By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
This is a good time of the year to give the fishing equipment a rest. Now is when you can make an inventory of your fishing equipment and figure out what you are going to need for the upcoming year.
Clean your rods and reels, including putting new line on your fishing reels. Go online and order some of your favorite lures and accessories so you are well-equipped to begin the season.
Over the years, I have discovered that it’s best not to depend on local tackle shops having your favorite lure in stock. Even big-box stores like Walmart are often out of many of the most popular lures. That may be especially true this year with the supply-chain problems that have been occurring this winter.
The ice-fishing season is still on hold as conditions are still unsafe at most of the popular ice-fishing destinations. This is a good time of year to plan a trip to Southern New Mexico. The weather is milder and several areas offer good fishing for stocked rainbow trout. Next week, the fishing report will focus on some of the better areas to visit in Southern New Mexico.
Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains is open. Camping is allowed by reservation only. It was stocked Dec. 21 with 391 catchable-size rainbow trout. Fenton also has wild brown trout and Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Only two cutthroat trout may be kept per-day as part of the five-trout-per-day bag limit. The lake is completely frozen but unsafe for fishing. Call (575).829.3630 for current conditions at Fenton.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond at Seven Springs Fish Hatchery is open. It is also known as the Kid’s Pond. It is well-stocked with rainbow trout. There are a few big brown trout in this pond. The fishing is for anglers under 12 years old. It is likely freezing over
The trout fishing has been fair in the Jemez River. The streamflow is now 18.2 cubic-feet-per-second. This is lower than last week. The fish are concentrated in deeper pools. It was stocked Dec. 21 with 750 rainbow trout. Headwater tributaries of the Jemez River are icing up.
Eagle Nest Lake State Park is open. The Lake View campground is now closed and the docks have been taken out of the water. The Main Area and Visitors Center are now open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. Six-Mile and the Marina Day Use areas are open daily. The lake was frozen over with ice. Wind breaks up the ice during the day and it is unsafe for fishing. The lake is currently closed to all boating and ice fishing. For more information and current conditions, call (575).377.1594.
Heron Lake State Park is open. The boat ramps are closed. Bank fishing could be fair for rainbow trout. You may catch a lake trout this time of year. The lake level is still low. Kokanee salmon snagging season ended Dec. 31. The banks are very muddy due to the low water level.
Call (575).588.7470 for conditions at both Heron Lake and El Vado Lake.
El Vado Lake has rainbow trout, brown trout, perch and small smallmouth bass. Boating is closed. Water level is low. The North Day Use Area has had fair-to-good fishing for trout, but may be slowing down. Kokanee salmon snagging season ended Dec. 31.
Abiquiu Lake is open, including the boat ramp and picnic areas. The campground is open. Camping is by reservation only. It is managed by the Corps of Engineers. Reservations may be made at www.reservation.gov.
The water level is low at Abiquiu. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for launching boats. The fishing has been slow for walleye and smallmouth bass. Trout fishing should pick up. There are some good-sized trout in Abiquiu. Call 505.685.4371 for more information.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is flowing at 23.3 cubic-feet-per-second. This is extremely low and not beneficial to the wild brown trout. The water here is murky. The fishing is at least fair for stocked and holdover rainbow trout. There are some big, wild brown trout here. Fly Fishermen should use flies with a little flash to them. It was last stocked Oct. 18 with 761 rainbow trout. The limit here is two-fish-per-day.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam is flowing at 97.3 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a little lower than last week. The fishing has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. You may hook a cutthroat trout here. The state-record brown trout was caught here.
Above El Vado Lake, the streamflow in the Chama at La Puente was not measured due to ice. Try fishing below the outflow from Heron Dam. A big lake trout was recently caught below Heron Dam.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is currently open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. The North Shore campground is closed. It was stocked Nov. 4 with 2,629 rainbow trout. It also has wild brown trout. The boat ramp is open. Santa Cruz normally does not freeze over. For updated conditions, check the Bureau of Land Management website.
The Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park is open. Fishing had been good for stocked rainbow and wild brown trout. Streamflow below Eagle Nest Dam was 0.79 cubic-feet-per-second. This is really low and not beneficial for spawning brown trout. Streamflow is at 13.3 cubic-feet-per-second near the town of Cimarron.
Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton is open daily. Camping is available by reservation only. Lake Alice is a small lake and the fishing is primarily for recently-stocked rainbow trout. Lake Maloya is bigger and is capable of producing larger, holdover trout. It was stocked Dec. 27 with 1,313 catchable-size rainbow trout. Call (575).445.5607 for current conditions. Both lakes are now closed due to unsafe ice conditions.
Cochiti Lake is open. The boat ramp is open. Reservations are no longer needed to enter the lake. Camping reservations can be made at www.recreation.gov. They are not sold at the lake. The Tetilla Peak Recreation Area is closed. This lake is managed by the Corps of Engineers.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque is now being stocked. Stockings here will continue through the winter. It was stocked Jan. 4 with a total of 2,403 catchable-size rainbow trout.
The drainage ditches in the Albuquerque area are now being stocked with catchable-size rainbow trout. The Albuquerque, Albuquerque South, Belen Riverside, Corrales and Peralta drains were stocked last week.
Over in the Four Corners Navajo Lake State Park is open. Camping is by reservation only. Navajo Lake does not freeze. Kokanee salmon snagging season ended Dec. 31. The best fishing is likely from the bank for rainbow trout near the salmon runs. Trolling big minnow-imitating lures like Rapalas could produce a trophy brown trout. Boating conditions are good. Call (505).632.2278 for conditions.
The best river in the state and well-known throughout the angling world is the San Juan River below Navajo Dam. The streamflow here is 302 cubic-feet-per-second. This is well-below normal. It offers world-class fly fishing for big trout.
The fishing has been good with a variety of fly patterns in the four miles of Quality Water below the Dam. The fishing here is catch-and-release with flies and lures having a single, barbless hook. The Quality Water is stocked with small rainbow trout that grow quickly in the fertile waters. There are big, wild brown trout in the Quality Water. Some of these fish would likely shatter the state record if they could be kept and weighed.
The fishing in the Bait Water of the San Juan below the Quality Water has been fair-to-good with flies, bait and lures. A regular daily limit of five trout may be kept here. There are some big brown trout here too. It was stocked Jan. 6 with 1,748 rainbow trout.
Tiger Park Pond and Aztec Pond #1 in Aztec are now being stocked. Tiger Park Pond was stocked Dec. 8 with 824 catchable-size rainbow trout. Aztec Pond was stocked Jan. 6 with 101 catchable-size rainbow trout. There may be some bigger trout left over from earlier stockings.
Jackson Lake north of Farmington is now being stocked. It was stocked Nov. 23 with 770 rainbow trout.
Lake Farmington is being stocked again. It was stocked Nov. 9 with 1,397 rainbow trout.
Bluewater Lake State Park is open. Boating conditions are listed as good. Camping is allowed by reservation only. Lake water level is low. The trout fishing should pick up. It was stocked Nov. 15 with 2,076 rainbow trout. Tiger muskies are being caught and the fishing for them had been good using big crank baits and waterdogs. With below-zero temperatures in the area, Bluewater is likely to start freezing. It seldom has safe ice-fishing conditions. Expect traffic delays on westbound Interstate 40 at Laguna. Call (505).876.2391 for current conditions.
The Rio Grande streamflow is 429 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. This is higher than last week and slightly below normal. The fishing had been good for rainbow and brown trout. The Rio Grande at Pilar was stocked Nov. 22 with 1,498 rainbow trout. The Rio Grande Gorge above Pilar was stocked with 188 rainbow trout. Floating ice can complicate fishing here.
From the Colorado state line downstream to the Taos Junction Bridge, the limit is two-trout-per-day in the Rio Grande.
The Red River near the Red River Fish Hatchery is flowing at 36.3 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing is normally fair-to-good here for stocked rainbow trout and some wild brown trout. It was stocked Jan. 4 with 701 rainbow trout. The upper Red River is iced over.
The Red River Hatchery Pond is open. The fishing here is for anglers under 14 years-of-age and over 65 years old. The limit here is three fish per-day. It may be frozen over soon if not already.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa is open. This little lake is right off the highway between Questa and Red River. It is now mostly frozen over and ice fishing has been good. Use extreme caution when ice fishing. It was last stocked Oct. 28 with 374 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 50 rainbow trout averaging 15.5 inches in size.
Cabresto Lake near Questa is a small, high-elevation lake. It is one of the few places currently offering ice fishing. It has wild brook trout and cutthroat trout. The road into the lake is rough and snow-packed. You will need a good four-wheel drive vehicle.
The Pecos River above the town of Pecos is icing over. The streamflow at Pecos was not reported due to ice. The fishing had been fair for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. The deeper pools will hold the most trout. The stockings of trout in the winter move south to Villanueva State Park. It was stocked Jan. 5 with 374 rainbow trout. This area may also be icing over. Stockings will also be made below Sumner Dam during the winter. It was stocked Dec. 21 with 187 rainbow trout.
Monastery Lake is open to fishing. It was stocked Dec. 28 with 189 catchable-size rainbow trout. Please pick up your trash here as this is private property and should be respected. Fishing here is possible through the State Game and Fish Department’s Open Gate Program. It may ice over and is partially frozen. Ice fishing is not allowed at Monastery Lake.