances at catching a bigger-than- average trout, try fishing the harder-to- reach pools that do not have as much fishing pressure. You may not get as many bites, but you may hook bigger fish.
There’s good news for Los Alamos-based anglers. At nearby Fenton Lake State Park, the ice has melted and there is open-water fishing from the bank. The fishing has been very good. Fenton Lake was stocked Jan. 3 with 800 rainbow trout that averaged over 11 inches in size. To check on conditions, call (575).829.3630.
Eagle Nest Lake is completely frozen over, but the ice is still not safe to venture out on. Call (575).377.1594 to check on conditions and when the lake will be open to ice fishing.
If you want to try some ice fishing, your best bet is Lake Alice on Sugarite Canyon State Park. The ice is thick enough to safely venture out on and the fishing has been good for rainbow trout. Lake Maloya, which is also on Sugarite Canyon State Park, still has some open water. The fishing has been very good for rainbow trout. Call (575).445.5607 to check on conditions.
The fishing on the Chama River below El Vado Dam has been fair and the streamflow here is just 125 cubic-feet- per-second. At nearby Heron Lake, the bank fishing for rainbow trout has slowed down and is just slow-to- fair.
The Rio Grande is running at 477 cubic-feet- per-second, which is actually a little above normal. The fishing has been kind of slow for rainbow trout and brown trout.
The Pecos River is running low and clear. The fishing has been good below the village of Pecos. Nearby Monastery Lake is still ice-free and the fishing has been very good.
The San Juan River below Navajo Dam is running at 382 cubic-feet- per-second. Visibility is just one foot in the river so anglers need to patiently cast since the trout will not move far and you’ll have to put your fly right where they can see it. The fishing in the Quality Water has been fair. The fishing in the Bait Waters has also been fair. Due to a river enhancement project, the section of the San Juan between the Simon Point Day Use Area and the Crusher Hole Day Use Area is closed to boat and foot traffic until March 1.
Fishing at Navajo Lake has been fair for northern pike. You’ll need a boat at Navajo Lake. Lake Farmington near the City of Farmington has been good for rainbow trout. The fishing remains good at Albuquerque’s Tingley Beach and in the Albuquerque Area drainage canals. These waters are heavily stocked with trout during the winter.
Much of the stocking of rainbow trout this time of year takes place in small lakes and ponds throughout Southern New Mexico. Most of these waters are too warm for trout during the summer. The fishing is good right now for these stocked rainbow trout. Grindstone Reservoir near Ruidoso and Lake Roberts near Silver City are heavily stocked this time of year and these lakes are deep enough so that trout can survive the summer, so there’s a better chance of hooking a nice holdover trout here. You could catch a Gila trout at Lake Roberts, as these fish have been stocked here, including some big enough to break the state record.
Snow was forecast for Wednesday and it would sure be a welcome sight. It has been bone-dry so far this winter and the snowpack is well-below normal, even up into Southern Colorado. A shift in the weather pattern that brings in more winter storms is much-needed. We really need one really good storm to help get things going.