By GEORGE MORSE
Sports and Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
The Fourth of July holiday weekend is coming up and this is traditionally one of the busiest weekends for camping and fishing as families seek relief from the heat.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic combined with high fire danger and dry conditions, there will be a number of restrictions in place on campers and anglers.
Overnight camping is not allowed at any of New Mexico’s state parks. Most state parks are limited to day use only.
Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains and Bluewater Lake State Park near Grants remain closed.
Most developed campgrounds on Carson National Forest and Santa Fe National Forest lands have been opened. Most are operating under a first come, first served basis. Group campgrounds remain closed. The Forest Service has begun trash pickup and restrooms are now open. Stage Two fire restrictions prohibiting campfires and charcoal grills are in effect. Fireworks are prohibited. Dispersed camping is allowed along Forest Service roads that are open. Please clean up your camping area and pick up your trash.
The Winsor Fire in the Pecos-Las Vegas District of Santa Fe National Forest has been 100-percent contained at 2.3 acres thanks to quick action by firefighters. Because of the Winsor Fire, Santa Fe National Forest has closed several roads and campgrounds to protect the public and firefighters during fire operations. The Cowles Campground, Cowles Parking Area and Cowles Ponds Fishing Site are closed. The Panchuela Campground and Trailhead are closed. The Winsor Trailhead and Holy Ghost Trailhead are closed.
Forest Service Road 121 and Forest Service Road 305 are closed.
For further information on fire conditions and closures throughout the state, visit the New Mexico Fire Information website at: https://nmfireinfo.com/.
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Wildlife Management areas are open for day use only. No overnight camping allowed yet. Morphy Lake, Monastery Lake and Rio Costilla Open Gate properties are still closed. All Department Fish Hatcheries are closed to the public.
Bureau of Land Management campgrounds and some recreation sites are closed. Santa Cruz Lake Recreation Area near Chimayo is closed.
Cochiti Lake is closed as it is located on land belonging to Cochiti Pueblo.
Streamflows in Northern New Mexico are running well below normal and with spring runoff having passed its peak weeks ago, streamflows will likely continue to fall. The exceptions will be the portions of streams where flow is dependent on what amount of water is being released from upstream dams. Streamflow in the Rio Grande at Cerro near the Colorado border is now just 86.6 cubic-feet-per-second. That is just 10-percent of normal.
Reservoir storage in New Mexico is also below normal at just 28-percent of capacity. Santa Rosa Reservoir, Abiquiu Lake, Cochiti Lake and Brantley Lake are at 10-percent or less of capacity.
Later this summer, it may be wise to limit your trout fishing to early morning hours as trout could be suffering from stress due to low water levels and high water temperatures. Even catch-and-release fishing can prove fatal to trout under these conditions. In 2018 low streamflows and high water temperatures led nearby Colorado to close fishing or at least discourage it on several rivers to protect the trout. Several New Mexico streams suffered fish kills in 2018 due to the same conditions.
After a banner year for river rafters and kayakers in 2019, this year has been very difficult on the Rio Grande. There has not been enough water to navigate some of the more popular trips like the Taos Box.
The Department of Game and Fish continues to make heavy stockings of rainbow trout at some of the most popular locations. In some cases these stockings will include bigger-than-average trout. Expect more heavy stockings this coming week in preparation for the Fourth of July weekend.
In the Jemez Mountains, streamflows are very low. The fish are concentrated in deeper pools. Streamflow in all Jemez streams is low. All these streams also contain wild brown trout. The streamflow in the Jemez River was 3.43 cubic-feet-per-second.
San Gregorio Lake still has fair fishing for stocked rainbow trout.
Abiquiu Lake is at low levels. The boat ramp is open but a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for the launching of boats. The fishing has been fair for walleye and smallmouth bass. Some crappie and trout are also being taken. There is no overnight camping, but the lake is open for fishing 24/7.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is flowing at 982 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a heavy flow and fishing will be difficult. There are stocked rainbow trout and some big wild brown trout here. The road from Abiquiu Dam is open.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam is flowing at 590 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked June 22 with 553 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair-to-good for rainbow trout and wild brown trout.
El Vado Lake State Park and Heron Lake State Park are open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The fishing from the bank has been fair-to-good for smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, brown trout and perch at El Vado Lake. The fishing has been fair-to-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 is running very low. The best fishing will be found below Heron Dam above El Vado Lake where cold water from beneath Heron Dam enters the Chama River. Streamflow in the Chama River at La Puente is a very low 16.7 cubic-feet-per-second.
Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos was stocked recently and the fishing has been good. 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 fishing at the Canjilon Lakes has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout with some brook trout in the upper lake. They were stocked June 22 with 1,105 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 210 rainbow trout averaging 15.2 inches in size. The best fishing has been reported at the middle lake.
The fishing has been fair at the Trout Lakes near Cebolla.
Hopewell Lake between Tierra Amarilla and Tres Piedras has been good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brook trout.
The Lagunitas Lakes were recently stocked and the fishing is good. The campground is open.
The Rio de los Pinos Wildlife Management Area near the Colorado border is open. It was stocked June 24 with 1,800 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. It is open for day-use only.
The streamflow in the Rio Grande is very low at just 234 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. The fishing has been good for rainbow trout and brown trout. Fly-fishing has been good. Fishing with spinners and nightcrawlers has also been productive. Some smallmouth bass are also being caught.
The Rio Pueblo near Penasco is very low at just 3.82 cubic-feet-per-second. The fish are concentrated in the deeper pools. It was stocked June 25 with 1,198 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout and some wild brown trout.
There is still a good flow in the Red River and it is being heavily-stocked. The Red River above Questa was stocked June 24 with 1,800 rainbow trout. The Red River below Questa was stocked with 399 rainbow trout. The Red River City Ponds were stocked with 630 rainbow trout. Fishing has been good.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa is a small lake is right off the highway and receives heavy fishing pressure. It was stocked June 24 with 498 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 54 rainbow trout averaging 15.2 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. The Shuree Ponds open 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 15 inches in size or longer.
Eagle Nest Lake State Park is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. 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.
Cimarron Canyon State Park is open 6 am. to 9 p.m. daily The Cimarron River was stocked June 25 with 2,424 rainbow trout. The Cimarron Gravel Pit Lakes at Maverick Campground were stocked June 25 with 355 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 45 rainbow trout averaging 14.0 inches in size. Streamflow in the Cimarron River below Eagle Nest Dam was a heavy 64.8 cubic-feet-per-second.
The fishing should be fair-to-good at Stubblefield Lake for largemouth bass, walleye and catfish.
Trout fishing at Maxwell Lake 13 on the Maxwell Lakes National Wildlife Refuge may be slowing down as the weather gets warmer. The trout here are mostly good-sized holdovers and they may 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.
Clayton Lake State Park is open daily 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-to-good for stocked rainbow trout with some holdover trout. The lower lake was stocked June 22 with 2,500 rainbow 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 daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Coyote Creek was stocked June 23 with 801 rainbow trout. The Coyote Creek Pond was stocked with 601 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
Storrie Lake State Park is open Thursday-Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It has not been stocked recently and the trout fishing is slow. There are also catfish here.
The Gallinas River near Las Vegas is running very low at just 1.56 cubic-feet-per-second. The trout are concentrated in the deeper pools. The fishing is fair. The Gallinas Ice Pond was stocked over a week ago.
Conchas Lake State Park is open Thursday-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 between the towns of Pecos and Cowles was stocked three times last week with a total of 3,000 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 96 rainbow trout averaging 16.9 inches in size. There are also wild brown trout here.
The Mora Fork of the Pecos River was stocked June 25 with 400 rainbow trout.
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 schooling at.
The streamflow in the San Juan River is low for this time of year at 558 cubic-feet-per-second. The trout fishing has been good with a variety of fly patterns in the Quality Water. The fishing has been good in the Bait Water with flies, lures and bait.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque is now open. Fishing is slow as it is no longer being stocked with rainbow trout and has yet to be stocked with channel catfish. A few holdover catfish and largemouth bass are being caught.
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.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily The fishing has been very good for white bass. The fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and walleye has been fair. The fishing for catfish is good. Lake water levels are likely dropping as they are letting a lot more water out than is coming in.
The Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam is flowing at 2,180 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair for catfish and white bass.
Caballo Lake State Park is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday The fishing has been fair for white bass and walleye.
In the Ruidoso area, the trout fishing is slowing down a bit at Alto Lake. There are also catfish and largemouth bass here. The trout fishing is still holding up at Grindstone Reservoir. There are also smallmouth bass here and the fishing for bluegill has been good.
The Ruidoso River is running low at .40 cubic-feet-per-second. Fishing should be okay in the deeper pools for stocked rainbow trout.
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. There may still be a few trout left here in deeper water. 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 is a good streamflow in the Gila River. 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 very good for rainbow trout.