Fishing Report: Smallmouth Bass & More

by Staff Reporter / May 11, 2017 / comments
A legal-size (over 12 inches) smallmouth bass from Abiquiu Lake. Bass of this size are just right for making “Filet-O-Fish” sandwiches. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Fishing Report: Smallmouth Bass & More

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The weather turned sour Tuesday (5/8) and for a little while there was quarter-size hail falling in the back yard. There was even a tornado warning! The sound of the hail hitting the roof as I was typing this report gave it away and looking outside I saw big white hailstones sitting in the garden. Fortunately, the fall of hail wasn’t heavy and didn’t last long. Hail that size can sure do a number on gardens and fruit trees if it’s heavy. I’ve seen a few really bad ones over the years.

The only fishing that I got in around writing and state track meets was a short trip to Abiquiu Lake. The smallmouth fishing was still good. I like to use my light rod for this type of fishing because the smallmouths put up a heck of a fight and even the little ones are fun to catch. I kept one of legal size (over 12 inches) because I wanted to make a “Filet-O-Fish” sandwich at home. A legal-size smallmouth yields two filets that are just the right size.

If you don’t know how to filet a fish, I suggest you look it up on the Internet or, like I did years ago before computers, read it in a book. Just make sure your filet knife has a thin blade and is very sharp.

Basically, you run your knife along the backbone on one side of the fish, being careful not to cut through the ribs. Flip the filet skin side down and run your knife between the meat and the skin. Do the same thing with the other side. Done right, you should have two boneless and skinless filets.

Dip the filets in a beaten egg, then some flour or whatever coating you wish (cornmeal, cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, etc.). Fry them in hot oil of your choice. Make sure the oil is hot so that the outside crisps right away and the oil doesn’t soak in. Fry until golden brown. Toast an onion roll or sesame-seeded bun and smear it with tartar sauce. I like to add a slice of cheddar cheese to mine. You can add other condiments, lettuce or a slice of onion if you like. Delicious.

This is a great way to eat most of the so-called warmwater fish like walleye, perch, crappie and bluegill. I haven’t tried catfish, but that would probably be good too.

The streamflows remain high and the Chama River at La Puente is running at a rip-roaring 3,600 cubic-feet-per-second. Even higher than the Rio Grande. They cut back the flow below El Vado Dam and this might be a good spot to try if you prefer river fishing. With so much water coming into El Vado and not that much going out, water levels should rise dramatically in El Vado Lake. The water is rising in Abiquiu Lake too. The stump I hung that big rainbow trout on a few weeks ago was underwater when I went back.

  • The walleye fishing is heating up at Abiquiu and anglers are having good luck trolling crankbaits and flinging curly-tail jigs. The smallmouth bass fishing is good and the big females should start moving into the shallows soon to spawn.
  • Fishing at Heron Lake picked up for rainbow trout and anglers are catching some kokanee salmon from the bank and trolling.
  • Laguna del Campo is fishing well. This lake is limited to anglers under 14 years old and over 65 years old. An adult may fish if assisting younger or older anglers.
  • The fishing at Fenton Lake remains very good.
  • Lake Alice and Lake Maloya near Raton are rated as very good. Morphy Lake near Las Vegas has been very good. The fishing at Storrie Lake picked up for trout and catfish are starting to bite.
  • Fenton Lake, Laguna del Campo, Lake Maloya and Morphy Lake all received stockings of bigger-than-average trout averaging over 15 inches last week.