As I suspected, the kokanee salmon snagging at Heron Lake, which opened Nov. 11 has been slow. I believe the low water levels we’ve been experiencing at Heron Lake the last several years has had a detrimental effect on the kokanee salmon fishery there.
Snagging kokanee in previous years had literally become a social event, with lots of anglers participating and lots of salmon being caught. It would be interesting to see if they can start storing more water at Heron if the salmon fishery improves with higher water levels.
Unfortunately, it looks like we are going to have a La Nina winter where there is below normal snowfall and above normal temperatures, so raising the water level at Heron may not happen this coming spring. It’s already mid-November and the temperatures are still warm and there’s precious little snow in the mountains.
That said, the bank fishing for rainbow trout at Heron is still pretty good, so if the snagging is slow, try fishing for trout with Power Bait or salmon eggs. The fishing in the Chama River both above El Vado Lake and below El Vado Dam has been pretty good.
They caught some big brown trout from the Chama last week. The flows below El Vado Dam and Abiquiu Dam are well-above average for this time of year. That means the water levels in both lakes will be dropping. The fishing below Abiquiu Dam will remain slow until the flows are cut back.
The fishing at Abiquiu Lake has been fair-to- good, but you’ll need a boat to reach the depths that the fish are holding at. For some reason, the fish never moved into shallow water this fall and are now schooling in deeper water.
The flows in the Rio Grande are still low and clear. The fishing is still good for trout, both browns and rainbows, using whatever method you prefer. Take advantage of the warmer-than- normal November weather and give it a try.
Eagle Nest Lake continues to be good for rainbow trout and northern pike. Remember, you cannot release any northern pike you catch at Eagle Nest back into the lake. Learn how to filet northern pike and eat them. They’re good eating if properly cleaned.
The fishing in the Los Pinos River along the Colorado border has been good and the warm temperatures make it a lot more comfortable to fish there this time of year.
Remember, you have to drive into Colorado north of Tres Piedras to reach this stretch of water, then double back into New Mexico.
Lake Maloya near Raton is still good and here again the warmer-than- normal temperatures make fishing here a lot more comfortable than you’d expect this time of year. Storrie Lake near Las Vegas has been fair. The Pecos River is running low and clear and the fishing has been good.
If you’re up to a long road trip, preferably overnight, this is a good time to try and catch one of the big tiger muskies at Bluewater Lake. Use steel leaders and big spinners, crank baits or jerk baits. Fly fishermen should use large streamers. Tiger muskies are a hybrid fish resulting from cross-breeding a muskellunge with a northern pike. They are sterile and cannot breed. They were introduced into Bluewater to control populations of goldfish and suckers. They also eat a lot of trout.
The fishing at Fenton Lake picked up last week and it was recently stocked with rainbow trout averaging a foot long. Still no reports from Santa Cruz Lake, but the fishing should be good here.
The Festival of the Cranes on Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge south of Socorro began today (Nov. 14) and runs until Nov. 19. If you are a birdwatcher, this is a great place to visit. If you are a photographer, you can get some great shots of waterfowl here, as well as other species of wildlife.