The weather has turned sharply colder, especially in Eastern New Mexico. Anglers should be aware that several waters in the northeast are now closed to angling for the winter.
Maxwell Lake 13, the Charette Lakes and Clayton Lake are closed to protect migrating waterfowl.
Birdwatchers will enjoy these locations. Waterfowl are not the only birds that may be viewed. Raptors, including bald eagles, follow these flocks of waterfowl as they migrate south.
A nice road trip or perhaps overnight stay this time of year is a trip to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge south of Socorro. This Refuge attracts large flocks of waterfowl, including thousands of snow geese and sandhill cranes. The best times to see them are early in the morning when the birds takeoff in large numbers to feed in the surrounding fields. The other time is in the evening when the birds return from feeding to spend the night on the Refuge.
The annual celebration “Festival of the Cranes” will be held Nov. 20-Nov. 23 at the Refuge.
The Refuge is near the small town of San Antonio. This town is famous for the rivalry between the Buckhorn Café and the Owl Bar & Cafe as to who serves the best green chile cheeseburger.
This time of the year the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish stocks many of the smaller lakes in Southern New Mexico with rainbow trout. If you’d like to wet a line in the Socorro area, Escondida Lake just north of Socorro was stocked Nov. 5 with 800 rainbow trout.
The reports on the kokanee salmon snagging at Heron Lake have been mixed with some anglers reporting good success and others not so much. It is reported as being fair-to-good near the dam. Fishing with bait like salmon eggs and Power Bait for rainbow trout and maybe a few lake trout can sometimes be good during the snagging season. Some anglers like to remove the eggs from salmon that have been snagged and use that as bait.
The kokanee salmon snagging at Navajo Lake is still reported as good near the dam.
The streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam was 320 cubic-feet-per-second. The streamflow is scheduled to be increased to 500 cubic-feet-per-second Thursday. The low flow has provided good conditions for dry fly-fishing, which has been very good in both the Quality Water and the Bait Water.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo continues to be a good spot to try to catch some fish for dinner. It is heavily-stocked and also has a few wild brown trout. It was stocked Nov.6 with 3,553 rainbow trout. There appears to be a few big trout still left over from an earlier stocking of 20-inch rainbow trout. This lake is at lower elevation and seldom freezes.
The Rio Grande continues to be in prime fall-fishing condition, with flows low and below normal. The water is clear and the fly-fishing has been excellent. It is stocked in the Pilar area and at the John Dunn Bridge north of Taos.
They are releasing a lot of water from El Vado Lake and from Abiquiu Lake into the Chama River. Both locations had streamflows of over 900 cubic-feet-per-second. This is way above normal for this time of year. In addition, they are not releasing any water from Elephant Butte Lake, so it sure looks like they’re taking water from Northern New Mexico to fill up Elephant Butte Lake.
The fishing below El Vado is reported as good and the fishing below Abiquiu is reported as fair. Both locations would offer much better fishing if the streamflows are lowered. There have been no reports from either El Vado Lake or Abiquiu Lake. The water level is low at Abiquiu and a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended to launch boats here.
Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos is closed for the season. It will reopen to fishing May 1, 2020. The small high elevation lakes like Canjilon Lakes, Lagunitas Lakes and Trout Lakes are starting to freeze over.
Hopewell Lake is starting to freeze as well.
Fenton Lake in the Jemez Mountains still has good fishing and they are still catching some of the big rainbow trout from earlier stockings. They are also catching some of the recently-stocked Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Anglers need to be aware that only two cutthroat trout may be kept per day as part of the daily trout limit of five fish per day. It was stocked Nov. 6 with 996 rainbow trout.
The fishing is good at the Seven Springs Brood Pond near the Seven Springs Fish Hatchery. The fishing here is for anglers under 12 years old.
The fly-fishing for brown trout remains good in the upper portions of the Jemez area streams. The fishing has been good in the Jemez River below Battleship Rock. The Jemez River was stocked Nov. 5 with 998 rainbow trout.
Over in the Questa area, the fishing has been good at Eagle Rock Lake. The fishing in the Red River below Questa has been good. It was stocked Nov. 5 with 700 rainbow trout.
There were finally some reports on the kokanee salmon snagging at Eagle Nest lake. It was reported as fair-to-good on the west side of the lake near the dock and at the south end of the lake near the Cieneguilla Day Use area. The fishing for rainbow trout was good using Power Bait.
There were no reports on the fishing in the Cimarron River below Eagle Nest Lake in the Cimarron Canyon State Park.
There might still be some late-season spawning brown trout activity here.
There were no reports from Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton. It has been very cold here and ice may be starting to form. You might want to call (575).445.5607 to check on conditions.
No reports from Storrie Lake near Las Vegas. This lake needs a stocking to improve the fishing here.
The fishing is still good in the Pecos River between Pecos and Cowles, but the water is getting cold. The Department is now stocking rainbow trout at Villanueva State Park below Interstate 25. It was stocked Nov. 6 with 500 rainbow trout.
The fishing is good at Monastery Lake near Pecos. It was stocked Nov. 6 with 264 rainbow trout.
The fishing was good at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque. It was stocked Nov. 5 with 2,398 rainbow trout. The Department is now stocking the drainage ditches in the Albuquerque area with rainbow trout.
The fishing has been slow at Elephant Butte Lake with just a few white bass being caught. The Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam was stocked Nov. 5 with 627 rainbow trout. In the Hatch area, the fishing for catfish was reported as good in the Rio Grande.
Alto Lake and Grindstone Reservoir near Ruidoso both have had good fishing for rainbow trout. Both are heavily-stocked with trout from the Lisboa Springs Fish Hatchery. Grindstone was stocked Nov. 5 with 1,499 rainbow trout. Alto was stocked Nov. 7 with 1,001 rainbow trout. Both these lakes offer good trout fishing all winter long as they seldom freeze over.
Bear Canyon Lake near Silver City was stocked Nov. 4 with 1,250 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good.
Lake Roberts near Silver City has had good fishing for rainbow trout. There are also Gila trout in this lake. It was stocked Nov. 4 with 1,250 rainbow trout. Bill Evans Lake near Silver City has had good fishing for stocked rainbow trout. Both these lakes have some big largemouth bass. They are classified as trophy bass lakes. The limit on bass is two fish per day 18 inches in length or longer.