By GEORGE MORSE
Los Alamos Daily Post
Sports and Outdoors
On the first day of spring here in the Espanola Valley, the apricot trees are beginning to bloom. Sunday was a raw and nasty day, with strong winds, cold temperatures and blowing snow.
Fortunately, the timing was good, as the track meets and softball games that happened Saturday didn’t have to deal with those harsh conditions.
Springtime sports and fishing trips can be something of a gamble this time of year, as the weather can be warm and sunny, then turn nasty and cold in the blink of an eye. Springtime in the Rockies can be beautiful and brutal all in the same week.
One of the good things about Sunday’s weather was it brought some much-needed snow to the higher terrain, with 10 inches falling at the Hopewell measuring station of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. We won’t be able to make up for the exceedingly dry winter we just went through, but any moisture we can get now will be most welcome.
The threat of lakes freezing over is pretty much gone now and anglers can head to their favorite fishing spots without having to worry about ice spoiling their trip. Some of the local lakes popular with Espanola and Los Alamos anglers are offering some very good fishing now.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo was stocked last week and I expect it will be stocked again soon. Right now, the fishing is fair-to- good. It should get better as the water warms up a little bit more. There are some big, holdover rainbow trout and some big, wild brown trout in Santa Cruz and this is a good time of the year to catch them.
Fenton Lake has had very good fishing and they’re catching some of the wild brown trout that inhabit this lake. If you’d like to try specifically for browns, use worms instead of the Power Bait and salmon eggs that entice the more gullible rainbow trout. Panther Martin spinners and flies have also fooled some big browns at Fenton over the years.
The fishing has been good at the nearby Seven Springs Brood Pond and this is a good place to take kids fishing, as it’s limited to young anglers 12 years of age or younger. They catch some surprisingly big fish from this pond during the season.
The fishing in the Jemez River has been fair and it’s running a little high.
The streamflows on the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam and below El Vado Dam are still low. The fishing has been fair at both locations. Sometime later this spring the streamflow beneath these Dams will be increased significantly. When this happens, the fishing below Abiquiu Dam will essentially be shut down because heavy flows in this location turn the water too murky to fish. The fishing below El Vado Dam is also more difficult, but holds up well. You can check the streamflow at both locations daily on the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website.
The streamflow in the Rio Grande is higher than it was last week, but is still at a decent level for fishing. It’s been fair in the Taos area for trout and a few northern pike. The Rio Grande was stocked March 13 with 3,950 rainbow trout.
The fishing in the Red River received a boost from a stocking of 700 rainbow trout March 14 from the nearby Red River Fish Hatchery. The Red River Hatchery Pond was also stocked March 14 with 399 rainbow trout.
The fishing at Abiquiu Lake is still slow, but they should start catching some walleye here and this time of year is when some real lunkers can be caught as big females laden with eggs should be entering shallow water. The trout should be biting soon too. You’ll catch a few smallmouth bass, but the water is still a little too cold for bass to be very active.
However, you might catch some big females moving into shallower water as it warms up. They should start catching some yellow perch too.
If you’d like to try for bass, the fishing for both smallmouth and largemouth bass has picked up at Cochiti Lake, where the water is a little warmer. You might pick up a northern pike or maybe a walleye at Cochiti.
The bank fishing for good-sized, holdover rainbow trout remains good at Heron Lake. Still no reports of any lake trout being caught.
All the lakes in Northeast New Mexico are now free of ice. The fishing at Eagle Nest Lake has been fair-to- good for rainbow trout and fair for northern pike. The lake is still closed to boating.
Maxwell Lake 13 on the Maxwell Lakes National Wildlife Refuge has been good for holdover rainbow trout. You’ll catch some good-sized fish here because this lake has plenty of food for trout.
Lake Alice and Lake Maloya in Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton were both stocked last week. Lake Alice received 251 rainbow trout March 12 and Lake Maloya was stocked March 12 with 1,250 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good at both lakes.
The fishing has been good at Clayton Lake for trout and these are likely holdover fish because it has not been stocked recently. There are also some big walleye in this lake.
Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas reports good fishing, likely from a heavy stocking of trout a little over a week ago. There were no reports from Morphy Lake State Park near Las Vegas, but it should be worth a try. There are a few holdover fish in Morphy Lake.
The fishing has been good at Monastery Lake near Pecos. The State Game and Fish Department stocked 250 rainbow trout March 15 at Monastery Lake.
There were no reports from the Pecos River, but the flow here is low enough for good fishing conditions, although the water might be a little cold. Try drifting nymphs through some of the bigger pools.
In the Four Corners area, the fishing has been good at Lake Farmington thanks to a stocking March 13 of 2,074 rainbow trout.
On the San Juan River below Navajo Dam, the fishing in the Quality Waters has ben good with a variety of fly patterns and 1/16-ounce Marabou jigs. The fishing in the Bait Waters has been fair-to- good. The river enhancement project has been completed and the are no closures of Day-Use areas.
The fishing at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque has been excellent thanks to heavy weekly stockings by the Department.
The Department stocked 120 rainbow trout averaging almost 16 inches in size March 13 at Tingley Beach. The drainage canals in the Albuquerque area are still being stocked with rainbow trout and the fishing has been good.
The winter stocking continues in the small municipal lakes throughout Southern New Mexico. There will be a Veterans Fishing Derby Sunday (3/25) at Escondida Lake near Socorro. Oasis Lake at Oasis State Park near Portales hosts an Annual Spring Trout Derby Saturday.
The fishing is picking up on the big reservoirs in Southern New Mexico. The fishing for white bass has been good at Caballo Lake and Elephant Butte Lake. The walleye fishing has been fair at both lakes.
Lakes in Southern Colorado should be getting better soon too. Echo Canyon Lake near Pagosa Springs has very good fishing for holdover trout once the ice melts off, which it should do any day now if it hasn’t already. The Colorado state- record largemouth bass was caught here and there are some good-sized yellow perch too.
Trinidad Reservoir just on the other side of Raton Pass near Trinidad should have some good fishing for rainbow trout, as should Martin Lake and Horseshoe Lake in Lathrop State Park near Walsenburg. All these lakes have a variety of other species too, but the fishing for them will pick up a little later as the water warms up.