By GEORGE MORSE
Los Alamos Daily Post
The shorter days and cooler temperatures are stirring the trout from their summer doldrums and fishing conditions are improving throughout Northern New Mexico.
The aspens are starting to show some color and bull elk will likely be bugling in the mountains. Fall is the best time of the year to be enjoying the beautiful outdoors in New Mexico.
The State Game and Fish Department continues to stock thousands of rainbow trout and some very big trout averaging over 18 inches in size were stocked last week. Streamflows continue to be low and reservoirs are still suffering from low water levels. This coming winter is forecast to be an El Nino year, which normally means increased moisture across the Southwest, including New Mexico. This moisture is desperately needed.
The bow-hunting season for elk is well-under way. Hunters likely faced some tough conditions in the first half of the season given the hot and dry conditions. Hopefully, conditions will improve in October. The hunting seasons for blue grouse, dove and squirrel are open, so be sure to bring your shotgun along when you head out into the mountains. The grouse hunting seems to be a little down this year, possibly because of the dry weather. You can sometimes get lucky and see birds along the road. They are excellent eating.
The water level at Abiquiu Lake continues to be very low and extreme caution must be used when launching boats. A four-wheel drive vehicle is strongly recommended. The fishing for smallmouth bass has been fair. No reports on walleye, but they should start moving into shallower water with the cooler weather. Still a little too warm for trout to be active, but it won’t be long.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam was stocked Sept. 17 with 1,061 rainbow trout. The water here is still very murky and the flow still a little high for good fishing.
The Chama River below El Vado Dam has been very good and it was stocked Sept. 17 with 437 rainbow trout. Brown trout should be becoming more active here as their spawning season approaches. The trout fishing below Heron Dam on the Chama River above El Vado Lake, which I have been recommending, has been good.
No reports on the fishing at El Vado Lake, where the boat ramps are closed. The kokanee salmon snagging season starts Oct. 1. It may not be very good. The best spot to try should be near the dam.
Water levels at Heron Lake have been steadily dropping and the La Laja boat ramp is no longer useable. The only boat launching area is the primitive boat ramp near the dam. The fishing has been very slow and the water is murky.
The upper Chama River was stocked Sept. 17 with 728 rainbow trout. The streamflow above the town of Chama and at La Puente remains very low.
Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos was stocked Sept. 17 with 437 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 121 rainbow trout averaging over 18 inches in size. There were no reports from here, but it should be at least fair for stocked trout.
The Canjilon Lakes have been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout. There may still be some of those big stockers averaging over 18 inches left to be caught.
The trout fishing at the Trout Lakes near Cebolla has been slow.
Hopewell Lake between Tierra Amarilla and Tres Piedras should be fair-to-good, but there were no reports from here.
The wild brook trout in Hopewell should be a little more active as their spawning season approaches.
The Rio de los Pinos north of Tres Piedras near the Colorado border was stocked Sept. 18 with 1,800 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
In the Jemez Mountains behind Los Alamos, the fishing at Fenton Lake has been fair-to-good. It has both stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. The fishing on the Rio Cebolla below Fenton Lake has been good for brown and rainbow trout.
The fishing at the Seven Springs Brood Pond near the Seven Springs Fish Hatchery has been good. Some good-sized rainbow trout are stocked here and it also has some big, wild brown trout too.
The Jemez River and the east fork of the Jemez River have been fair-to-good. The Rio San Antonio near La Cueva has been good and the Guadalupe River has been good. An angler reported that there is a dead zone on the Rio Guadalupe up to mile marker seven. All these streams contain stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is very low. The first fishing report in at least a month from here rated the fishing as fair-to-good for rainbow trout.
The Rio Grande was stocked at Pilar Sept. 21 with 3,999 rainbow trout. Above Pilar in the Orilla Verde Recreation Area, the Rio Grande was stocked with 500 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good for trout. The fishing for smallmouth bass has been slow-to-fair. Streamflow on the Rio Grande is low, but the cooler temperatures should improve the fishing here.
The Red River has been good most of the summer. It was stocked below the town of Questa Sept. 18 with 699 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 200 rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size. The Red River Hatchery Pond was stocked with 400 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 150 rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size. The fishing has been good in the river and at the Hatchery Pond.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa is heavily-stocked and the fishing has been fair-to-good.
Eagle Nest Lake continues to be a good spot to catch a mess of yellow perch. The trout fishing has been fair trolling wedding rings, Platte River Specials and kokanee killers tipped with Power Bait. The kokanee salmon snagging season starts Oct. 1 and might be okay, but is often hit-or-miss here. Anglers were picking up some salmon trolling here this summer.
The Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park and the Cimarron Gravel Pit Lakes have been good for stocked rainbow trout and there are some wild brown trout in the river here.
There have been no reports from Stubblefield Lake and Maxwell Lake 13. The cooler weather should help improve the trout fishing at Maxwell Lake 13 and there are some good-sized fish here. The fishing for largemouth bass at Stubblefield Lake should pick up too.
Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton was stocked Sept. 17 with 3,000 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 250 rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size. The fishing here has been good all summer. Lake Alice, also at Sugarite Canyon State Park, was stocked with 499 rainbow trout.
Coyote Creek at Guadalupita State Park near Mora was stocked Sept. 19 with 800 rainbow trout. The Coyote CreekPond was stocked with 601 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good.
Morphy Lake State Park remains closed due to repairs on the dam.
The fishing at Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas remains slow.
The fishing in the Gallinas River near Las Vegas has been good.
The Pecos River between the towns of Pecos and Cowles was stocked with a total of 3,000 rainbow trout last week and the fishing has been good. There are some big wild brown trout here too.
Monastery Lake near the town of Pecos was stocked Sept. 19 with 1,001 rainbow trout. The fishing here has been good all summer. The fishing at the Cowles Ponds north of Pecos has also been good.
Over in the Four Corners, the fishing at Navajo Lake has been very good for northern pike. It has been good for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and perch. The kokanee salmon snagging season starts Oct. 1 and it may be good here at Navajo since anglers were having good luck trolling for kokanee during the summer. Snagging is prohibited in the no-wake area from Oct. 1 through Nov. 8.
The streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam was 837 cubic-feet-per-second Monday. Another monster brown trout over 30 inches in length was caught and released here last week. That’s the second lunker brown trout over 30 inches that has been reported this year. It seems like they’ve been catching more brown trout in the San Juan this season. The fishing has been very good with a variety of fly patterns in the Quality Waters. The fishing in the Bait Waters below the Quality Waters has been good with flies, lures and bait.
The fishing at Cochiti Lake has been fair for white bass, catfish, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.
The fishing at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque has been slow-to-fair for stocked catfish.
Elephant Butte Lake remains very low, although Tuesday they stopped releasing water from below Elephant Butte Dam.
The fishing has been very good at the lake for catfish. The fishing has been good for white bass, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. The fishing is slow-to-fair for walleye. The fishing for catfish in the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam has been very good for catfish.