By GEORGE MORSE
Los Alamos Daily Post
Sports and Outdoors
The monsoon rains have started and most of the fishing spots on Santa Fe National Forest and Carson National forest that had been closed are now open to anglers. More good news is that you can now have campfires on both National Forest lands. Campfires help to make camping out an even more enjoyable experience.
Fishing during these summer rainstorms can be good as they can quickly cool the water, raise the streamflow and trigger the fish into biting. Pack some rain gear, but do take cover if there is lightening.
The rain can have a negative effect too. I crossed the Rio Grande at San Juan Sunday and the river was the color of chocolate milk. The upper Rio Grande appears to be better but the flow here is still really low. Some streams saw a dramatic rise in their streamflows due to heavy rains. The Rio Pueblo near Penasco was measured at 55.9 cubic-feet-per-second and the Pecos River near the town of Pecos was measured at 66.2 cubic-feet-per-second Tuesday (7/17). Both these streams are flowing at much higher levels than they were last week.
Reservoir levels continue to fall. The water level in El Vado Lake has dropped to where the boat ramp and the road to it are now closed and motor boats can no longer be used. Canoes, kayaks and paddle boards are still permitted. The water level at Abiquiu Lake is dropping and boaters are warned to use caution when launching boats.
Several areas that had not been stocked for several weeks because of the Forest closures are being stocked again. They received heavy plantings of hatchery-raised rainbow trout last week. The fishing for warmwater species like bass, walleye, bluegill and catfish has been good.
Trout fishing typically slows down this time of year. One option is to fish the higher headwater streams or hike into some of the high elevation lakes in the Pecos and Wheeler Peak Wilderness Areas.
Despite the dropping water levels, the fishing at Abiquiu Lake remains pretty good for smallmouth bass, walleye and bluegill. The crappie fishing has slowed down. Night fishing for catfish should be worth a try.
The fishing in the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam remains slow because of the heavy releases of water from beneath the Dam.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam was heavily-stocked last week with a total of 2,034 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair.
As already mentioned, the water level at El Vado Lake has been dropping and the boat ramp is closed. There were no reports on how the fishing was at El Vado Lake. Likely best near the Dam in deeper water.
The Chama River above El Vado Lake was good and the streamflow is actually better closer to the town of Chama than below it. Heavy rains can muddy the Chama further downstream near La Puente. If they are releasing water from Heron Dam into the Chama River, the fishing from Heron Dam to El Vado Lake can be good because of the influx of cold water.
The fishing has been fair-to-good from the bank for rainbow trout at Heron Lake. Anglers have been catching a few kokanee salmon while trolling from boats.
Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos has been fair-to-good for trout.
There were no reports on how the fishing was at Hopewell Lake this past week. It has been heavily-stocked with rainbow trout and also has wild brook trout.
The fishing in the Rio de los Pinos was good with worms last week. Try fly-fishing in the Special Trout Waters here.
In the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos, the fishing at Fenton Lake was good using worms and corn. The Cebolla River, which flows into and out of Fenton Lake, was stocked with rainbow trout last week. Streamflows in the Jemez Mountains are very low. The Rio San Antonio was stocked July 11 with 750 rainbow trout.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond at the Seven Springs Fish Hatchery was stocked July 11 with 85 rainbow trout a foot-long. The fishing has been good.
The fishing at San Gregorio Lake was very good last week. It had been very heavily-stocked just prior to the closure of Santa Fe National Forest and the fishing should be good now that it has reopened.
The water level at Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo has dropped and it has been reported that boats can no longer be safely launched there. There were no reports on how the fishing was last week.
The Rio Grande was flowing at less than 200 cubic-feet-per second at Taos Junction Bridge. The fishing has been good for brown and rainbow trout using flies, bait and spinners. The Rio Grande was stocked July 9 in the Pilar area with 2,752 rainbow trout.
The Rio Pueblo was stocked July 10 with 1,198 rainbow trout. There were no reports as to how good the fishing was, but streamflows in the Rio Pueblo are better now.
Streamflows in the Red River have risen thanks to the recent rains. The fishing has been fair. The Red River above the town of Questa was stocked July 11 with 2,699 rainbow trout. The Red River below Questa was stocked with 700 rainbow trout. The West Fork and the East Fork of the Red River were also stocked last week.
The Red River Hatchery Pond was stocked July 9 with 700 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 80 rainbow trout averaging 14.8 inches in size.
The Fawn Lakes at the Fawn Lakes campground near the town of Red River was stocked July 12 with 630 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 68 rainbow trout averaging 14.8 inches in size.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa was stocked July 9 with 1,000 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 50 rainbow trout averaging 14.8 inches in size.
The fishing for perch at Eagle Nest Lake has been very good with worms and Power Bait. Power Bait, Platte River Specials and Panther Martins have been working for rainbow trout and an occasional kokanee salmon. The fishing has been good.
The Cimarron River below Eagle Nest Lake in Cimarron Canyon State Park and the Gravel Pit Lakes remain closed to fishing.
On the East Side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the fishing for trout at Maxwell Lake 13 has slowed down. The fishing for catfish and largemouth bass might be your better choice here. No reports from nearby Stubblefield Lake, which can get very low and practically dry up during the summer. It may be worth a try for largemouth bass, walleye and catfish.
The fishing for trout at Lake Maloya in Sugarite canyon State Park near Raton has been very good. It was stocked July 11 with 3,429 rainbow trout. There were no reports from Lake Alice, which also is in Sugarite Canyon State Park.
The fishing in the Charette Lakes near Wagon Mound has been good for rainbow trout.
The fishing has been slow at Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas.
Morphy Lake State Park near Mora will be closed for the remainder of the year due to repairs being made to the dam.
The Coyote Creek Pond at Guadalupita State Park between Mora and Black Lake was stocked July 10 with 1400 rainbow trout. The fishing in Coyote Creek has been fair for rainbow trout.
Streamflows in the Pecos River have risen thanks to recent rains and the fishing has been fair-to-good. It was stocked July 10 with 1,000 rainbow trout. The fishing at Monastery Lake near the town of Pecos has been very good. It was stocked July 10 with 1,000 rainbow trout.
Over in the Four Corners, the streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam has been fluctuating and was at 654 cubic-feet-per-second Tuesday, July 17.
The fishing has been decent in the Quality Waters with a variety of fly patterns.
The fishing in the Bait waters has been fair. The Bait Waters were stocked last week with 5,186 rainbow trout.
The fishing at Navajo Lake was good for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike and perch. The fishing for kokanee salmon was fair trolling Arnies, Kokanee Killers and Panther Martins tipped with corn.
Some big northern pike were caught last week at Cochiti Lake. The fishing has been fair-to-good for catfish. Fishing for crappie, perch, white bass and northern pike has been fair. Fishing for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass has been slow-to-fair.
The fishing for catfish at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque was slow-to-fair.
Elephant Butte Lake has been a hotspot for night-fishing for catfish and the fishing has been excellent. The fishing has been good for white bass, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and bluegill.