By GEORGE MORSE
Los Alamos Daily Post
Sports and Outdoors
Anglers have some good news to celebrate this week. Santa Fe National Forest lifted its closure July 9 and all outdoor activities like fishing, hiking and camping are now permitted again on Santa Fe National Forest lands. The closure had been enacted June 1 because of the extreme fire conditions due to the hot and dry weather. Recent rainfall and the start of the summer monsoon season prompted the reopening of Santa Fe National Forest.
Carson National Forest, which had closed its lands June 27 due to the extreme fire danger, reopened its lands to all recreational activities July 10 due to the recent rains. Stage II Fire Restrictions, which prohibits open fires, are in effect on Carson National Forest lands.
During the closures, the State Game and Fish Department did not stock rainbow trout in those waters included in the closure. Heavier stockings of trout in the waters that were open took place during the closure. With the reopening of the National Forest lands, the Department will resume the stocking of rainbow trout in those waters that had been closed.
To find out which waters were stocked during the remainder of this coming week, check the Department’s website (wildlife.state.nm.us/fishing} Friday (7/13) for the weekly stocking report.
Streamflows still remain well below normal despite the recent rains and water levels in several lakes are dropping. Low water and warm water temperatures are still stressing the trout, particularly in streams and rivers. Fishing for warmwater species has been very good at several reservoirs and is a good alternative to fishing for trout.
Los Alamos–based anglers can now once again fish the waters in the Jemez Mountains, which were on Santa Fe National Forest lands. This includes the Seven Springs Brood Pond and San Gregorio Lake. The fishing has been good at the Brood pond. Fenton Lake State Park is scheduled to reopen Wednesday (7/11).
The streams and rivers in the Jemez Mountains also are once again open for fishing. Several of these waters should receive stockings of rainbow trout this week.
The fishing for crappie at Abiquiu Lake is currently rated as excellent and it is considered a hotspot for this species. The fishing for walleye has been very good, too. The fishing for smallmouth bass is just fair, but should pick up when the bass are finished spawning. Bluegill and catfish should also be biting at Abiquiu. Try fishing at night for catfish.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam remains slow due to heavy releases of water from beneath the Dam. The Chama River below El Vado Dam was stocked July 2 with 535 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair. The water level in El Vado Lake is dropping, but the fishing remains good for smallmouth bass and rainbow trout in the deeper water near the dam. The streamflow in the Chama River above El Vado Lake is very low. This area was stocked July 2 with 1,070 rainbow trout. Most of the stocking takes place near or in the town of Chama.
Heron Lake was heavily-stocked during the closures and the fishing has been fair-to-good for rainbow trout. It was stocked July 5 with 1,250 rainbow trout. Anglers are catching some kokanee salmon trolling Arnies, Panther Martins and Z-Rays. The fishing at Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos has been fair-to-good. This lake closes at sunset. The Trout Lakes near Cebolla reopened for fishing July 10. Hopewell Lake between Tierra Amarilla and Tres Piedras reopened for fishing July 10.
The Rio de los Pinos reopened for fishing July 10. This river hugs the New Mexico/Colorado border and is accessed by driving into Colorado and then driving back into New Mexico. Anglers should find some good conditions for fly fishing here. The water level in Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo has dropped to where boats can no longer be safely launched. The fishing has been very slow. The streamflow in the Rio Grande continues to be well below normal. The fishing has been fair-to-good for trout.
The portions of the Red River, including the Fawn Lakes, on Carson National Forest lands have reopened to fishing. The fishing from the Red River Fish Hatchery to the confluence with the Rio Grande has been fair-to-good. The area above Questa was stocked July 2 with 1,801 rainbow trout.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa was stocked July 2 with 500 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 27 rainbow trout averaging 15 inches in length. The fishing has been good. The Shuree Ponds on the Valle Vidal reopened for fishing July 10. These Ponds had been stocked with some good-sized trout just prior to closing, so the fishing could be very good here. Eagle Nest Lake received very heavy stockings of rainbow trout during the Forest closures and the fishing has been very good for trout. The perch fishing has been good and they are catching a few northern pike. The Cimarron River below Eagle Nest Dam and the Gravel Pit Lakes remain closed to anglers.
There were no reports from Maxwell Lake 13. The fishing for trout and catfish had been good. Trout fishing may slow down as the water warms up, but the fishing for catfish should still be good.
Lake Maloya in Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton was stocked July 3 with 3,099 catchable-size rainbow trout and 400 rainbow trout averaging 15 inches in length. The fishing has been very good.
The fishing at the Charette Lakes has been good for trout and some of them have been good-sized. There are yellow perch here but no reports on how the fishing is for them.
Morphy Lake State Park near Mora will now remain closed for the rest of the year as work has begun on the dam. The fishing in Coyote Creek at Guadalupita State Park has been fair-to-good.
The fishing for trout at Storrie Lake State Park has been fair-to-good. A 16-pound catfish was caught here last week. The Pecos River above the town of Pecos is now open for fishing. Monastery Lake near the town of Pecos and the Cowles Ponds are also once again open for fishing. The fishing should be good after the month-long closure.
Over in the Four Corners, the streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam is 1,020 cubic-feet-per-second The fishing in the Quality waters has been fair-to-good with a variety of fly patterns. Nymph patterns are currently more effective as dry-fly fishing has been sporadic. The fishing in the Bait Waters, which have been heavily-stocked recently, has been fair-to-good.
The fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and northern pike has been good at Navajo Lake. The fishing for perch has been fair-to-good. Anglers are picking up a few kokanee salmon trolling.
The fishing at Cochiti Lake has been has been fair-to-good for catfish. It has been fair for crappie, perch, white bass and northern pike. Anglers are catching some smallmouth and largemouth bass.
Bluewater Lake near Grants continues to produce some big tiger muskies. Due to heavy stockings, there is a high density of these big fish at Bluewater. There is a limit of one fish and a 40-inch size limit on tiger muskies.
The fishing at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque has been slow-to-fair for stocked catish.
The water level in Elephant Butte Lake continues to drop, but the fishing remains good. Walleye fishing picked up last week. The fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, bluegill and catfish has been good.
The National Forest closures may have been lifted and the National Forest now opened, but fire danger remains high. Enjoy our great outdoors but please continue to be careful with fire. Don’t let recent rains lull you into a false sense of security.