By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
The monsoon rains have kept stream flows above normal in most streams and rivers this summer and heading into the fall. This should benefit the populations of wild brook and brown trout with good spawning conditions this fall.
Another popular fishing spot reopened recently. Monastery Lake near Pecos had been closed for several months due to impacts from the Calf Canyon/Hermit Peak Fire. The fishing should be good with the possibility of some nice-sized holdover trout from earlier stockings. At one time, the state-record rainbow trout had been caught at Monastery Lake. It was stocked Sept. 20 with 1,000 rainbow trout.
The kokanee salmon snagging season opens Saturday, Oct. 1, at Navajo Lake State Park, El Vado Lake State Park and Eagle Nest Lake State Park. The best fishing by a wide margin will be found at Navajo Lake. Eagle Nest Lake would be a poor second, although it does have bigger salmon. The season ends Dec. 31.
Kokanee salmon are a landlocked species of sockeye salmon that spawn in the fall, gathering in large schools of fish. The salmon die soon after spawning, so to help anglers utilize the resource, bag limits are increased and other methods of angling besides fishing may be used. The most popular method is casting heavy treble hooks into the schools of salmon and jerking the hooks through the schools trying to impale the fish.
Heron Lake State Park once had the best snagging seasons, but low water levels have seriously hurt the fishing and it is now mediocre. The State Game and Fish Department nets salmon at Heron Lake and strips the eggs rom them to be hatched at Los Ojos Fish Hatchery. Once hatched, the small salmon known as fry are the stocked into lakes to replenish the fishery. The kokanee salmon snagging season at Heron Lake State Park begins Nov. 11 and ends Dec. 31.
Santa Cruz Lake has good fishing. It was stocked May 2 with 3,208 catchable size rainbow trout and with 300 rainbow trout averaging 18.3 inches in size. There are also some big wild brown trout. The Overlook Campground is open. The lake is open 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Lake water levels are holding their own thanks to recent rains keeping flows in the Santa Cruz River above normal. With the hot temperatures, the trout may be moving to deeper water. The boat ramp is open and fishing from a boat seems to be better than bank fishing. For updated conditions, check the Bureau of Land Management website or call 505.351.1438.
The Bureau also manages the Orilla Verde Recreation Area along the Rio Grande at Pilar. Camping is on a first-come basis. No reservations. The Rio Grande streamflow is 453 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. This is above normal and higher than last week. The fishing had been fair-to-good for rainbow trout and brown trout. Fishing for smallmouth bass should be improving between Pilar and Velarde. Some northern pike are being caught around Pilar.
The river looks muddy but is clearing. The Rio Grande at Pilar was stocked Sept. 21 with 1,999 rainbow trout.
The Rio Grande at Pilar was stocked Sept. 14 with 58,484 fingerling Rio Grande cutthroat trout. From the Colorado state line downstream to the Taos Junction Bridge, the limit is two-trout-per-day in the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande Gorge above Pilar was stocked Sept. 21 with 249 rainbow trout.
Fenton Lake State Park reopened June 24 for fishing and is now open for camping. The fishing was very good. It is heavily-stocked with rainbow trout. It also has some wild brown trout and some Rio Grande cutthroat trout from earlier stockings. It was stocked Sept. 20 with 2,201 rainbow trout. Only two cutthroat trout may be kept as part of the five fish daily limit at Fenton. Weed growth may be getting heavy. For more information call 575.829.3630.
The Rio Cebolla, which flows into and below Fenton Lake, was stocked Sept. 22 with 431 rainbow trout.
The fishing has been good in the Jemez River. The streamflow is 34.2 cubic-feet-per-second. This is higher than last week. It has wild brown trout. It was stocked Sept. 22 with 1,000 rainbow trout.
The Rio San Antonio, a tributary to the Jemez River near La Cueva, was stocked Sept. 20 with 749 rainbow trout. The Rio de las Vacas, another tributary, was stocked Sept. 22 with 499 rainbow trout.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond, also known as the Kid’s Pond, is open. The fishing is for anglers 11-years of age or younger. It was stocked Sept. 8 with 100 rainbow trout averaging 19.2 inches in size. The limit is three trout-per-day.
Eagle Nest Lake at Eagle Nest State Park is open for boating. It was stocked April 19 with 82,237 fingerling kokanee salmon. A new state-record kokanee was caught at Eagle Nest last year. The best kokanee fishing is normally done trolling from a boat. Kokanee salmon snagging season begins Saturday (10/1). Fishing should be good for rainbow trout, yellow perch and northern pike. It was stocked twice two weeks ago with a total of 8,989 rainbow trout averaging just over eight inches in size. Weed growth may be getting heavier here. For more information and current conditions, call 575.377.1594.
Cimarron Canyon State Park reopened for fishing June 24. The fishing is good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. The streamflow below Eagle Nest Dam was 29.7 cubic-feet-per-second. This is slightly higher than last week. The streamflow near the town of Cimarron was 34.5 cubic-feet-per-second. The Cimarron River was stocked Sept. 13 with 2,424 catchable-size rainbow trout. Check the Carson National Forest website to see which campgrounds are open.
The Cimarron Gravel Pit Lakes at Maverick Campground were stocked Sept. 13 with 401 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 45 rainbow trout averaging 16.4 inches in size.
Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton is now open to fishing. Lake Alice, also at Sugarite State Park, is open for fishing. Lake Alice was stocked Sept. 19 with 299 rainbow trout. Lake Maloya was stocked Sept. 19 with 3,199 catchable-size rainbow trout. Call 575.445.5607 for current conditions.
Clayton Lake State Park opened March 1 for fishing. It is stocked with rainbow trout and has big walleye. The state-record walleye was caught here. This is a trophy bass lake. The daily limit is two largemouth bass with a 14-inch and longer size limit. It was stocked Sept. 21 with 3,995 rainbow trout. There are also catfish. Call 575.374.8808 for current conditions.
Coyote Creek State Park is open and received its first stocking in months. Coyote Creek was stocked Sept. 14 with 600 rainbow trout. Coyote Creek Pond was stocked with 500 rainbow trout.
Heron Lake State Park has open water for bank fishing. Be aware that the banks are very muddy. The boat ramps are closed. The lake level is still low. It was stocked April 20 with 147,290 fingerling kokanee salmon. It was stocked June 27 with 40,006 sub- catchable-size rainbow trout.
Call 575.588.7470 for conditions at both Heron Lake and El Vado Lake.
El Vado Lake State Park has rainbow trout, brown trout, perch and small smallmouth bass. Boating is closed. The Dam Day Use Area is closed for construction. Water level is low. The banks are very muddy. Kokanee salmon snagging season begins Saturday. The snagging season has been poor for the past several years at El Vado.
Bluewater Lake State Park is open. Camping is allowed by reservation only. Lake water level is low. Tiger muskies are being caught and the fishing for them is fair using big crank baits, spinners and hot dogs. The limit on tiger muskies is one-per-day at least 40 inches in length. The boat ramp is closed. Anglers may launch boats at their own risk along undeveloped shoreline. Call 505.876.2391 for current conditions.
Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas is open for bank fishing. Boating is closed. It was stocked June 7 with 3,034 rainbow trout. It also has some big catfish.
Over in the Four Corners, Navajo Lake State Park is open. Camping is by reservation only. Trolling minnow-imitating lures like Rapalas could produce a trophy brown trout. Fishing for northern pike has been fair. Bass fishing should be picking up. Fishing for catfish has been good, while crappie fishing is fair. It was stocked April 20 with 219,027 kokanee salmon fingerlings. Boating conditions are good. Call 505.632.2278 for conditions.
Anglers with boats should start checking with the Marina to see if the kokanee salmon are starting to school up and at what depth they can be found at. Deep trolling for kokanee salmon is a popular method of catching these fish in the summer at Navajo Lake.
Kokanee salmon snagging season begins Saturday at Navajo Lake. The best and most consistent success during snagging season in New Mexico has been at Navajo Lake for the past several years, particularly in the early season. The action is centered around Navajo Dam..
Popular fishing locations on Carson National Forest now available again to anglers include the Canjilon Lakes, the Trout Lakes near Cebolla and Hopewell Lake between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla.
The campground at the Canjilon Lakes is now open. These lakes were stocked Sept. 9 with 1,428 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 115 rainbow trout averaging 18.8 inches in size.
The Trout Lakes near Cebolla were stocked Sept. 8 with 1,088 rainbow trout. The road to these lakes can be rough and muddy.
The campground at Hopewell Lake is now open. Hopewell was last stocked Sept. 8 with 1,776 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 97 rainbow trout averaging 19.2 inches in size. It also has wild brook trout. The fishing was very good since reopening. There is a lot of weed growth, particularly by the inlet.
The Rio de los Pinos near the border with Colorado is also reopened for camping and fishing. It was stocked Sept.12 with 1,801 rainbow trout and also has wild brown trout.
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 503 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a little lower than last week and below normal. The San Juan 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. 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. The Quality Water was stocked Aug. 1 with 39,774 sub-catchable rainbow trout.
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 Sept. 20 with 2,299 rainbow trout.
The following locations also are open for fishing:
Abiquiu Lake is open, including the boat ramp and picnic areas. Camping is open. It is managed by the Corps of Engineers. Reservations may be made at www.recreation.gov. The water level is low at Abiquiu. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for launching boats. The fishing has been slow for walleye and smallmouth bass. There are some good-sized trout in Abiquiu. They may have moved to deeper water. Night fishing for catfish could be worth a try.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is flowing at 503 cubic-feet-per-second. This is much higher than last week. The water here is murky. It was stocked Sept. 6 with 995 rainbow trout. The fishing is likely fair for stocked and holdover rainbow trout. There are a few big, wild brown trout here. The limit here is two-fish-per-day.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam is flowing at 103 cubic-feet-per-second. This is lower than last week. The fishing has been fair for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. You may hook a cutthroat trout here. It was stocked Sept. 16 with 1,356 rainbow trout. The state-record brown trout was caught here.
Above El Vado Lake, the streamflow on the Chama River at La Puente was 92.3 cubic-feet-per-second. This is higher than last week. It was stocked Sept. 16 with 1,356 catchable-size rainbow trout.
Streamflow in the Rio Brazos was 37.9 cubic-feet-per-second. This is higher than last week. The Brazos was stocked Sept. 19 with 600 rainbow trout.
Laguna del Campo, a small lake near Los Ojos, is open. It was stocked Sept. 19 with 460 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 90 rainbow trout averaging 19.0 inches in length. Fishing here is for anglers 11 years old and younger or 65 years old and older. The limit is three-trout-per-day. The lake may be getting a little weedy.
The Charette Lakes between Wagon Mound and Springer have good fishing for good-sized, holdover rainbow trout. Lower Charette Lake was stocked June 14 with 2,500 rainbow trout.
Cochiti Lake has reopened. The fishing has been fair-to-good for northern pike and bass. Night fishing for catfish could be worthwhile. Tetilla Peak Recreation Area is open, but the campground is closed.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque is no longer being stocked with rainbow trout. It is now being stocked with channel catfish. It was stocked Sept. 1 with a total of 528 catfish averaging 18 inches in size. It was stocked June 8 with 55 largemouth bass averaging 13.7 inches in size. Stockings of rainbow trout should begin again this fall.
The Rio Pueblo near Penasco was flowing at 16.8 cubic-feet-per-second. This is lower than last week, but above normal. It was stocked July 12 with 1,200 rainbow trout. It also has wild brown trout.
The Sipapu Pond was stocked July 12 with 65 rainbow trout.
The Red River below the Fish Hatchery is flowing at 68.8 cubic-feet-per-second. This is higher than last week. It was stocked Sept. 20 with 699 rainbow trout. The Red River above Questa is now open. The streamflow is 41.9 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked Sept. 15 with 2,600 rainbow trout.
The Red River Hatchery Pond is now open. It was stocked Sept. 20 with 401 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 80 rainbow trout averaging 15.9 inches in length. Fishing is for anglers 11 years of age or younger and 65 years old or older. The limit is three-fish-per day.
The Red River City Ponds were stocked Aug. 2 with 68 rainbow trout averaging 15.9 inches in size and with 633 catchable-size rainbow trout. The West Fork of the Red River and the East Fork of the Red River were each stocked Aug. 30 with 301 rainbow trout.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa is open. It was stocked Sept.15 with 500 catchable size rainbow trout and with 54 rainbow trout averaging 16.7 inches in size.