By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
The weather has been getting colder in the mornings. It will not be long before the smaller, high-elevation lakes like Canjilon, Hopewell and the Trout Lakes begin to freeze over. By Thanksgiving, they may be inaccessible due to snow.
People are sometimes surprised to find out that New Mexico offers some good ice fishing. Eagle Nest Lake, Fenton Lake and Lake Maloya usually begin freezing in December and by January the ice is thick enough for them to be opened for ice fishing. Be sure to call ahead and check on the ice conditions.
Despite a good monsoon season, much of Northwest New Mexico is still suffering from extreme drought. Streamflows are below normal and reservoir levels are low heading into winter. A good snowpack would be a blessing.
The State Game and Fish Department has started to stock rainbow trout in some of the lakes and ponds in Southern New Mexico as part of its Winter Trout Stocking Program. Tingley Beach in Albuquerque and the Estancia Park Pond have already been stocked once. The Department will expand the Program to include many of the small, municipal lakes and ponds in the Southern New Mexico, as well as the drainage canals in the Albuquerque area. Be sure to check the weekly stocking report issued Fridays by the Department if you are planning a weekend trip. It can be found on the Department’s Weekly Fishing and Stocking Report
Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains is open. Camping is allowed by reservation only. It received a stocking Aug. 31 of big rainbow trout averaging 18.7 inches in size. It was stocked Oct. 8 with 1,650 catchable-size rainbow trout. Fenton also has wild brown trout. It received a stocking Sept. 20 of 326 catchable-size Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Only two cutthroat trout may be kept per-day as part of the five-trout-per-day bag limit. Call (575).829.3630 for current conditions at Fenton.
The Rio Cebolla below Fenton Lake is stocked with rainbow trout and also has wild brown trout. It was stocked Sept. 29 with 299 rainbow trout.
San Gregorio Lake is open. The fishing is reported as slow-to-fair. It has not been stocked with catchable-size fish this year. This lake requires anglers to park and hike in. There are reports of vehicles being broken into at the parking area. Lock your vehicles and secure your valuables.
San Gregorio Lake was stocked Sept. 16 with 1081 fingerling Rio Grande cutthroat trout. The State Game and Fish Department is trying to establish a fishery here for Rio Grande cutthroats.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond at Seven Springs Fish Hatchery is open. It is also known as the Kid’s Pond. It was stocked Aug. 31 with 100 rainbow trout averaging 18.7 inches in size. It was stocked Oct. 8 with 150 catchable-size rainbow trout .There are a few big brown trout in this pond. The fishing is for anglers under 12 years old.
The trout fishing has been fair in the Jemez River. The streamflow is now 13.9 cubic-feet-per-second. This is higher than last week. The fish are concentrated in deeper pools. It was stocked Sept. 29 with 348 rainbow trout.
The smaller streams in the Jemez Mountains are lower. The Rio de las Vacas was stoked Aug. 26 with 308 rainbow trout. The San Antonio River was stocked twice last week with a total of 1,320 Rio Grande cutthroat trout averaging seven inches in size. Please try and release these fish if caught to give them a chance to grow and reproduce. All the streams in the Jemez Mountains have wild brown trout.
Eagle Nest Lake State Park is open and boating conditions are listed as good. Rainbow trout fishing is picking up. The fishing for perch has been fair. Some big northern pike are being landed. Some good-sized kokanee salmon have been caught. A potential new state-record kokanee weighing 5 pounds was caught this summer. Kokanee salmon snagging season began Friday (Oct. 1) at Eagle Nest. It was reported as slow. Salmon snagging usually picks up later in the season here. Bank fishing may be difficult due to weed growth. Fishing from a boat may be better. For more information and current conditions, call (575).377.1594.
Heron Lake State Park is open. Boating conditions are described as fair. Trolling lures for rainbow trout and kokanee salmon has been fair. Bank fishing should be at least fair for rainbow trout. The lake level is still low. The primitive boat ramp is open. Four-wheel drive is recommended to launch boats. Please remember that possession of kokanee salmon is prohibited at Heron Lake Oct. 1 until Nov. 12. Kokanee salmon snagging season opens Nov. 12 at Heron Lake.
El Vado Lake has rainbow trout, brown trout, perch and small smallmouth bass. Trout fishing may be slow. Call (575).588.7470 for conditions at both Heron Lake and El Vado Lake. The main park is now open. Boating conditions are described as poor. The main boat ramp is open. Water level is low. The North Day Use Area is open and uncrowded. Kokanee salmon snagging season began Friday (Oct. 1) at El Vado. It is reported as slow.
Abiquiu Lake is open, including the boat ramp and picnic areas. The campground is open. Camping is by reservation only. It is managed by the Corps of Engineers. Reservations may be made at www.reservation.gov.
The water level is low at Abiquiu. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for launching boats. The fishing has been fair for walleye. The fishing is slow-to-fair for smallmouth bass. Fishing for panfish is fair. Trout may start moving into shallower water. Fishing for catfish has been fair-to-good. Call 505.685.4371 for more information.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is flowing at 74.5 cubic-feet-per-second. This is low. The water here is murky. The fishing could be at least fair for stocked and holdover rainbow trout. There are some big, wild brown trout here. Fly Fishermen should use flies with a little flash to them. It was stocked Oct. 5 with 770 rainbow trout. The limit here is two-fish-per-day.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam is flowing at 34.4 cubic-feet-per-second. This is extremely low and will have a negative impact on the wild brown trout that spawn in the fall. The fishing has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. The state-record brown trout was caught here. It was stocked Oct. 1 with 440 rainbow trout.
The State Game and Fish Department stocked 71,323 Rio Grande cutthroat trout fry Aug. 26 below El Vado Dam. The Department is trying to create a fishery here for cutthroat trout. The fry averaged just 1.1 inches in length.
The streamflow in the Chama River above El Vado Lake is higher than last week. Fishing is tough but conditions are a little better. The streamflow at La Puente is 34.4 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked Oct. 1 with 792 rainbow trout. Try fishing below the outflow from Heron Dam.
The nearby Brazos River is flowing at 14.8 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked Oct. 13 with 385 rainbow trout. The Brazos Lodge Pond was stocked Sept. 20 with 93 rainbow trout. The Brazos River also has wild brown trout.
Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos will close Oct. 31 for the season. There are still a few big trout here left over from earlier stockings. It is limited to anglers under 14 years of age or over 65 years old. The limit is three-trout-per-day.
The Canjilon Lakes and the Trout Lakes near Cebolla are open and accessible. Forest service roads may have some muddy conditions. The fishing is much better after they are stocked. The Canjilon Lakes were stocked Sept. 22 with 600 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 250 rainbow trout averaging 18.8 inches in size. They were also stocked Sept. 20 with 977 catchable-size Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Please remember only two cutthroat trout may be kept as part of a five-fish-per-day limit.
The Trout Lakes were stocked Sept. 9 with 202 rainbow trout averaging 18.7 inches in size. They were stocked Sept. 21 with 500 catchable-size rainbow trout.
The Lagunitas Lakes were stocked Sept. 8 with 1,501 rainbow trout. This was the second stocking of the year.
Hopewell Lake between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla is open, as is the nearby campground. The fishing has been fair-to-good. It was stocked Sept. 21 with 2,244 rainbow trout It also has wild brook trout.
The Rio de los Pinos near the Colorado border was running a little low. It was stocked Sept. 13 with 1,799 rainbow trout. Fly fishing conditions are good. There should be increased brown trout activity.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is currently open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. The Overlook campground is open. The North Shore campground is closed. The fishing has been slow. It should pick up as the water cools and stocking resumes. It was stocked Oct. 1 with 2,640 rainbow trout It also has wild brown trout. The boat ramp is open. For updated conditions, check the Bureau of Land Management website.
The Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park is open. Fishing has been good for stocked rainbow and wild brown trout. It was stocked Oct. 13 with 2,019 rainbow trout. Streamflow below Eagle Nest Dam is 4.62 cubic-feet-per-second. This is lower than last week. The flow is still low downstream and is at 9.07 cubic-feet-per-second near the town of Cimarron.
The Cimarron Gravel Pit Lakes at Maverick campground were stocked Oct. 13 with 98 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good.
Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton is open daily. Lake Alice and Lake Maloya are open for fishing. Camping is available by reservation only. Lake Alice is a small lake and the fishing is primarily for recently-stocked rainbow trout. Lake Maloya is bigger and is capable of producing larger, holdover trout. It was stocked Oct. 12 with 2,623 rainbow trout. Call (575).445.5607 for current conditions.
Morphy Lake State Park near Mora was opened March 1 after being closed for more than a year. It has been heavily-stocked since reopening. It was stocked Sept. 20 with 2,720 rainbow trout. There are some cutthroat trout here. Only two cutthroat trout may be kept per-day as part of a five-fish limit. Morphy Lake closes Oct. 31 for the season.
Clayton Lake and the Charette Lakes will close Oct. 31 for the season. The fishing has been pretty good for some nice-sized holdover rainbow trout at Lower Charette Lake. The Charette Lakes are located between Wagon Mound and Springer.
Clayton Lake State Park is open daily with camping by reservation only. Trout fishing should be picking up. It was stocked Sept. 29 with 2,999 rainbow trout. It also has some big walleye and a few trophy-size largemouth bass. There are also catfish here. This is a trophy bass lake where the daily limit is two bass-per-day 14 inches in size or longer. The state-record walleye was caught at Clayton Lake. The boat ramp is closed. At Clayton Lake, be sure to check out the Dinosaur Tracks.
Cochiti Lake is open. Fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass has been fair-to-good. Crappie, catfish and northern pike are being caught as well. The boat ramp is open. Reservations are no longer needed to enter the lake. Camping reservations can be made at www.recreation.gov. They are not sold at the lake. The Tetilla Peak Recreation Area is closed. This lake is managed by the Corps of Engineers.
Over in the Four Corners Navajo Lake State Park is open. Camping is by reservation only. The bass fishing has been good. The fishing for northern pike has been fair-to-good. Trout fishing has slowed down. Snagging season for kokanee salmon began Oct. 1 at Navajo Lake. The snagging was reported to be very good. It is usually best in the Navajo Dam area. Boating conditions are good. Call (505).632.2278 for conditions.
Tiger Park Pond and Aztec Pond #1 in Aztec are now being stocked. Tiger Park Pond was stocked Oct. 7 with 675 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 60 rainbow trout averaging 19.2 inches in size. Aztec Pond was stocked with 75 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 15 rainbow trout averaging 19.2 inches in size.
Jackson Lake north of Farmington is now being stocked. It was stocked Oct. 12 with 757 rainbow trout.
Bluewater Lake State Park is open. Boating conditions are listed as good. Camping is allowed by reservation only. The trout fishing is slow. Tiger muskies are being caught and the fishing for them has been good using big crank baits and waterdogs. The fish are somewhat skinny. Fishing for catfish is fair using hot dogs. Call (505).876.2391 for current conditions.
The Rio Grande streamflow is 252 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. This is somewhat below normal. The fishing has been good for rainbow and brown trout. Anglers are catching smallmouth bass and some northern pike in the Pilar area. The Rio Grande above Pilar was stocked Sept’ 16 with 245 rainbow trout. The Rio Grande at Pilar was stocked Oct. 5 with 1,498 rainbow trout
From the Colorado state line downstream to the Taos Junction Bridge, the limit is two-trout-per-day in the Rio Grande.
The streamflow in the Rio Pueblo near Penasco is 8.87 cubic-feet-per-second. The flow is lower than last week. The fishing should be fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. It was stocked Sept. 28 with 900 rainbow trout.
The Red River near the Red River Fish Hatchery is flowing at 41.2 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing is normally fair-to-good here for stocked rainbow trout. It was stocked Oct. 5 with 1,265 rainbow trout. The Red River above Questa was flowing at 24.4 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked Sept. 15 with 2,899 rainbow trout.
The West Fork and the East Fork of the Red River were each stocked Aug 30 with 314 rainbow trout.
The Red River Hatchery Pond is now open and was stocked Sept. 22 with 60 rainbow trout averaging 17.3 inches in size. It was stocked Oct. 5 with 301 catchable-size rainbow trout. The fishing here is for anglers under 14 years-of-age and over 65 years old. The limit here is three fish per-day
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa is open. This little lake is right off the highway between Questa and Red River. It was stocked Oct. 14 with 376 rainbow trout.
The Shuree Ponds on the Valle Vidal were stocked Aug. 9 with 500 rainbow trout averaging 14.8 inches in size. Fishing here is with flies and lures with a single, barbless hook. The limit is two fish-per-day.
The best river in the state and well-known throughout the angling world is the San Juan River below Navajo Dam. The streamflow here is 521 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a little higher than last week and still a little below normal. It offers world-class fly fishing for big trout.
The fishing has been good with a variety of fly patterns in the four miles of Quality Water below the Dam. The fishing here is catch-and-release with flies and lures having a single, barbless hook. The Quality Water is stocked with small rainbow trout that grow quickly in the fertile waters. There are big, wild brown trout in the Quality Water. Some of these fish would likely shatter the state record if they could be kept and weighed. It seems like the fishing for brown trout has picked up this season.
The fishing in the Bait Water of the San Juan below the Quality Water has been fair-to-good with flies, bait and lures. A regular daily limit of five trout may be kept here. There are some big brown trout here too. It was stocked Oct. 13 with 2,253 rainbow trout.
The Pecos River above the town of Pecos ran well this summer thanks to monsoon rains. The streamflow at Pecos was 45.5 cubic-feet-per-second, which is lower than last week and near normal. The fishing has been fair for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. It was stocked Oct. 13 with 2,250 rainbow trout.
Holy Ghost Creek in the Pecos drainage was stocked Sept. 21 with 400 rainbow trout. The Mora fork of the Pecos River was stocked Sept. 22 with 400 rainbow trout. It also has wild brown trout. Cow Creek was stocked Aug. 25 with 501 rainbow trout.
The Gallinas River near Las Vegas is running a little lower. The streamflow was 6.95 cubic-feet-per-second. Some good-sized holdover trout have been caught. It was stocked Sept. 8 with 1,000 rainbow trout. The Gallinas Ice Pond was stocked Sept. 8 with 200 rainbow trout.
Monastery Lake is open to fishing. It was stocked Oct. 14 with 774 catchable-size rainbow trout. Please pick up your trash here as this is private property and should be respected. Fishing here is possible through the State Game and Fish Department’s Open Gate program. This lake is very crowded on weekends.