Weekly Fishing Report

by Staff Reporter / Feb 07, 2018 / comments

Weekly Fishing Report

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The weather was warm this past week and that’s having an effect on the ice fishing opportunities in New Mexico. The best fishing now is on the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam and El Vado Dam. Some lakes that still have open water have fair-to-good fishing.

The hotspot is still the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam. Word has gotten out about the fishing here and it can get crowded at this location. You can escape some of the crowds by moving downstream and fishing some of the pools where there are fewer anglers. One nice thing about fishing here is the great scenery and the flocks of Canada geese that fly overhead.

This section of the Chama has been heavily stocked this winter. The State Game and Fish Department stocked 513 rainbow trout Jan. 31 in the Chama below Abiquiu. The streamflow on the Chama below Abiquiu is extremely low even for this time of year. The streamflow Tuesday (2/6) was just 35 cubic-feet-per second. Most of the fish being caught are stocked rainbow trout, although a few bigger rainbows in the 17-inch range have been caught. No reports of any big brown trout being caught.

The Chama below El Vado Dam has been fair-to-good. You have a better chance of hooking a brown trout here.

The fishing in the Rio Grande picked up last week for both trout and northern pike. The Rio Grande is running a little above normal and the water is clear. Drifting nymphs and patterns like the San Juan worm will produce for fly fisherman. Bait anglers might try drifting salmon eggs through the deeper pools. Large streamers will entice northern pike for fly fisherman, while spin anglers should try Rapalas and crank baits. Spinners might also work for pike, but use larger sizes than you would for trout. 

Eagle Nest Lake still does not have ice thick enough for safe conditions and is still closed to fishing. To say this is unusual for a lake like Eagle Nest would be an understatement. Eagle Nest would normally be the premier ice-fishing destination in the state and offer good fishing for rainbow trout and yellow perch. The fishing during the winter would be so good that there were a good number of anglers who would look forward to the ice-fishing season, actually preferring it to the open-water fishing.

A popular ice-fishing tournament that is scheduled annually at Eagle Nest has been canceled and the way things are going, there may not be an ice-fishing season at Eagle Nest. With no fishing to speak of at Eagle Nest, it may have an impact on the local economy.

Maybe it will get cold enough for limited ice fishing, but a more likely scenario is that the warm weather will melt enough ice to create some open-water fishing opportunities. For the fishing and ice conditions, call the state park office at (575) 377-1594.

The only opportunity for ice fishing is at Lake Alice in Sugarite  Canyon State Park near Raton, where the fishing has been good.

Lake Maloya, also in Sugarite Canyon State Park, does not have safe ice. The warmer temperatures have been creating some open-water fishing at Lake Maloya and the fishing has been very good in the open-water areas.  Call the state park office at (575) 445-5607 to check on the current fishing conditions at both lakes.

The bank fishing for rainbow trout at Heron Lake has been slow-to-fair. I’m still surprised there are no reports of small lake trout being caught from the bank at Heron.

There are no reports from Abiquiu Lake, but it might be worth a try for rainbow trout. With the warmer temperatures, walleye may start moving into shallower water soon. A nightcrawler would likely be the best bait to use if this happens.

Fenton Lake is frozen over and closed to fishing. The warmer temperatures could melt enough of the ice to allow for some open water at Fenton and the fishing should be pretty good in those areas. Call the state park office at (575) 829-3630 to check on the fishing conditions.

The streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam is 353 cubic-feet-per second and the fishing has been good in the Quality Waters with a variety of fly patterns. The fishing in the Bait Waters has been fair-to-good.

The fishing in the Animas River, which flows through Aztec, has been good. Lake Farmington has been fair for rainbow trout.

The best fishing in the state may be in Southern New Mexico.

The fishing at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque is very good for rainbow trout, with weekly stockings of trout by the State Game and Fish Department. The fishing in the drainage canals in the Albuquerque area has been good for stocked trout and they’ve even been catching some largemouth bass from some of them.

The smaller municipal lakes in Southern New Mexico all receive regular stockings of rainbow trout during the winter and the fishing has been good. Some of the better lakes in Southern New Mexico are Lake Roberts and Bear Canyon Reservoir near Silver City in the southwest and Alto Lake and Grindstone Reservoir near Ruidoso in the southeast. These lakes are well-stocked with trout. At Lake Roberts, you might hook a Gila trout, which have been stocked there. Bear Canyon has catfish and crappie which are starting to bite now.

The fishing at Elephant Butte Reservoir should start to pick up as the weather warms up. The fishing for stocked rainbow trout below Elephant Butte Dam has been slow, as practically no water is being released from Elephant Butte Reservoir.