By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
The 2021-2022 fishing season ends March 31 and anglers will need to purchase a new fishing license for the 2022-2023 season.
Ice fishing has all but ended for the season. The deteriorating ice has created unsafe conditions on most lakes with the exception of small, high-elevation lakes.
Temperatures are warming up even more in Southern New Mexico, climbing into the 70s and even the 80s. The stocking of rainbow trout will soon end here. That will be just in time for the fishing for warm water gamefish like largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass and walleye to improve thanks to the warmer water temperatures. A trip to Elephant Butte Lake and other large lakes could be a good idea.
It is a good idea to keep tabs on the conditions in the lakes in Northern New Mexico to see if the ice has melted and there is water open for bank fishing. Some of the biggest trout that will be caught all year are hooked at this time.
Eagle Nest Lake at Eagle Nest State Park is now closed to anglers. For more information and current conditions, call (575).377.1594.
Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton is now closed to anglers. Lake Alice, also at Sugarite State Park, was never opened to ice fishing this season. There should be open water here very soon. Call (575).445.5607 for current conditions.
Morphy Lake State Park opened March 1 for fishing. There is open water on Morphy Lake now. Open-water fishing should be good for holdover rainbow trout. Call (575).387.2328 for current conditions.
Clayton Lake State Park opened March 1 for fishing. There should be open water now. It is stocked with rainbow trout and has big walleye. Call (575).374.8808 for current conditions.
Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains is still closed to fishing due to thin ice. Camping is allowed by reservation only. Once the ice melts off at Fenton, the fishing should be very good. Call (575).829.3630 for current conditions at Fenton.
Heron Lake State Park is now closed to ice fishing due to deteriorating ice conditions. The boat ramps are closed. The lake level is still low.
Call (575).588.7470 for conditions at both Heron Lake and El Vado Lake.
El Vado Lake has rainbow trout, brown trout, perch and small smallmouth bass. Boating is closed. Water level is low. El Vado Lake has thin ice. It is closed to ice fishing.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo has open water and fishing has been good. It was stocked March 3 with 3,306 rainbow trout. The lake is open Thursday-Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. It may close during a snow or freezing rain weather event.
For updated conditions, check the Bureau of Land Management website at: blm.gov/visit/santa-cruz-lake-recreation-area or call (505).351.1438.
The Rio Cebolla, which flows into and out of Fenton Lake, was stocked March 1 with 309 rainbow trout.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond, also known as the Kid’s Pond, is open. It was stocked March 9 with 512 rainbow trout.
There are a few big, wild brown trout here. Fishing is for anglers 11 years of age and younger. The limit is three fish-per- day. This pond is just north of Fenton Lake.
The trout fishing has been fair-to-good in the Jemez River. The streamflow is now 23 cubic-feet-per-second. This is slightly lower than last week. The fish are concentrated in deeper pools. It was stocked Feb. 15 with 1,560 rainbow trout. Headwater tributaries of the Jemez River are iced up.
Abiquiu Lake is open, including the boat ramp and picnic areas. Camping is closed. It is managed by the Corps of Engineers. Reservations for later in the year may be made at www.reservation.gov. The water level is low at Abiquiu. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for launching boats. The fishing has been slow for walleye and smallmouth bass. Trout fishing could pick up. There are some good-sized trout in Abiquiu. Call 505.685.4371 for more information.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is flowing at 49 cubic-feet-per-second. This is really low. The water here is murky.
It was stocked March 4 with 536 rainbow trout averaging 12.7 inches in length. The fishing is at least fair-to-good for stocked and holdover rainbow trout. There are a few big, wild brown trout here. Fly Fishermen should use flies with a little flash to them. The limit here is two-fish-per-day.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam is flowing at 97.3 cubic-feet-per-second. This is about the same as last week. The fishing has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. You may hook a cutthroat trout here. The state-record brown trout was caught here.
Above El Vado Lake, the streamflow in the Chama at La Puente was not measured due to ice. Try fishing below the outflow from Heron Dam. A big lake trout was recently caught below Heron Dam.
Hopewell Lake between Tierra Amarilla and Tres Piedras is frozen over and the gate is locked. Anglers may park and hike to the lake. Ice fishing has been good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brook trout.
The Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park is open. Streamflow below Eagle Nest Dam was 0.79 cubic-feet-per-second, which is very low. The stream is still icy and fishing is difficult. Streamflow near the town of Cimarron was not measured due to ice.
The Charete Lakes between Wagon Mound and Springer have good fishing for good-sized, holdover rainbow trout.
Storrie Lake State Park is open and some trout are being caught from the bank. It was stocked Feb. 28 with 2,778 rainbow trout. Call (505).425.7278 for current conditions.
Cochiti Lake is open. The boat ramp is open. Reservations are no longer needed to enter the lake. Camping reservations can be made at www.recreation.gov. They are not sold at the lake. The best fishing is for catfish. The Tetilla Peak Recreation Area is closed. This lake is managed by the Corps of Engineers.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque is now being stocked. Stockings here will continue through the winter. It was stocked twice last week with a total of 2,279 catchable-size rainbow trout.
The drainage ditches in the Albuquerque area are now being stocked with catchable-size rainbow trout. The Albuquerque, Albuquerque South, Belen Riverside, Bernalillo, Corrales Riverside and Peralta drains were stocked last week.
Over in the Four Corners Navajo Lake State Park is open. Camping is by reservation only. Navajo Lake does not freeze.
The best fishing is likely from the bank for rainbow trout near the salmon runs. Trolling minnow-imitating lures like Rapalas could produce a trophy brown trout. Fishing for bass is slow. It was stocked March 9 with 8,036 sub-catchable rainbow trout. Boating conditions are good. Call (505).632.2278 for conditions.
The best river in the state and well-known throughout the angling world is the San Juan River below Navajo Dam. The streamflow here is 392 cubic-feet-per-second. This is slightly higher than last week and less than 50-percent of normal. It offers world-class fly fishing for big trout.
The fishing has been good with a variety of fly patterns in the four miles of Quality Water below the Dam. The fishing here is catch-and-release with flies and lures having a single, barbless hook. The Quality Water were stocked several times two weeks ago with a total of 70,921 small, sub-catchable rainbow trout that grow quickly in the fertile waters.
There are big, wild brown trout in the Quality Water. Some of these fish would likely shatter the state record if they could be kept and weighed.
The fishing in the Bait Water of the San Juan below the Quality Water has been fair-to-good with flies, bait and lures. A regular daily limit of five trout may be kept here. There are some big brown trout here too. It was stocked March 8 with 1,230 rainbow trout.
Tiger Park Pond and Aztec Pond #1 in Aztec are now being stocked. Tiger Park Pond was stocked March 1 with 887 catchable-size rainbow trout. Aztec Pond was stocked March 1 with 102 catchable-size rainbow trout. There may be some bigger trout left over from earlier stockings.
Lake Farmington has been stocked again. On March 8, it was stocked with 1,170 rainbow trout. This lake is managed by the City of Farmington.
Bluewater Lake State Park is open. Camping is allowed by reservation only. Lake water level is low. The Prewitt Side is open. The trout fishing should pick up. It was stocked Feb. 8 with 6,296 rainbow trout. Tiger muskies are being caught and the fishing for them is slow using big crank baits and waterdogs. Boating is closed. Expect traffic delays on westbound Interstate 40 at Laguna. Call (505).876.2391 for current conditions.
The Rio Grande streamflow is 471 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. This is lower than last week. The fishing had been fair for rainbow and brown trout. The Rio Grande at Pilar was stocked Feb. 14 with 1,999 rainbow trout. The Rio Grande above Pilar in the Gorge was stocked with 250 rainbow trout. Floating ice can complicate fishing here.
From the Colorado state line downstream to the Taos Junction Bridge, the limit is two-trout-per-day in the Rio Grande.
The Red River near the Red River Fish Hatchery is flowing at 40.5 cubic-feet-per-second. This is higher than last week.
The fishing is normally fair-to-good here for stocked rainbow trout and some wild brown trout. It was stocked Feb. 1 with 701 rainbow trout. The upper Red River is iced over.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa is open. This little lake is right off the highway between Questa and Red River. It was mostly frozen over and ice fishing had been good. Use extreme caution now when ice fishing because the ice here is deteriorating. It was last stocked Oct. 28 with 374 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 50 rainbow trout averaging 15.5 inches in size.
Cabresto Lake near Questa is a small, high-elevation lake open for ice fishing. It has wild brook trout and cutthroat trout.
The road into the lake is rough and snow-packed. You will need a good four-wheel drive vehicle.
The Pecos River above the town of Pecos is icing over and tough to fish. The streamflow at Pecos was not reported due to ice. The fishing had been fair for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. The deeper pools will hold the most trout. Fishing here should improve as the ice melts and creates more open water.
The stockings of trout in the winter on the Pecos move south to Villanueva State Park. It was stocked March 2 with 302 rainbow trout. From Villanueva to Interstate 40, the Pecos was stocked Feb. 28 with 149 rainbow trout. Stockings will also be made below Sumner Dam during the winter. It was stocked March 8 with 225 rainbow trout. Streamflow below Sumner Dam was 50.5 cubic-feet-per-second.
Monastery Lake had iced over. Ice fishing is not allowed at Monastery Lake. It was last stocked Dec. 28 with 189 catchable-size rainbow trout. The ice may start breaking up here. Please pick up your trash here as this is private property and should be respected. Fishing here is possible through the State Game and Fish Department’s Open Gate Program. Call Lisboa Springs Fish Hatchery (505).757.3630 for conditions at Monastery Lake and the Pecos River.