By GEORGE MORSE
Los Alamos Daily Post
The weather turned sharply colder last week and heavy snows in the mountains have probably shut down the fishing in the high country for the rest of the fall and winter. It looks like we will have a winter this year.
The moisture we are receiving now will help the plants, trees and grasses go into the winter in good shape and be able to grow well in the early spring. It will help ease the wildfire danger as well. The ski areas are happy because not only are they receiving snowfall, the cold temperatures will allow them to make snow. It looks like there will be no delayed openings to the ski season this year. Good news for the local economies.
In weather like this, early morning fishing will mean ice forming in the guides of your fishing rod and probably thin ice forming along the shorelines of lakes. This will usually melt after a few hours of sunshine. Lakes like Eagle Nest may freeze over some time in December, which they did not do last year.
Streamflows are still low and lakes are still very low. A good snowpack and a good spring runoff will help raise the water levels. Much of the stocking of rainbow trout now shifts to Southern New Mexico.
There’s still some good fishing to do. Be sure to dress warmly.
The fishing at Abiquiu Lake will be slow. The bass and walleye will retreat to deeper water where they will school up and spend the winter. The main fishing will be for trout. Abiquiu does not fish that well in the winter. It was stocked Nov. 8 with22,160 small rainbow trout.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam, however, is a good spot to try during the winter. The streamflow below the Dam is lowered now. This area is well-stocked with rainbow trout and has some big brown trout.
The streamflow below El Vado Dam is also low and this is another good spot to try. It is also well-stocked and has some big brown trout.
El Vado Lake is very low and the fishing is slow. There have been very few kokanee salmon snagged here.
The kokanee salmon snagging at Heron Lake has been slow. The fishing for rainbow trout from the bank with Power Bait and roe sacks has been slow-to-fair. Every now and then this time of the year someone hooks one of the big lake trout that inhabit Heron.
The Canjilon Lakes and the Trout Lakes are likely starting to ice over and the roads to them getting snow-packed and icy.
The same could be said of Hopewell Lake between Tierra Amarilla and Tres Piedras. There were no reports from any of these locations.
The Rio de los Pinos may still be a good spot to try but it will soon become too cold. Right now, the brown trout could still be spawning and you might catch a nice one.
In the Jemez Mountains, the fishing has been fair-to-good at Fenton Lake for rainbow trout and this lake has some big brown trout. Fenton will ice over later this winter but ice-fishing is normally not allowed here.
The fishing has been reported as Fair-to-goodin the Jemez River and its East Fork. There were no reports on the other streams in the Jemez area. They are likely getting very cold and the trout slowing down. Fishing deep and slow with nymphs couldbe productive for fly fishermen.
The fishing is slow at Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo. This lake is very low.
The Rio Pueblo near Penasco has been slow-to-fair. The deepest pools are the best places to try this time of year.
The Rio Grande is running low for this time of year and the fishing is still good, especially near where rainbow trout are stocked. Fly fisherman like to use large streamers this time of year to try and hook a northern pike.
The Red River near Questa has been fair for trout and there are always plenty of fish here thanks to stockings from the nearby Red River Fish Hatchery. It was stocked Nov. 9 with 701 rainbow trout. The Red River Hatchery Pond has been good for stocked trout.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa was stocked Nov. 9 with 501 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good.
Eagle Nest Lake has been very good for rainbow trout, some of which are good-sized. The fishing has been good for perch. The Kokanee salmon snagging has been slow, but good reports have been coming from anglers snagging where Cieneguilla Creek enters the lake. Salmon are attracted to flowing water, so this makes sense. Eagle Nest was stocked Nov. 7 with 27,037 small rainbow trout.
The fishing has been fair-to-good in the Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park. There were no reports from the Gravel Pit Lakes.
Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton has been fair-to-good for trout. Lake Maloya normally has an ice-fishing season, although it did not last year. It may this year. It will normally start icing over in December.
Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas has been fair for stocked trout.
The Pecos River near the town of Pecos has been good for brown and rainbow trout. The Pecos River at Villanueva State Park south of the town of Pecos was stocked Nov. 8 with 500 rainbow trout.
Monastery Lake near Pecos was stocked Nov. 8 with 251 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good.
Over in the Four Corners, the kokanee salmon snagging at Navajo Lake continues to be very good. The fishing for smallmouth bass and northern pike has been fair. This time of year some anglers like to troll crank baits for big brown and rainbow trout. There’s a picture of a 28-inch trout that was recently caught there on the Stte Game and Fish Department’s weekly fishing report. It says it’s a rainbow trout but it sure looks like a brown trout to me. Navajo Lake was stocked with a total of 45,128 small rainbow trout last week.
The streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam is about 300 cubic-feet-per-second,which is low. The fishing in the Quality Water has been good with a variety of fly patterns. The fishing in the Bait Waters has been good.
There were no reports from Cochiti Lake.
The fishing at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque has been very good for stocked trout.
Elephant Butte Reservoir is very low. The fishing for white bass, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass has been slow-to-fair. The fishing has been very good for catfish. They’ve been catching some big blue catfish and flathead catfish in the 40-50-pound class recently at Elephant Butte.
The Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam was stocked Nov. 6 with 1,197 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair for catfish. The fish are confined to deep pools as they are releasing practically no water from Elephant Butte Lake.