By GEORGE MORSE
Los Alamos Daily Post
The nights and early mornings are getting cooler now and fall is just around the corner. The cooler temperatures and shorter days will help make the trout a little more active.
Fall-spawning trout species like brown trout and brook trout will start to be more active and begin to develop their fall colors prior to spawning. It won’t be too long that the leaves on the aspen trees start to turn a beautiful gold and the mountains are ablaze with color.
The bow hunting season for elk started Sept. 1 and it won’t be long before the mountains echo with the bugling of bull elk during the rutting season. The hunting seasons for blue grouse and dove also began Sept. 1 and run until the end of November.
The recent monsoon rains have raised streamflows a little bit, but for the most part they still remain well-below normal. The Rio Grande and upper Chama River are still very low. The Rio Embudo is dry near Dixon.
The low streamflows are also happening in Colorado. The Conejos River, which is just over the border and the river you cross coming down from Cumbres Pass and is a favorite of New Mexico anglers because of its excellent fly-fishing conditions and long stretches of river designated Gold Medal trout waters is suffering from low flows. The Colorado Parks and Recreation Division has declared a voluntary closure on the Conejos River from noon until midnight on the stretch of river from Platoro to Broyles Bridge (about 30 miles). Anglers are asked to voluntarily not fish these areas to limit the stress on the wild trout found here.
The reservoirs around New Mexico are experiencing low water levels and boat ramps are still closed on several of them.
The New Mexico Game and Fish Department is still making large stockings of trout where there is enough water and these stocked fish will make up the bulk of your catch. Some of these trout are of good size.
The water level at Abiquiu Lake is still dropping and extreme caution is recommended when launching boats. A four-wheel drive vehicle is strongly recommended. Canoes and kayaks can be launched more easily. The fishing has been fair-to-good for smallmouth bass. They are also catching some walleye.
Fishing at night for catfish would be worth a try. The water is still too warm for trout to be active. Call 505.685.4731 to check on conditions.
The streamflow on the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam has been lowered to around 400 cubic-feet-per second. It might be worth a try, although the water is still very murky. Once the streamflow drops to around 200 cubic-feet-per second or less, the fishing here will improve.
The fishing in the Chama River below El Vado Dam has been very good for brown and rainbow trout. Anglers are also catching a few bass and perch here.
El Vado Lake is very low and the boat ramp is closed. Canoes, kayaks and paddle boards are still permitted. The best fishing is in the deeper water near the dam, where anglers have been catching some bass and perch.
The upper Chama River is running very low. The best area to try is between Heron Dam and El Vado Lake if they are releasing water from beneath Heron Dam. The cold water from Heron Lake helps improve the stream conditions here. Heron Lake is also low, although boats may be launched here. The fishing has been slow at Heron.
The fishing has been slow at Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos. This little lake is probably getting warm and weedy. It has not been stocked in awhile.
The Trout Lakes near Cebolla are likely getting warm, too. They have not been stocked in a few weeks and there were no reports from here.
The fishing has been very good at the Canjilon Lakes, which reopened for fishing Aug. 22 and were heavily-stocked just before reopening. There were some big fish in that stocking and some of them may still be waiting to be caught.
Hopewell Lake between Tierra Amarilla and Tres Piedras has been fair-to-good for trout. It is heavily-stocked with rainbow trout and also has wild brook trout. If you’d like to catch some brookies, try worms instead of Power Bait and salmon eggs. The evening rise at Hopewell can be good for fly fishermen.
The Rio de los Pinos near the Colorado border north of Tres Piedras was stocked Aug. 28 with 1,799 rainbow trout. With the nearby Conejos River reporting low flows, I suspect flows here are low as well. The fishing has been good.
In the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos, Fenton Lake received a welcome shot in the arm with two stockings of rainbow trout. On Aug. 29, 200 rainbow trout averaging almost 18 inches in size were stocked. Another 999 catchable- size rainbow trout were stocked Aug. 30. The fishing has been good. I would suspect the weed growth is getting heavy at Fenton.
The nearby Seven Springs Brood Pond near the Seven Springs Fish Hatchery was stocked Aug. 29 with 200 rainbow trout averaging almost 18 inches in size. It was stocked Aug. 30 with 399 catchable-size rainbow trout. The fishing has been very good.
The Rio Cebolla, which flows into and out of Fenton Lake, was stocked Aug. 30 with 600 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good. The Rio San Antonio near La Cueva was stocked Aug. 30 with 249 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair. Both these streams also have some wild brown trout.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is very low and boats cannot be launched here. There have been no fishing reports from Santa Cruz for some time.
The Rio Grande is running well-below normal. The fishing has been good using flies, bait and lures for brown and rainbow trout.
The Rio Pueblo near Penasco was stocked Aug. 30 with 1,200 rainbow trout. The flow here has risen a little, but still no reports from anglers.
The Red River continues to be heavily stocked and the fishing has been good. It was stocked Aug. 28 with 2,899 rainbow trout above the town of Questa. The Red River Hatchery Pond was stocked Aug. 28 with 398 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 106 rainbow trout averaging 14.8 inches in size.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa was stocked Aug. 28 with 500 rainbow trout averaging 14.8 inches in size and another 449 catchable-size rainbow trout, so the fishing has been very good.
There were no reports from the Fawn Lakes near the town of Red River, but they have been heavily stocked.
The perch fishing at Eagle Nest Lake slowed down a bit, but is still fair-to-good. The fishing for rainbow trout was fair-to-good trolling Panther Martins, wedding rings and Platte River Specials tipped with Power Bait. Anglers are catching a few kokanee. Fishing from the bank has been challenging due to heavy weed growth.
The fishing has been slow-to-fair for northern pike. The 26th Annual Fish Fest continues until Sept. 9. For information, call 575.377.6941.
The Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park was stocked Aug. 27 with 2,425 rainbow trout. The Cimarron Gravel Pit Lakes were stocked Aug. 27 with 100 rainbow trout averaging 14.8 inches in size and with 354 catchable-size rainbow trout. The fishing has been good at the Lakes and on the river.
The fishing for largemouth bass at Stubblefield Lake has been fair for bass up to four pounds. The fishing at Maxwell Lake 13 has been slow.
Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton has been good for trout up to 19 inches.
The fishing at the Charette Lakes near Wagon Mound has been good for trout using Power Bait and salmon eggs.
Morphy Lake State Park remains closed due to repairs being made to the dam.
The fishing at Storrie Lake near Las Vegas remains slow.
The fishing in the Gallinas River near Las Vegas has been good. It was stocked Aug. 28 with 1,001 rainbow trout. The Gallinas Ice Pond was stocked with 201 rainbow trout.
The flow in the Pecos River is below normal, but is a nice level at about 50 cubic-feet-per second. The fishing has been good. It was stocked twice last week with a total of 2,999 rainbow trout.
Monastery Lake near the town of Pecos was stocked Aug. 29 with 900 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good at this little lake all summer.
The fishing at the Cowles Ponds north of the town of Pecos was very good. They are heavily-stocked with rainbow trout.
Over in the Four Corners, there is excellent fishing for northern pike at Navajo Lake. The fishing for smallmouth bass and largemouth bass has been good. The fishing for perch has been good. The fishing for kokanee salmon has been good trolling spinners tipped with Power Bait or corn at 50-to-75 feet of water. The good kokanee fishing this summer at Navajo bodes well for the upcoming salmon snagging season beginning in October.
The streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam was 705 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing in the Quality Waters has been very good with a variety of fly patterns. The fishing in the Bait Waters has been good using flies, lures and bait.
The fishing at Cochiti Lake has been fair for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish and an occasional northern pike. The fishing has been slow-to-fair for white bass and crappie.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque was stocked last week with a total of 498 channel catfish averaging 18 inches in size. The fishing has been good.
Water levels are low at Elephant Butte Lake. The fishing has been excellent for white bass. The fishing has been very good for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. The fishing for walleye and catfish has been good.