By GEORGE MORSE
Los Alamos Daily Post
The weather turned sharply cooler this past weekend and there was some good precipitation in the form of rain at lower elevations and snow higher up in the mountains.
This should improve the fishing conditions in our lakes and trout should be actively cruising the shallows looking to feed heavily in preparation for winter. The moisture also will benefit the trout in our rivers and streams, raising streamflow levels and lowering water temperatures.
A good example would be the Pecos River from the town of Pecos upstream to Cowles. There were reports of fish dieoffs here a couple of weeks ago. With the cooler weather, water temperatures came down and the State Department of Game and Fish resumed stocking in this area. There were two stockings in this section of the Pecos last week totaling 1,501 rainbow trout.
This time of year the Department also stocks a lot of small rainbow trout usually less than six inches in length in some of the larger reservoirs. These are what are called “put-and-grow” stockings. The purpose is to allow these smaller trout to feed in the lake and hopefully reach catchable sizes next year.
Abiquiu Lake received 44,315 small rainbow trout Oct. 11 and Navajo Lake near Farmington was stocked with 20,960 small rainbow trout.
The weather appears to have benefitted elk hunters, increasing the rut activity and allowing hunters to call in and kill some nice bull elk. There were several pictures posted on social media of big bulls harvested over the weekend.
Fishing pressure drops off noticeably in the fall and many locations have had no reports. Do not let this deter you from fishing some of your favorite fishing spots. All it means is that fewer anglers are out fishing. A lot of them swap their fishing rods for hunting rifles this time of year.
One popular fall-fishing activity that appears to have really suffered from the drought conditions we have been experiencing was kokanee-salmon snagging.
This used to draw crowds of anglers to places like Heron Lake, Navajo Lake and El Vado Lake. There have been no good reports on kokanee-salmon snagging so far this season.
One body of water local Los Alamos anglers should possibly try simply because it’s convenient is Los Alamos Reservoir. It was stocked in the spring. If the trout survived the summer, they should be starting to bite again with the cooler weather. They’ve probably grown a little bit.
Abiquiu Lake remains low and caution must be used when launching boats. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
Anglers were catching a few walleye. The trout fishing should pick up here with the cooler weather. Abiquiu Lake was stocked last week with a total of 18,383 small channel catfish.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam was flowing at 274 cubic-feet-per-second Tuesday. This is a decent flow for fishing and the fishing has been rated at fair-to-good. There have been some stockings of rainbow trout here recently. Most of this stocking takes place a few hundred yards downstream from the dam where there are picnic tables set up and the river makes a sharp bend. The stocked trout tend to concentrate in the big pool here. There are also some big brown trout in this section of the river.
The streamflow in the Chama River below El Vado Dam is in even better condition for fishing with a streamflow of 147 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been good for brown and rainbow trout. Anglers are also catching some bass and perch. There are some big brown trout here and they should be starting to spawn soon.
El Vado Lake and Heron Lake are very low and the fishing has been slow, although anglers are catching some bass and perch at El Vado. It will be interesting to see how the kokanee salmon snagging is this year at Heron Lake. The snagging season opens Nov. 9 at Heron. I expect it to be slow, which it has been the last couple of years.
In past years, the Department used to trap kokanee salmon at Heron Lake for their eggs, which were then fertilized and hatched at nearby Los Ojos Fish Hatchery to restock the lakes. The Department has not been able to obtain enough eggs in recent years and has had to purchase them from other sources.
They also trap salmon at Navajo Lake.
The streamflow in the Chama River above El Vado Lake has improved and the fishing has been good. There are some big trout, both rainbows and browns, in the section of the Chama from Heron Dam down to El Vado Lake.
The fishing has been fair at Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos. Fishing pressure has been light here, but it was stocked recently with a lot of big rainbow trout averaging 20 inches in size. This lake closes to fishing Oct. 31, so give it a try soon.
They are still catching some of those big, stocked rainbow trout at the Canjilon Lakes. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
They’re also catching some nice-sized Rio Grande cutthroat trout, which were also recently stocked.
No reports from the Trout Lakes near Cebolla, but they should be at least fair for stocked rainbow trout.
No reports from Hopewell Lake either. The wild brook trout here should be spawning and it is heavily-stocked with rainbow trout. Nights are probably starting to get pretty cold here. There will be lots of elk hunters in this area.
There were no reports from the Rio de los Pinos near the Colorado border north of Tres Piedras. The fishing should be pretty good since it was stocked Oct. 10 with 1,801 rainbow trout. There are also some nice wild brown trout here.
Over in the Jemez Mountains, fishing at Fenton Lake has been good and every now and then they catch a big brown trout here.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond north of Fenton Lake has been good. This small pond is limited to anglers 11 years-old and-under. It is well-stocked with rainbow trout and also has some wild brown trout.
The streams in the Jemez Mountains have all been recently-stocked and all have wild brown trout. The fishing has been good in the Jemez River, the East Fork of the Jemez River, the Rio San Antonio and the Rio Cebolla.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is very low and there were no reports.
Streamflows in the Rio Grande are still well below normal. The fishing has been good for brown and rainbow trout. The Rio Grande was stocked Oct. 12 with 2,001 rainbow trout in the Pilar area. The Rio Grande Gorge above Pilar was stocked with 249 rainbow trout.
The Rio Pueblo near Penasco is heavily-stocked and the fishing has been good. Sipapu Ski Area received five inches of snow recently. The Rio Pueblo flows through the base of the ski area.
The Red River near Questa is now flowing nicely and the fishing has been good. The fishing has been good at the Red River Hatchery Pond.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa was stocked Oct. 12 with 499 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 178 rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size. The fishing has been good.
At Eagle Nest Lake, the fishing for perch has been good. The trout fishing has also been good. Kokanee salmon snagging has been slow.
The Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State park was stocked Oct. 11 with 2,425 rainbow trout and the fishing has been good. The Cimarron Gravel Pit Lakes were stocked Oct. 11 with 410 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 100 rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size. The fishing at the lakes has been fair-to-good.
There were no reports from Maxwell Lake 13. This lake closes Oct. 31 and normally the fishing here for good-sized holdover rainbow trout picks up just before it closes. Nearby Stubblefield Lake also closes Oct. 31. It does not have trout but the fishing for largemouth bass has been fair and you might catch a walleye here now.
Lake Maloya in Sugarite Canyon State park near Raton was stocked Oct. 9 with 3,001 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 320 rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size. The fishing has been good. Lake Alice, also in Sugarite Canyon State Park, was stocked with 499 rainbow trout.
The fishing has been slow at the Charette Lakes, which close Oct. 31 to fishing.
Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas has been recently-stocked and the fishing has been good for rainbow trout.
The Gallinas River near Las Vegas has been good for rainbow trout.
As previously mentioned, the Pecos River was recently stocked. No reports on the fishing.
Monastery Lake near Pecos was stocked Oct. 11 with 999 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good. There were no reports from the Cowles Ponds north of Pecos.
Over in the Four Corners, the fishing for smallmouth bass has been excellent at Navajo Lake. Anglers are also catching some largemouth bass while fishing for smallmouths. The fishing has been very good for northern pike. No reports on the kokanee salmon snagging.
The streamflow on the San Juan River below Navajo Dam Tuesday was 491 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing in the Quality Waters has been good with a variety of fly patterns. The fishing in the Bait Waters has been good with flies and bait. The Bait Waters were stocked last week with 3,788 rainbow trout.
The fishing at Cochiti Lake has been just slow-to-fair for crappie, white bass, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass.
The fishing has been slow for stocked catfish at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque. The fishing here will pick up once the Department resumes its winter stocking of trout at Tingley Beach.
The water level at Elephant Butte Lake is still very low, but they have stopped releasing water from below Elephant Butte Dam. The fishing has been fair-to-good for white bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and catfish.