By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
The cooler temperatures and rainfall of the past week have eased the stress on the trout in Northern New Mexico’s rivers and streams.
Flows are a little better and water temperatures have cooled somewhat to temperatures that trout will find more comfortable.
One great result of the increased precipitation has been the lifting of Stage 2 Fire Restrictions Wednesday (7/29) on Santa Fe National Forest Lands and Carson National Forest Lands.
Campfires and charcoal grills will now be allowed at the developed campgrounds and other National Forest Lands. There’s something about a campfire that adds warmth and ambiance to camping out. Just remember to practice social distancing when gathered around the campfire.
Overnight camping is still not allowed at any of New Mexico’s State Parks. Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains and Bluewater State Park near Grants are still closed.
The best fishing currently in the Jemez Mountains is in the area’s streams and rivers. Most are running very low and have not been stocked. They all contain wild brown trout. The only recent stocking has been in the Rio Cebolla near Fenton Lake. The fishing should be fair-to-good here. It was stocked July 22 with 293 rainbow trout.
San Gregorio Lake is open but has not been stocked recently. It may still be fair for any remaining rainbow trout from earlier stockings.
Abiquiu Lake is open for fishing 24/7. There is no overnight camping. The lake level is low and four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for the launching of boats as the ramp does not reach the water. Fishing has been fair for smallmouth bass and walleye. Night fishing for catfish should be worth a try.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is running at 249 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a medium-to-low flow and fishing could be fair. The water here is usually murky, so spinners that create a vibration should work. Flies with some flash and visibility to them might be a good choice. Baits like salmon eggs or Power Bait could also be effective and nightcrawlers have always caught fish here. There are stocked rainbow trout here and some big, wild brown trout. The limit here is two fish per-day
Streamflow in the Chama River below El Vado Dam is 198 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a low flow and makes for fairly good fishing conditions for the stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout found here. The state-record brown trout was caught here. It was stocked July 15 with 525 rainbow trout.
The State Game and Fish Department stocked 4,085 Rio Grande cutthroat trout averaging 4.7 inches in size July 15 in the Chama River below El Vado Dam. It was stocked again July 21 with another 6,061 small Rio Grande cutthroat trout.
These were “put-and-grow” stockings to try to establish a fishery for cutthroats here. These fish should grow to catchable-size by next year. Please release them if caught and give them a chance to grow.
El Vado Lake State Park and Heron Lake State Park are open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fishing from the bank has been fair-to-good for smallmouth bass, brown trout and carp at El Vado Lake. The fishing has been good for rainbow trout at Heron Lake. No reports on the fishing for kokanee salmon and for lake trout.
The Chama River above El Vado was running very low, but recent rains have dramatically improved the streamflowand it is now well-above normal at 173 cubic-feet-per-second at La Puente. The best fishing will be found below Heron Dam where cold water from beneath Heron Dam enters the Chama River. Downstream from Heron Dam any angling method is legal. Upstream from Heron Dam 2.9 miles the fishing is restricted to flies and lures with a single, barbless hook. The water here can quickly get muddy during thunderstorms, but the rain can also trigger the trout into feeding.
The streamflow in the nearby Brazos River is also above normal now and the fishing should be at least fair-to-good.
Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos was stocked recently and the fishing has been fair. This lake is limited to anglers 14 years old and younger and anglers 65 years old or older. The limit is three fish per-day and the lake is open sunrise to sunset.
The Canjilon Lakes are fishing well thanks to recent stockings of rainbow trout and Rio Grande cutthroat trout.
The fishing has been fair at the Trout Lakes near Cebolla.
The Lagunitas Lakes were stocked several weeks ago and the fishing is fair. The campground is open.
Hopewell Lake between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla has been fishing well. It was stocked July 15 with 1,750 catchable-size rainbow trout. It was stocked again July 16 with 370 rainbow trout averaging 16.4 inches in size. There was a recent stocking of Rio Grande cutthroat trout and it also contains wild brook trout. Anglers have the possibility of catching three different species of trout here.
The Rio de los Pinos Wildlife Management Area near the Colorado border is open. The fishing has been just fair for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. It is open for day-use only. Streamflows are low here making the fishing difficult. Fly fishing might be your best option. Recent rains have improved streamflow here. It was stocked July 20 with 1,801 rainbow trout.
Santa Cruz Lake Recreation Area near Chimayo is open for day use Thursday-Sunday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. There is no overnight camping. This is a lower-elevation trout lake and tends to warm up in the summer. It has not been recently stocked and the fishing could be slow as the trout have likely retreated to deeper water. The streamflow in the Santa Cruz River above the lake has increased to 31.3 cubic-feet-per-second.
The streamflow in the Rio Grande is still low at just 212 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. The fishing has been fair for rainbow trout and brown trout. Fly-fishing conditions have been good. Fishing with spinners and nightcrawlers has also been productive. Smallmouth bass are also being caught. Remember that there is a 12-inch size limit on smallmouths. The Rio Grande in the Pilar area was stocked July 22 with 1,800 rainbow trout.
The Rio Pueblo near Penasco is flowing better at 18.7 cubic-feet-per-second. The fish are concentrated in the deeper pools. The fishing has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout and some wild brown trout. It was stocked July 13 with 1,589 rainbow trout. The Sipapu Pond was stocked July 13 with 67 rainbow trout.
There is still a good flow in the Red River at 47.6 cubic-feet-per-second below Red River Fish Hatchery. It is being heavily-stocked. The Red River above Questa was stocked July 22 with 2,000 rainbow trout. The Red River below Questa was stocked with 402 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa is a small lake right off the highway and receives heavy fishing pressure. It was stocked July 21 with 499 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 54 rainbow trout averaging 15.1 inches in size. The fishing is fair-to-good as long as the stockers last.
The Shuree Ponds on the Valle Vidal near Costilla were stocked June 18 with 500 rainbow trout averaging 15.2 inches in size and stocked again July 16 with 500 rainbow trout averaging 14.7 inches in size. The Shuree Ponds opened for fishing July 1 and the fishing is limited to artificial flies and lures having a single, barbless hook. The limit is two-fish-per-day. The fishing should be good
Eagle Nest Lake State Park is open Thursday-Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fishing has been good for rainbow trout.
The fishing for northern pike has been fair-to-good. The fishing for perch should be fair-to-good with worms. Anglers trolling for trout should pick up a few kokanee salmon. Weed growth may be starting to get heavy here. Eagle Nest was stocked July 23 with 12,492 small rainbow trout averaging 4.0 inches in size. This was another “put-and-grow” stocking.
Cimarron Canyon State Park is open Thursday-Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Cimarron River was stocked July 14 with 2,425 rainbow trout. The Cimarron Gravel Pit Lakes at Maverick Campground were stocked July 15 with 355 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 45 rainbow trout averaging 14.4 inches in size. Streamflow in the Cimarron River below Eagle Nest Dam has been reduced and it is now flowing at a low 5.94 cubic-feet-per-second.
The fishing should be fair at Stubblefield Lake for largemouth bass, walleye and catfish.
Trout fishing at Maxwell Lake 13 on the Maxwell Lakes National Wildlife Refuge will be slow due to warm water temperatures. The trout here are mostly good-sized holdovers and they have moved to deeper water. There are also largemouth bass and catfish here.
Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The fishing for rainbow trout has been good at Lake Maloya and at Lake Alice. Lake Maloya was stocked July 9 with 2,998 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 400 rainbow trout averaging 15.4 inches in size.
Clayton Lake State Park is open Friday-Sunday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The trout fishing here has been slow and it has not been stocked recently. There are also some big walleye, catfish and some largemouth bass here.
The Charette Lakes between Wagon Mound and Springer have been fair for stocked rainbow trout with some holdover trout. There are also yellow perch here.
Springer Lake has been slow-to-fair for northern pike and catfish.
Coyote Creek State Park near Guadalupita is open Friday-Sunday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Coyote Creek was stocked July 23 with 801 rainbow trout. The Coyote Creek Pond was stocked with 598 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
Storrie Lake State Park is open Thursday-Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. It has not been stocked recently and the trout fishing is very slow. There are also catfish here.
The Gallinas River near Las Vegas is running a little higher at 6.25 cubic-feet-per-second. The trout are concentrated in the deeper pools. The fishing is fair. It was stocked July 14 with 1,000 rainbow trout.
Conchas Lake State Park is open Friday-Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fishing has been fair-to-good for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, white bass, bluegill and crappie.
Ute Lake State Park near Logan is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The fishing has been fair for walleye, white bass, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass.
Pecos River Canyon State Park is open Thursday-Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This area receives very heavy fishing pressure. The Pecos River was stocked July 21 with 1,500 catchable-size rainbow trout and 110 rainbow trout averaging 17.8 inches in size. It was stocked again July 23 with 1500 catchable-size rainbow trout. There are also wild brown trout here. The streamflow has risen dramatically and is now 81.1 cubic-feet-per-second.
The Mora Fork of the Pecos River was stocked July 23 with 401 rainbow trout. Holy Ghost Creek in the Pecos drainage was stocked July 21 with 401 rainbow trout.
The Pecos River at Villanueva State Park was stocked July 2 with 96 channel catfish.
The Cowles Ponds are open again and were stocked July 22 with 181 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 23 rainbow trout averaging 17.8 inches in size.
Santa Rosa Lake State Park is open Friday-Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The lake is very low and muddy. The boat ramp does not reach the water. Fishing is slow-to-fair for walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie and catfish.
Over in the Four Corners, Navajo Lake State Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The fishing should be good for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike and crappie. Trout fishing should be fair and some big brown trout have been caught trolling. This lake has the best kokanee salmon fishing in the state. They are usually caught by trolling at the proper depth. Fishing is usually best in deep water near the dam. Check with the marina to see if they have information as to what depth the kokanee are being caught at.
The streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam has decreased and is below average for this time of year at 497 cubic-feet-per-second. The trout fishing has been good with a variety of fly patterns in the Quality Water. They have been catching some big brown trout in the Quality Water. The fishing has been good in the Bait Water below the Quality Water with flies, lures and bait. The Bait Water was stocked July 21 with 4,026 catchable-size rainbow trout and stocked July 23 with 37,321 small rainbow trout in anther “put-and-grow” stocking.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque is now open. It was stocked July 2 with a total of 492 channel catfish, so the fishing should be picking up here. It has been fair for catfish and bluegill. It was stocked July 14 with 50 largemouth bass averaging 15 inches in size.
The drainage canals in the Albuquerque area are not being stocked with rainbow trout. Fishing for catfish, carp and a few largemouth bass has been fair. The Rio Grande in Albuquerque is running well below normal. Fishing has been fair for catfish and carp.
Escondida Lake near Socorro was stocked July 2 with 198 channel catfish averaging 18 inches in size. It was stocked July 14 with 40 largemouth bass averaging 15 inches in size. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park is open Thursday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The fishing has been very good for white bass. The fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and walleye has been fair. It was stocked last week with 21,026 largemouth bass fry. The fishing for catfish is good. Lake water levels are likely dropping significantly as they are letting a lot more water out than is coming in.
The Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam is flowing at a heavy 1,760 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair for catfish and white bass.
Caballo Lake State Park is open Thursday-Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fishing has been fair for white bass, walleye and catfish. It was stocked last week with a total of 46,213 largemouth bass fry.
In the Ruidoso area, the trout fishing is slowing down a bit at Alto Lake. There are also catfish and largemouth bass here.
Alto Lake was stocked July 2 with 96 channel catfish.
The trout fishing is still holding up at Grindstone Reservoir. It was stocked July 20 with 3,000 rainbow trout. There are also smallmouth bass here and the fishing for bluegill has been good.
These lakes are administered by the City of Ruidoso. They are limiting the number of cars that can be admitted each day.
Ruidoso residents are given preference.
The Ruidoso River is running a little better at 2.36 cubic-feet-per-second. Fishing should be okay in the deeper pools for stocked rainbow trout. It was stocked July 21 with 500 rainbow trout.
The Timberon Ponds were stocked July 21 with 249 rainbow trout. These little ponds are also stocked with catfish.
In the Silver City area, the trout fishing has been fair at Lake Roberts. This is a designated trophy-bass water with a daily limit of two largemouth bass 18 inches in size or longer. The fishing for catfish has been fair. The bluegill fishing has been good.
Bear Canyon Reservoir is open. The trout fishing is about over here. The best fishing is for catfish and crappie.
Bill Evans Lake is open. Trout fishing is likely over here too. This is a designated trophy-bass water with a daily limit of two largemouth bass per-day 18 inches in size or longer. The state-record largemouth bass was caught at Bill Evans Lake. There are also catfish here.
The streamflow in the Gila River is dropping. Some big flathead catfish have been caught in the lower Gila River. There are also channel catfish and smallmouth bass here. In the upper reaches and in the forks of the Gila River, the fishing is for rainbow trout, brown trout and some Gila trout.
The fishing at Quemado Lake has been fair-to-good for rainbow trout.