After three back-to-back winter storms that brought cold temperatures and significant snowfall to the mountains and watersheds of Northern New Mexico last week, the numbers for our snowpack are looking good.
The numbers look particularly good when compared to this time last year during which precipitation was well below normal. Last year at this time, the overall precipitation across the state was just 22-percent of normal. This year, they are 104-percent of normal.
As good as this sounds, we will need a lot more snow to lift us out of the drought that we have been experiencing in recent years. Several years of well-above normal snowpacks will be needed to raise the water levels in our depleted reservoirs. I know this is hard to believe for residents of Los Alamos where some snowfall totals were over 30 inches, but overall we still need a lot more snow.
With the cold temperatures, many lakes in Northern New Mexico have frozen over, but the ice is still unsafe for fishing.
The exception to this is Eagle Nest Lake, which is open to ice fishing. The fishing has been very good for perch and rainbow trout. The Eagle Nest ice-fishing derby will be held Jan. 26. For more information, call (575).377.1594.
A thin layer of ice forms over 50-percent of Abiquiu Lake in the morning and melts off in the afternoon. There were no reports on the fishing. Trout fishing is likely the best bet, as the walleye and bass are likely schooled up offshore in deeper water It is still very difficult to launch boats at Abiquiu.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is low and running at 43.8 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
Remember that the limit on trout here is two-fish-per-day.
There were no reports from the Chama River below El Vado Dam, which is running very low at 24.2 cubic-feet-per- second. It has been very cold in the Chama area as low as minus-21, so dress warmly and stay dry.
Heron Lake and El Vado Lake are both frozen over and closed to fishing. Call (575).588.7470 for conditions.
Fenton Lake is frozen over and closed to fishing. Call (575).829.3630 for conditions.
Fishing in the Jemez River below Battleship Rock remains fair-to-good. Other streams in the Jemez Mountains north of Battleship Rock are frozen over.
Santa Cruz Lake is covered with a thin layer of ice and closed to fishing.
The Rio Grande is flowing at 290 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair for trout.
The Red River below Questa was stocked Dec. 31 with 700 rainbow trout. There were no reports on the fishing, but there are always fish in this area because it is heavily-stocked. It was stocked Dec. 31 with 700 rainbow trout.
No reports on Eagle Rock Lake near Questa. I still feel this lake would be worth a try if the ice is thick enough to walk out on. Use caution. Four or more inches of ice is when it is considered safe for people. Thicker ice is needed to support heavier weights.
Lake Alice and Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park are both iced over and closed to fishing. These lakes could become safe for ice fishing later this winter. Call (575).445.5607 for conditions.
Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas has some open water. There were no reports on the fishing.
The fishing in the Pecos River in the Villanueva area south of the town of Pecos has been good for stocked rainbow trout.
Over in the Four Corners area, there were no reports from Jackson Lake, Lake Farmington and Navajo Lake. Jackson Lake and Lake Farmington have received heavy stockings of trout and if not frozen could provide at least fair fishing. In years past, some anglers would troll big plugs like Rapalas at Navajo Lake in the winter and catch some big rainbow and brown trout.
The streamflow on the San Juan River below Navajo Dam was 367 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing in the Quality Waters has been fair-to-good using a variety of fly patterns. The fishing on the Bait Waters has been fair.
Cochiti Lake was mostly covered with a thin layer of ice that is unsafe for fishing.
The fishing at Tingley Beach is Albuquerque has been very good for stocked rainbow trout.
The drainage canals in the Albuquerque area are being stocked with rainbow trout. The best fishing has been on the Albuquerque South drain and the Peralta drain.
The fishing at Elephant Butte Lake has been fair for white bass, catfish and an occasional walleye.
The fishing for stocked rainbow trout in the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam has been good. It was stocked Jan. 4 with 974 rainbow trout.
Rainbow trout are being stocked in many of the municipal lakes and ponds in Southern New Mexico. Some of the better spots to try are Bataan Lake near Carlsbad, which was stocked Jan. 4 with 1,502 rainbow trout. Carlsbad Municipal Lake was stocked Jan. 4 with 1,502 rainbow trout. Bill Evans Lake near Silver City was stocked Jan. 3 with 1,630 rainbow trout.
Lake Roberts near Silver City was stocked Dec. 31 with 1,250 rainbow trout.