By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
The closures due to extreme fire conditions continue. Santa Fe National Forest and Carson National Forest lands are now closed the all activities. Many of New Mexico’s state parks are also closed.
Areas that are still open will likely be crowded and campgrounds already filled. Best to call ahead and check on your destination if planning a trip.
With the popular Memorial Day Holiday three-day weekend (May 28-30) coming up, this week’s report will try to focus on locations where anglers can still go and fish, with emphasis on Los Alamos-based anglers.
For day trips from Los Alamos, Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo would be the closest fishing spot still open. The Lake is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which has not closed any of its properties as of yet.
Santa Cruz Lake has open water and fishing has been good. It was stocked May 2 with 3,208 catchable size rainbow trout and with 300 rainbow trout averaging 18.3 inches in size. The Overlook Campground is open. The lake is open Thursday- Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. For updated conditions, check the Bureau of Land Management website at: blm.gov/visit/santa-cruz-lake-recreation-area 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 677 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. This is lower than last week. The fishing had been fair for rainbow trout and brown trout. The Rio Grande at Pilar was stocked May 19 with 8,273 rainbow 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 is open for fishing from the Colorado/New Mexico state line downstream through the Wild Rivers Recreation Area.
State Parks that are currently closed due to extreme fire conditions include: Fenton Lake, Cimarron Canyon, Morphy Lake, Coyote Creek, Pecos Canyon. The following State Parks are open for fishing.
Eagle Nest Lake at Eagle Nest State Park is now open to bank fishing. Boating is closed as the lake is being used as a source of water to fight the Calf Creek/Hermit Peak Wildfire. It was stocked April 19 with 82,237 fingerling kokanee salmon. A new state-record kokanee was caught at Eagle Nest last year. Fishing should be good for rainbow trout, yellow perch and northern pike. It was stocked several times last week with a total of 12,364 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 709 rainbow trout averaging 15.8 inches in size. For more information and current conditions, call (575).377.1594.
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 Maloya was stocked April 25 with 2,998 rainbow trout. Lake Alice was stocked with 497 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 May 2 with 3,605 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 276 rainbow trout averaging 15.4 inches in size. Call (575).374.8808 for current conditions.
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.
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.
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 and waterdogs. The limit on tiger muskies is one-per-day at least 40 inches in length. Boating is closed. Call (505).876.2391 for current conditions.
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 Fishing for catfish has been good. It was stocked April 20 with 219,027 kokanee salmon fingerlings. Boating conditions are good. Call (505).632.2278 for conditions.
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 29 cubic-feet-per-second. This is about the same as last week and less than 25-percent of 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 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 May 3 with 2,268 rainbow trout.
Also in the Four Corners area, Tiger Park Pond and Aztec Pond #1 in Aztec are being stocked. Tiger Park Pond was stocked May 3 with 864 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 150 rainbow trout averaging 18.3 inches in size. Aztec Pond was stocked May 18 with 406 catchable-size rainbow trout..
Lake Farmington has been stocked again. April 25, it was stocked with 1,494 rainbow trout. This lake is managed by the City of Farmington.
The trout fishing has been good in the Jemez River below Jemez Springs (closed above Jemez Springs). The streamflow is now 15.5 cubic-feet-per-second. This is very low. The fish are concentrated in deeper pools. It was stocked May 17 with 1,000 rainbow trout.
The following locations are also 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, but should be rising. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for launching boats. The fishing has been slow for walleye and smallmouth bass. Trout fishing could pick up. There are some good-sized trout in Abiquiu. It was stocked April 26 with 516,849 walleye fry. Call 505.685.4371 for more information.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is flowing at 549 cubic-feet-per-second. The water here is high and murky. It was stocked May 19 with 9,767 rainbow trout. The fishing is likely slow 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 544 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. You may hook a cutthroat trout here. It was stocked twice last week with 2,975 rainbow trout. The state-record brown trout was caught here.
Above El Vado Lake, spring runoff has begun on the Chama River. The streamflow at La Puente was 306 cubic-feet-per-second. This is lower than last week. It was stocked May 16 with 1,071 rainbow trout.
Streamflow in the Rio Brazos was 126 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked May 16 with 560 rainbow trout.
Laguna del Campo, a small lake near Los Ojos, is open. It was stocked May 17 with346 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 90 rainbow trout averaging 16 inches in size. Fishing here is for anglers 11 years old and younger or 65 years old and older. The limit is three-trout-per-day
The Charette Lakes between Wagon Mound and Springer have good fishing for good-sized, holdover rainbow trout. Lower Charette Lake was stocked April 19 with 2,249 rainbow trout.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque is no longer being stocked with rainbow trout. It is now being stocked with channel catfish. It was stocked May 5 with 480 catfish averaging 18 inches in size.
The Red River below the Fish Hatchery is flowing at 96.2 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked May 17 with 698 trout.
The Red River Hatchery Pond is now open. It was stocked May 17 with 400 catchble-size rainbow trout and with 80 rainbow trout averaging 15.4 inches in size. Fishing is for anglers 11 years of age or younger and 65 years old or older. The limit is three-fish-per day.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa may be open. This little lake is right off the highway between Questa and Red River. It was last stocked May 5 with 398 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 55 rainbow trout averaging 16.4 inches in size.