The hotspot for trout this week appears to be the Canjilon Lakes once again. Once they opened back up to anglers Aug. 22 after being closed for several years, the lakes have been experiencing heavy fishing pressure. Anglers that I have spoken to tell of difficulty in finding a place to park and anglers lining the banks shoulder-to-shoulder.
The State Game and Fish Department has stocked thousands of fish here and last week was no exception. The Department stocked 2,192 catchable-size rainbow trout Sept. 6 and another 200 rainbow trout averaging over 18 inches in size. These are pretty little lakes at high elevation offering cool temperatures. Just expect lots of company if you go.
Streamflows remain low and reservoir levels continue to fall here in Northern New Mexico. The boat docks have been removed at Heron Lake and only canoes and kayaks may be launched here now. There were no fishing reports from here last week. The low water level isn’t going to help in the attempts to rebuild the kokanee salmon fishery at Heron. Once the best in the state, with a snagging season that attracted hundreds of anglers from all over the state, the kokanee salmon fishery has really suffered because of the low water levels in recent years.
Heron Lake was stocked last week with nearly 100,000 small rainbow trout averaging just four inches in size. These trout will hopefully grow to catchable sizes in the lake.
The water level at Abiquiu Lake continues to drop and extreme caution must be taken when launching boats. A four-wheel drive vehicle is strongly recommended. Kayaks and canoes may still be used and are safer to launch. I saw just how low the water is Sunday when I took a short trip to Abiquiu. It isn’t pretty.
The fishing for smallmouth bass is still pretty good. I caught about six in an hour, including a couple of nice fish well-over keeper-size. There is a 12-inch size limit on smallmouth bass. I released them all. I did not catch any walleye or other species.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam was stocked Sept. 5 with 1,008 rainbow trout. The streamflow here has been lowered to 423 cubic-feet-per-second. The water is still very murky but anglers are starting to catch some fish here.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam is still fishing well and this area was stocked Sept. 5 with 630 rainbow trout. There are some nice-sized wild brown trout here in addition to the stocked rainbows. Anglers are catching some largemouth bass and perch here now. That’s likely another result of the low water levels in El Vado Lake.
El Vado Lake is really low and there were no fishing reports from here. The boat ramps are closed at El Vado and only kayaks and canoes may be launched here.
The streamflow in the Chama River above El Vado Lake continues to be low except for the stretch of water from Heron Dam down to what remains of El Vado Lake. The water being released from Heron Dam is very cold and attracts trout.
The Department stocked 1,112 rainbow trout Sept. 5 in the Chama River above El Vado Lake, although this stocking takes place closer to the town of Chama.
Given the low water conditions on the Chama, these trout are likely concentrated in the deeper pools near where they are stocked.
The smaller lakes are offering some good fishing in this area. Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos was stocked Sept. 4 with 100 rainbow trout averaging over 18 inches. In addition, 504 catchable-size rainbow trout were stocked. The fishing has been good.
The fishing in the Trout Lakes near Cebolla has been very good for stocked rainbow trout.
There were no reports from Hopewell Lake between Tierra Amarilla and Tres Piedras, but this lake is heavily-stocked and also has some wild brook trout. The fishing should be pretty good, although weed growth is likely getting heavy here.
The fishing has been good in the Rio de los Pinos north of Tres Piedras near the Colorado border. Streamflows are likely low here, but it is heavily-stocked and has some wild brown trout.
Fenton Lake in the Jemez Mountains behind Los Alamos was stocked Sept. 5 with 1,371 rainbow trout and the fishing has been good.
The Rio Cebolla, which flows into and out of Fenton Lake, was stocked Sept. 5 with 401 rainbow trout. There are also wild brown trout here. The fishing has been good. The Jemez River was stocked Sept. 5 with 499 rainbow trout and the fishing has been good. The fishing is fair-to-good on the Rio San Antonio near La Cueva.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond near the Seven Springs Fish Hatchery was stocked Sept. 5 with 249 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is very low and there have been no fishing reports from here in over a month. Boats cannot be launched here.
The streamflow in the Rio Grande is low and the river has been getting murky if not muddy from recent rains. The fishing has been good when conditions are good.
The Red River continues to be heavily stocked. The Department stocked 699 rainbow trout Sept. 4 above the town of Questa and 699 rainbow below the town of Questa. The Red River Hatchery Pond was stocked Sept. 4 with 401 catchable-size rainbow trout and 100 rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size. The fishing has been good.
The fishing has been good at Eagle Rock Lake near Questa. This lake has been heavily=stocked.
Eagle Nest Lake has been good for perch. The fishing for trout has been fair-to-good trolling lures tipped with Power Bait or corn. A few northern pike were caught.
The Cimarron River in Cimarron canyon State park has been good for trout with flies and worms. The fishing in the Gravel Pit Lakes has been good for stocked trout.
The fishing for largemouth bass has been fair-to-goodat Stubblefield Lake. There were no reports on the fishing at Maxwell Lake 13.
The fishing at Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton has been good with the best fishing early in the morning.
The fishing at the Charette Lakes has been good for rainbow trout. Still no reports on the perch fishing.
Morphy Lake State Park remains closed.
The fishing at Storrie Lake near Las Vegashas been slow, butshould pick up as it was stocked Sept. 5 with over 3,000 rainbow trout.
The fishing in the Gallinas River near Las Vegas has been good. It was stocked Sept. 4 with 999 rainbow trout. The Gallinas Ice Pond was stocked Sept. 4 with 201 rainbow trout.
The Pecos River continues to be heavly-stocked and the fishing has been good. It was stocked with a total of 3,000 rainbow trout last week.
Monastery Lake near Pecos was stocked Sept. 4 with 1,001 rainbow trout. The fishing hhas been good.
The Cowles Ponds north of Pecos have been heavily-stocked and the fishing has been good.
Over in the Four Corners, the fishing at Navajo Lake has been good for northern pike, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass. The fishing has been fair-to-good for perch. Trolling spinners tipped with corn or Power Bait has been good for kokanee salmon at 50-to-80 feet of water. This may be the lake to go to this year during the salmon snagging season.
The streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam was 723 cubic-feet-per-second Monday. The fishing has been very good in the Quality Waters using a variety of fly patterns for brown and rainbow trout. The fishing in the Bait Waters has been good using flies, lures and bait.
The fishing at Cochiti Lake has been fair for catfish, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. The fishing for white bass has been slow-to-fair.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque has been fair-to-good for stocked catfish.
Despite the low water, the fishing continues to be very good at Elephant Butte Lake for white bass. The fishing has been good for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye and catfish.
Elephant Butte Lake is at just 3.7 percent of its capacity. This is the water that irrigates the famous green chile fields at Hatch. To say we need a good snowpack and heavy spring runoff to help fill this lake back up is an understatement. We need many years of above-average snowpacks and spring runoff.
Historically, this has happened before. Elephant Butte was this low in 1973. Those who have lived here long enough will remember that in the 1980’s and 1990’s we had some tremendous snowpacks and spring runoff that filled Elephant Butte and other reservoirs to their capacity and sent water over the spillways. Let’s hope it happens again.