By GEORGE MORSE
Los Alamos Daily Post
Sports and Outdoors
We had some beneficial rain over the weekend. It was most welcome. Though still not enough to lift the closure of Santa Fe National Forest lands, the rain-cooled air was refreshing. There’s nothing quite like the smell of the land after a rainstorm. Driving from Espanola to Abiquiu Lake Saturday (6/17), I was able to make the trip with my windows open and without running the air conditioner. It was wonderful.
As already mentioned, Santa Fe National Forest land remain closed. This includes all the streams in the Jemez Mountains, Fenton Lake state Park, the Seven Springs Brood Pond and San Gregorio Lake. The Pecos River above the town of Pecos, along with Monastery Lake and the Cowles Ponds are closed in the Pecos area. Near Las Vegas, Morphy Lake State Park is closed.
US Highway 64 between Eagle Nest and Cimarron is open, but Cimarron Canyon State Park remains closed. This includes the Gravel Pit Lakes.
Carson National Forest Lands are open under Stage II Fire Restrictions. No open fires, smoking in desidnated areas only and limited use of some tools, vehicles and machinery. Please remember that fireworks are always banned on National Forest Lands.
Landowners with property adjacent to Carson National Forest Lands are concerned about the danger of wildfires under these still extreme fire conditions. Some are petitioning the United States Forest Service to close Carson National Forest.
For current conditions on Carson National Forest, including Fire Restrictions and a possible closure, call (575).758.6200 or visit their website: fs.usda.gov/carson.
Streamflows across the state remain very low except where they are controlled by releases from beneath a dam. The Chama River between El Vado Lake and Abiquiu Lake will have a good flow in it to accommodate rafters at least as long as they are able to maintain it. With the low flows in the Rio Grande, many rafting companies have moved over to the Chama River. The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam will continue to have a heavy flow to accommodate irrigation demands further downstream
Trout fishing in the larger lakes and reservoirs is slowing down as the trout retreat to deeper water seeking cooler temperatures. The fishing for warmwater fish like bass, walleye, catfish and panfish has been good.
Abiquiu Lake has good fishing for smallmouth bass and walleye. There are some big bass at Abiquiu. The crappie fishing has been good and anglers are catching some bluegill and perch. Fishing at night for catfish should be worth a try.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam was stocked June 14 with 945 rainbow trout. The fishing here will be slow as long as there are heavy releases of water from beneath the dam. Check the streamflows and if they are ever lowered significantly, the fishing could be very good here. The Chama River below El Vado Dam has a good flow. It was stocked June 14 with 626 rainbow trout and the fishing is fair.
El Vado Lake is dropping quickly with a lot more water going out than is coming in and the fishing is just fair for trout. The Chama River above El Vado is running low and clear, but rainfall can muddy this section of the river around La Puente and further downstream. It was stocked June 15 with 1,100 rainbow trout. Most stocking occurs near the village of Chama.
Heron Lake received a heavy stocking of 16,098 rainbow trout last week. The fishing has been fair-to-good trolling for a mixed bag of kokanee salmon, rainbow trout and small lake trout. Rainbow trout are being caught from the bank on Power Bait.
The Bravos River was stocked June 14 with 782 rainbow trout.
There are some big fish at Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos. It was stocked June 13 with 185 rainbow trout averaging almost 17 inches in size. It was stocked again June 14 with 90 rainbow trout averaging nearly 17 inches. In addition, another 1,686 catchable-size rainbow trout were stocked. That’s a lot of fish for this little lake.
No reports from the Trout Lakes near Cebolla. They have been stocked, so the fishing should be at least fair for stockers.
There were no reports from Hopewell Lake between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla. This lake has been stocked with some big rainbow trout and also holds wild brook trout. Try fishing the evening rise with flies.
There were no reports from the Rio de los Pinos near the Colorado border. The flows in this stream are low and clear.
Try fishing the Special Trout Waters where the fishing is limited to flies and lures with a single, barbless hook. The limit in this section is two trout over 12 inches per day.
There were no reports from Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo. It gets hot at this lake in the summer and the fishing is probably best early in the morning and late in the evening.
The flows in the Rio Grande remain very low. The fishing has been good for brown and rainbow trout. Conditions for fly-fishing are excellent. The Rio Grande is flowing at less than 90-percent of normal, with just 94 cubic-feet-per-second at Cerro where the Rio Grande enters New Mexico from Colorado.
The Rio Pueblo was stocked June 14 with 1,201 rainbow trout. The flow in this stream is very low and the trout are likely concentrated in deep pools. The Sipapu Pond was stocked June 14 with 75 trout, including nine trout over 15 inches in size.
The Red River is flowing low and fishing has been good for trout with pretty much whatever you wish to use. Trout are being caught on flies, bait and lures.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa was stocked June 11 with 546 catchable-size rainbow trout. It was also stocked with 54 rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size. The fishing has been good.
The Fawn Lakes, which are two small ponds located near the Fawn Lakes Campground along the Red River, were stocked June 11 with 432 catchable-size rainbow trout and 68 rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size. The Fawn Lakes Campground is located about three miles west of the town of Red River.
In that same area, the Red River was stocked with 700 rainbow trout above the town of Questa.
The fishing for perch at Eagle Nest Lake has been very good from the bank using worms. The fishing from the bank with Power Bait and trolling Panther Martin spinners has been fair-to-good for rainbow trout.
The trout fishing at Maxwell Lake 13 is fair-to-good. There are other species of fish here but few fishermen try for them, preferring to target trout. The fishing might be good for bass and perch.
The trout fishing has been excellent early and late in the day for rainbow trout at Lake Maloya on Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton. It was stocked June 12 with 2,599 catchable-sizes rainbow trout and with 400 rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size. Another 245 rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size were stocked June 15 at Lake Maloya.
Lake Alice, also on Sugarite Canyon State Park, was stocked with 499 rainbow trout and the fishing has been good.
The lower Charette Lake was stocked June 13 with 2,500 rainbow trout and the fishing has been good. Still no reports on how the fishing for perch has been here, but it could be good.
Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas has been fair-to-good for trout. I still think anglers should try fishing at night here for big catfish.
Over in the Four Corners, the streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam was 494 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been very good using a variety of fly patterns in the Quality Waters. The Bait Waters were stocked June 13 with 1,965 rainbow trout and the fishing has been good.
The fishing for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass has been good at Navajo Lake. The fishing has been good for perch and fair for northern pike.
The fishing at Cochiti Lake has been fair for white bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and small crappie.
If you’d like to try to catch a big tiger muskie, the fishing has been good for these toothy critters at Bluewater Lake near Grants. Use big crank baits, jerk baits and inline spinners. Be sure to use a steel leader. Some are even taken on pieces of hot dog.
The fishing at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque has been fair-to-good for catfish, which are stocked here during the summer.
Elephant Butte Lake is shrinking in size. There is very little water coming in and they are releasing over 2,000 cubic-feet-per-second beneath Elephant Butte Dam. The fishing is still good for white bass. It’s been fair for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Fishing is slow-to-fair for walleye and good for catfish.
The fishing for rainbow trout and Gila trout has been fair at Lake Roberts near Silver City. There are also catfish and some big largemouth bass in this lake.