By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
The summer of 2021 is just about over, with about a week left until fall officially begins. It’s been unusual this year. Summer began in June with record-breaking heat with New Mexico firmly in the grip of an exceptional drought.
It looks like this summer is going to end the same way. A massive high-pressure system has been firmly locked in place over the Southwestern United States for about a week. Temperatures have been well-above normal. The weather has been hot and dry.
In between these hot spells the summer monsoon season during July and August came through with some very beneficial rains. The Eastern half of New Mexico, where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, were blessed with moisture that turned the dry landscape into a “Sea of Grass”. The Pecos River flowed at or above normal for most of the summer.
The Harvest Moon will rise Sept. 20, and early in the morning there is now a chill in the air. Soon the first dusting of snow will be seen at higher elevations. How long the snow will last and how deep it will be remains to be seen. A heavy snowpack this coming winter would be most welcome and help to fill our depleted reservoirs.
Take a few road trips this fall and appreciate the beauty of our state. Another year is passing . It hasn’t been an easy one by any means. The sunrises and the sunsets are still beautiful. The aspen leaves will soon turn gold. Bright red ristras of drying chile peppers adorn the front of adobe homes. There is still much to be grateful for.
Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains is open. It was stocked Aug. 26 with 2,205 rainbow trout. It received a stocking Aug. 31 of big rainbow trout averaging 18.7 inches in size. Fishing has improved here with the recent stockings. Camping is allowed by reservation only. Fenton also has wild brown trout and Rio Grande cutthroat trout from an earlier stocking. 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 Aug. 24 with 399 rainbow trout.
San Gregorio Lake is open. The fishing is reported as slow-to-fair. It has not yet been stocked 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
The Seven Springs Brood Pond is open. It is also known as the Kid’s Pond. It was stocked Aug. 31 with 100 rainbow trout averaing18.7 inches in size. 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 10.0 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a little lower than last week. The fish are concentrated in deeper pools. It was stocked Aug. 24 with 1,112 rainbow trout
The smaller streams in the Jemez Mountains are lower. The San Antonio River was stocked Aug. 24 with 750 rainbow trout. The Rio de las Vacas was stoked Aug. 26 with 308 rainbow trout. 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 slow, especially from the bank. The fishing for perch has been good. Some big northern pike are being landed. Some good-sized kokanee salmon are being caught. A potential new state-record kokanee weighing 5 pounds was caught recently. As the summer progresses, 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 good. 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.
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.
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-to-good for walleye. The fishing is slow-to-fair for smallmouth bass. Fishing for panfish is fair. Trout have likely moved to much deeper water. Fishing for catfish has been good. Call 505.685.4371 for more information.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is flowing at 137 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 Sept. 1 of 1,085 rainbow trout. The limit here is two-fish-per-day.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam is flowing at 102 cubic-feet-per-second. The flow has been lowered since last week 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 twice last week with a total of 1,205 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 low. Fishing is tough. The streamflow at La Puente is 25.6 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked Sept. 1 with 964 rainbow trout. Try fishing below the outflow from Heron Dam.
The nearby Brazos River is experiencing lower streamflow conditions and is flowing at 14.0 cubic-feet-per-second. It has not been stocked but fishing has been fair-to-good for holdover rainbow trout and wild brown trout.
Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos is open. Fishing is for anglers under 14 years of age or 65 years old and older. It is open sunrise to sunset and the daily limit is three fish-per-day.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is currently open Thursday-Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. 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. The boat ramp is open. It is stocked with good-size rainbow trout and also has wild brown trout. The fishing has held up well here, but is starting to slow down. The water level here will steadily drop during the summer. 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 rainbow and brown trout. It was stocked Aug. 26 with 2,424 rainbow trout. Streamflow below Eagle Nest Dam is 24.8 cubic-feet-per-second. This is higher than last week. The flow picks up downstream and is at 30.7 cubic-feet-per-second near the town of Cimarron.
The Cimarron Gravel Pit Lakes at Maverick campground were stocked Aug. 26 with 45 rainbow trout averaging 16.8 inches in size. 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.. 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. There are some cutthroat trout here. Only two cutthroat trout may be kept per-day as part of a five-fish limit.
Clayton Lake and the Charette Lakes are now open for fishing. 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. It is stocked with rainbow trout. It also has some big walleye and a few trophy-size largemouth bass. There are also catfish here. Trout fishing may be slow. 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.
Stubblefield Lake is low. The state-record channel catfish was caught here. The fishing for catfish has been good.
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.
Storrie Lake State Park is open. Camping is available by reservation only. It was stocked Aug. 30 with 3,034 rainbow trout. There are some big catfish in this lake. Call (505).425.7278 for conditions.
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. 9 with 788 rainbow trout also has wild brook trout.
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 Aug. 31 with 1,188 rainbow trout. There are a few brook trout in the upper Canjilon Lake.
The Trout Lakes were stocked Sept. 9 with 900 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 202 rainbow trout averaging 18.7 inches in size.
The Lagunitas Lakes were stocked Sept. 8 with 1,501 rainbow trout. This was the second stocking of the year.
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. Check at the marina to see at what depth the kokanee salmon have schooled up and can be caught trolling. The trolling for kokanee has been good at about 30 feet. Be sure to tip the hooks of your lures with corn. The salmon will drop deeper as summer progresses. The salmon should soon start to undergo the physical changes associated with their spawning season, which begins in October. Boating conditions are good. Call (505).632.2278 for conditions
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. Fishing for catfish is fair using hot dogs. Call (505).876.2391 for current conditions.
The Rio de los Pinos near the Colorado border was running a little low. It was stocked Aug. 24 with 1,799 rainbow trout. Fly fishing conditions are good.
The Rio Grande streamflow is 212 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. This is somewhat below normal. The fishing has been fair-to-good for rainbow and brown trout. Bait is your best choice under murky conditions. Spinners may work too. Beadhead nymphs are good for fly casters. Anglers are catching smallmouth bass and some northern pike in the Pilar area.
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 7.72 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 Aug. 23 with 1,200 rainbow trout.
The pond at Sipapu was stocked Aug. 23 with 65 rainbow trout.
The Red River near the Red River Fish Hatchery is flowing at 30.7 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing is normally fair-to-good here for stocked rainbow trout It was stocked Sept. 7 with 700 rainbow trout. The Red River above Questa was flowing at 23.3 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked Sept. 7 with 700 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. 8 with 398 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 80 rainbow trout averaging 16.6 inches in size.. 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 Aug. 24 with 500 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 54 rainbow trout averaging 15.7 inches in length.
Goose Lake, a popular high-elevation lake near Red River, was stocked June 30 with 403 rainbow trout. The limit here is three fish per-day.
The Rio Costilla from Latir Creek to the boundary of the Valle Vidal is catch-and-release with flies and lures having a single, barbless hook. The Rio Costilla below Latir Creek was stocked Aug. 10 with 400 rainbow trout.
The Shuree Ponds on the Valle Vidal opened for fishing July 1. They 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 743 cubic-feet-per-second. This is about like last week and near 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 Aug, 18 with 2,104 rainbow trout.
The Pecos River above the town of Pecos ran well this summer thanks to monsoon rains. The streamflow at Pecos was 61.9 cubic-feet-per-second, which is about like last week and just below normal. The Pecos has been able to sustain a normal-or-higher flow this season until now. The fishing has been fair for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. It was stocked Sept. 9 with 3,000 rainbow trout.
The Cowles Ponds were stocked Aug. 19 with 180 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 20 rainbow trout averaging 15. 1 inches in size.
Holy Ghost Creek in the Pecos drainage was stocked Sept.10 with 400 rainbow trout. The Mora fork of the Pecos River was stocked Sept. 9 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 higher. The streamflow was 13.5 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 Sept. 10 with 1,000 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 200 rainbow trout averaging 15.4 inches in size. 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.