By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
With New Mexico’s State Parks closed for one more week due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, anglers have a somewhat limited choice of destinations where they can wet their lines.
Gov.r Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered the closure, which is scheduled to end Nov. 30. The possibility exists of the closure being extended as case numbers remained high all of last week.
To check the status of any of New Mexico’s State Parks, visit enmrd.state.nm.us/SPD.
Clayton Lake, the Charette Lakes and Laguna del Campo are now closed to anglers. Many of the smaller streams are starting to ice over, limiting the fishing in them. The Canjilon Lakes and Trout Lakes are likely starting to freeze over as well as Hopewell Lake between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla.
San Gregorio Lake in the Jemez Mountains is reportedly already frozen over. This lake is shallow and subject to winter kills.
Kokanee salmon snagging anglers will have to wait at least until after Nov. 30 to indulge in the harvest of these tasty fish. All the lakes where kokanee salmon snagging is practiced are found in state parks. Before the closure, the best snagging was at Navajo Lake State Park, where it has been fair-to-good. Last year, the snagging held up well until late in the season. If and when it reopens the snagging may still be good.
Navajo Lake does not freeze over and the trout fishing can be fair during the winter with the possibility of hooking a large trout.
Snagging at Heron Lake State Park was slow before the closure. If and when it reopens, the best fishing at Heron may be for rainbow trout from the bank. You may be fortunate enough to hook a lake trout this time of year at Heron. Call (575).588.7470 for conditions.
Snagging at El Vado Lake State Park had been slow. This Park is closed for the season.
Snagging at Eagle Nest Lake State Park had been slow, but could pick up later in the season. Should the lake reopen the fishing for rainbow trout had been good. Eagle Nest also holds some big northern pike. Remember if you catch a pike, you have to keep it. Pike cannot be returned to the water. There is also some good fishing for yellow perch.
Eagle Nest Lake will soon start to freeze over. It will then be closed until it is determined that the ice is thick enough to safely fish on. Eagle Nest offers the best ice fishing in the state. To check on the conditions at Eagle Nest call (575).377.1594.
Fenton Lake at Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains is another ice fishing destination. It should start to freeze over soon. If and when it reopens, the fishing should be good as this lake is well-stocked with rainbow trout. There are some big, wild brown trout and maybe some Rio Grande cutthroat trout from an earlier stocking. It is stocked all winter long through the ice. Call (575).829.3630 for conditions.
The fishing in the streams of the Jemez Mountains is slowing down. The best fishing will be found in the Jemez River. The streamflow in the Jemez River was 18.0 cubic-feet-per-second. The smaller streams are likely starting to ice over.
Lake Maloya and Lake Alice in Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton are two more ice fishing destinations. Lake Maloya is by far the bigger lake and is well-stocked with rainbow trout. If and when the park reopens the fishing should be good for rainbow trout. Both lakes should start to freeze over soon. To check on conditions, call (505).445.5607.
Some of the best fishing this time of year is found in the larger rivers, particularly in the areas below dams. The Four Corners area offers some of the best fishing destinations this time of year.
The best fishing is found in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam. The streamflow Monday below Navajo Dam was 408 cubic-feet-per-second. This is low and below normal. This is a world-class trout fishery and thanks to a constant flow of cold water from beneath Navajo Dam the fishing remains good all winter long.
The Quality Waters are catch-and-release only and anglers are limited to the use of artificial flies and lures with a single, barbless hook. The fishing has been good with a variety of fly patterns. The fishing in the Bait Water that begins below the Quality Water is also good and you may use any type of legal angling here with a five-fish-per-day limit.
Fishing at Lake Farmington should be good as it has been heavily-stocked with rainbow trout.
Tiger Park Pond in Aztec was stocked Nov. 18 with a total of 1,709 rainbow trout. Aztec Pond #1 was also stocked with 132 rainbow trout. The Animas River, which flows through Aztec, was stocked with 275 rainbow trout.
The fishing in the Rio Grande has been very good thanks to a low streamflow. The streamflow Tuesday was 454 cubic-feet-per-second. It has risen in recent weeks. Some big trout, both rainbows and browns, have been caught in the Pilar area and by the Taos Junction Bridge.
The fishing in the Red River below Questa has been good and is one of the better streams to fish during the winter. The streamflow Tuesday was 42.4 cubic-feet-per-second.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa may soon freeze over. It is well-stocked and ice fishing may be worth a try once the ice is thick enough.
The streamflow in the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam was 70.4 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been good for stocked rainbow trout and some big, wild brown trout. The water here is usually murky and flies with some flash help to attract trout. The limit here is two-fish-per-day.
The streamflow in the Chama River below El Vado Dam was 105 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair-to-good for rainbow trout and brown trout.
Abiquiu Lake is low and a four-wheel drive vehicle is needed to launch a boat. The fishing has been slow-to-fair for walleye. You might hook a good-sized trout at Abiquiu this time of year.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is a lower-elevation lake and usually does not freeze over. The fishing has been good for rainbow trout.
The Pecos River is running low at 22.4 cubic-feet-per-second. The Pecos River above the town of Pecos may start to ice up and the water is cold. The best fishing will be in the deeper pools. Drifting a nymph is a good tactic this time of year.
The Pecos Canyon State Park is closed, so much of the river is not open to anglers.
The Pecos River is now being stocked at Villanueva State Park. It was stocked Nov. 19 with 588 rainbow trout. Villanueva State Park is currently closed.
Monastery Lake near Pecos remains closed.
Conchas Lake State Park, Ute Lake State Park, Santa Rosa Lake state Park and Sumner Lake State Park are all closed.
Cochiti Lake is closed.
Bluewater Lake State Park is closed. The fishing had been good for tiger musky. The Lake was recently stocked with trout. It should be good if it reopens.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as is the Albuquerque BioPark.
The drainaige canals in the Albuquerque area were not stocked last week. Fishing may be fair for trout stocked two weeks ago. The Rio Grande near Albuquerque is running low. Some walleye are being caught near Albuquerque.
There was very little stocking of rainbow trout in Northern New Mexico last week. Most of the stocking of rainbow trout has moved to the small municipal lakes and ponds in Southern New Mexico. The fishing is normally good after these stockings for a few weeks until they are stocked again.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park is closed. The fishing had been good for white bass before the closure.
The Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam is very low and streamflow is just 0.82 cubic-feet=per-second. The fish are confined to the deeper pools. It was stocked Nov. 18 with 650 rainbow trout.
Caballo Lake State Park is closed.
In the Ruidoso area, Alto Lake and Grindstone Reservoir are both open. These lakes are administered by the City of Ruidoso. Currently they are open only to Lincoln County residents and property owners, as well as residents of Mescalero.
Alto Lake was stocked Nov. 19 with 300 rainbow trout. Grindstone Reservoir was stocked with 449 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good at both lakes.
The Ruidoso River was stocked Nov. 19 with 248 rainbow trout. The streamflow at Hollywood was 3.87 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing should be good for a few weeks for these stocked trout.
The Silver City area might be a good spot to plan a late fall fishing trip. Several lakes in the area were recently stocked.
Lqke Roberts was stocked Nov. 17 with 624 rainbow trout. The fishing should be at least fair for trout and may also be fair for catfish. This is a trophy bass lake and the limit on largemouth bass is two-fish-per-day. There is a 14-inch size limit for largemouth bass.
Bill Evans Lake was stocked Nov. 16 with 1,634 rainbow trout. This is another trophy-basslake with a limit of two bass-per-day 14 inches in size or longer.
Bear Canyon Reservoir was stocked Nov. 17 with 624 rainbow trout. There is fishing for catfish and crappie here as well.
The streamflow in the Gila River near Gila Hot Springs was 57.3 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing for catfish and smallmouth bass is likely slowing down. The fishing for rainbow trout, brown trout and some Gila trout could be fair in the upper Gila River and its forks.
Quemado Lake should be at least fair for rainbow trout. It sometimes freezes and offers some of the southernmost ice fishing in the United States.