By GEORGE MORSE
Los Alamos Daily Post
The river valleys are especially beautiful this time of the year with the golden cottonwoods along their banks ablaze with color. The recent moisture that we’ve been getting is most welcome and we will need a lot more if we are to recover from the drought conditions we experienced earlier in the year. Seeing a cap of white snow on the Sangre de Cristos is certainly encouraging.
Reservoir water levels remain low throughout the state.
New Mexico is not alone when it comes to low water levels in our reservoirs. The big lakes on the Colorado River like Lake Mead and Lake Powell are very low. It wasn’t that long ago-less than 100 years- that the Colorado River did not have a dam on it. Hoover Dam was the first in 1935 and it helped to fuel the explosive growth in population states like California, Nevada and Arizona have experienced since then. The Colorado River no longer reaches the ocean.
With snowpacks that seem to be dwindling recently, it could be we will never see these lakes at full capacity again.
Streamflows are still low, especially in the Rio Grande. They are releasing less water into the Chama River below Abiquiu and El Vado Dams, so the fishing conditions here have improved. The water in the Chama River below El Vado Dam is especially low. They have been stocking a lot of trout below Abiquiu Dam recently.
Abiquiu Lake remains very low and caution must be used when launching boats. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended. A total of 133,068 small rainbow trout averaging 3.6 inches were stocked at Abiquiu last week. The fishing for walleye and trout using crank baits and spoons has been just slow-to-fair. The larger, predatory fish are likely feeding heavily on these recently-stocked trout, so you might hook a big fish here.
The streamflow Tuesday in the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam was 274 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked Oct. 16 with 1,832 rainbow trout. The water here can be murky and bright baits like salmon eggs or Power Bait will be more effective at fooling these recently-stocked fish. Most of the stocking takes place where the hatchery truck can drive close to the river. There are some big, wild brown trout here too.
Anglers should be aware that the limit in this section of the Chama River is just two fish-per-day.
The streamflow below El Vado Dam was a very low 61.5 cubic-feet-per-second. Flows this low will concentrate the trout in the deeper pools. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
El Vado Lake is very low. Fishing for perch and bass is reported as slow-to-fair. There was a report of one kokanee salmon being snagged.
The Chama River above El Vado Lake has a decent flow and the fishing has been fair-to-good. The section of the Chama River below Heron Dam should be pretty good. From Heron Dam upstream 2.9 miles fishing is with flies and lures with a single, barbless hook. Downstream from Heron Dam, you may use any method of angling.
Heron Lake is very low and the fishing has been slow.
Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos has been good. They recently stocked some big trout here. This lake closes Oct. 31.
The Canjilon Lakes have been fair-to-good. There may still be some of those big rainbow trout and Rio Grande cutthroat trout that were recently stocked left in the lakes.
There were no reports from Hopewell Lake or from the Rio de los Pinos. I would think the fishing should be at least fair at both locations and it sounds like you’ll have very little company.
The fishing at Fenton Lake in the Jemez Mountains has been very good. It was stocked Oct. 16 with 1,569 rainbow trout.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond was stocked twice last week with a total of 464 rainbow trout. The fishing has been very good.
The streams in the Jemez Mountains have been good for brown and rainbow trout. The Rio Cebolla was stocked Oct. 18 with 401 rainbow trout. The Jemez River was stocked with 1,004 rainbow trout.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is very low and the fishing is very slow.
The Rio Grande is running low for this time of year. The fishing has been good. The recent rainfall may make the water a bit murky.
The fishing has been good on the Rio Pueblo near Penasco. This stream is heavily-stocked with rainbow trout and has some wild brown trout.
The Red River has been fair-to-good and the streamflow is pretty good. The Red River Hatchery Pond is the place to go if you’re looking for some good-sized stocked rainbow trout. It was stocked last week with 500 rainbow trout averaging 16 inches in size.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout.
Eagle Nest Lake is still a good spot to try if you would like to catch a mess of perch. The trout fishing has also been good and should stay that way until the lake starts to ice up. The fishing has been good for northern pike. There were reports of a few kokanee salmon being snagged.
The fishing in the Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park has been good. The fishing at the Gravel Pit Lakes has been fair-to-good.
The fishing at Maxwell Lake 13 has been slow, but could pick up for trout with the cooler weather. It was stocked last week with a total of 7,840 channel catfish averaging 10.7 inches in size. The catfishing here next summer could be pretty good. It closes for fishing Oct. 31.
The water level at Stubblefield Lake is reported as very low. This lake went dry in 2013 and suffers heavily during dry years. Hopefully, it will get some good moisture this winter. It also closes for fishing Oct. 31.
Lake Maloya in Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton has been very good for trout. It was heavily-stocked two weeks ago. No reports from Lake Alice, which is also in Sugarite Canyon State Park.
The Charette Lakes close for fishing Oct. 31. There were no reports from here but it could be worth a try.before it closes.
The fishing for trout at Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas has been fair-to-good. The Gallinas River near Las Vegas has been fair-to-good.
The streamflow in the Pecos River has improved with the recent rains and the fishing has been good with flies and bait.
There are plenty of stocked rainbow trout here and some wild brown trout.
Monastery Lake near Pecos has been fair-to-good with flies and bait.
Over in the Four Corners, the fishing is still very good for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass at Navajo Lake. It has been good for northern pike and fair for perch. The snagging for kokanee salmon has been slow.
The streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam Monday was 392 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been good in the Quality Waters for rainbow and brown trout with a variety of fly patterns. The fishing in the Bait Waters was reported as very good with bait, flies and small gold spoons.
The fishing has been slow-to-fair at Cochiti Lake for catfish.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque was stocked Oct. 15 with 1,499 rainbow trout. The fishing improved with the stocking and has been good. Tingley Beach will now be stocked with trout periodically throughout the rest of the fall and through the winter.
Elephant Butte Lake is still very low. The fishing has been fair-to-good for white bass, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. It has been good for catfish. They are not releasing water into the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam.
The State Game and Fish Department will resume its winter stockings of rainbow trout in Southern New Mexico. Bill Evans Lake and Bear Canyon Lake near Silver City have already been stocked. Fishing for trout is usually good right after these stockings. Lake Roberts near Silver City is also heavily-stocked and is one of the few lakes in Southern New Mexico where trout can carryover through the summer. The fishing has been good.