Area Fishing and Outdoors Report
By George Morse Sports and Outdoors
Early reports on the opening of grouse season indicate some hunters were successful in finding birds while others didn’t see any. Grouse hunting can be like that. The one day I went out I didn’t see a bird, while other hunters limited out in less than an hour. Grouse are scattered throughout the mountains. Harvest reports indicate some birds were harvested in the El Rito area and others around Tres Piedras.
One interesting statistic in the State Game and Fish Department’s fishing report this week is that there were no trout listed in the Catch of the Week reports, just mostly catfish.
The trout fishing is still fairly slow but good reports have been coming from Heron Lake all summer long. The bank fishing there has been consistently good for rainbow trout, especially near the boat ramps.
The streamflow below El Vado Dam came up some this past week. The fishing is still good in this area thanks to heavy stockings of rainbow trout. Later on this fall, the fishing for wild brown trout should improve in this area as the brown trout will be beginning to spawn.
The fishing above El Vado in the Chama River should be good and later in September you may be surprised to catch some kokanee salmon that will move up from El Vado Lake. The stretch of the Chama from Heron Dam down to El Vado Lake is difficult to fish, but holds some big brown trout and rainbow trout. The fishing in El Vado Lake remains pretty good for smallmouth bass and they are catching a few perch as well.
The fishing for smallmouth bass has been good at Abiquiu Lake. If you’d like some excitement, try using topwater lures in the morning at Abiquiu. The walleye fishing has been fair-to-good using curlytail jigs and nightcrawlers. It will be awhile until the water cools down enough in the lake for the trout fishing to pick up. The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam still remains too high and muddy for good fishing. The flows need to come down and the water needs to clear more before the fishing picks up below Abiquiu Dam.
Fishing in the small streams of the Jemez Mountains picked up recently, with good reports coming from the Jemez River, the Rio Cebolla and the Rio San Antonio. These streams are well-stocked with rainbow trout and have wild brown trout. There is some good grouse hunting in the Jemez Mountains if you know where to look.
Fenton Lake has been fishing better with recent stockings. There are some big, wild brown trout in Fenton Lake and there should be a few lunkers caught this fall as the browns will become more active.
The streamflows on the Rio Grande are at good levels and the fishing has been good for trout. Now is the time to start planning a trip to the Rio Grande Gorge near Questa. The brown trout fishing should pick up as fall approaches.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa has consistently had good fishing this summer thanks to heavy stockings of rainbow trout from the nearby Red River Fish Hatchery. As usual, the Red River received another heavy stocking of trout last week.
The fishing at the Shuree Ponds on the Valle Vidal was very good for the big rainbow trout they stock here.
Heading south and east, the fishing in the Pecos River has been good. A unique fishing opportunity will be available beginning Sept. 14 when the stretch of the Pecos River that runs through Pecos National Historical Park will open for angling. There are special regulations governing this fishing, which is catch-and-release only with flies or lures with a single, barbless hook. The river is divided into sections, called “beats” and there is a limit as to the number of anglers. There is a daily fee and other restrictions. To learn more, visit the Pecos National Historical Park website.
The fishing at Monastery Lake near Pecos has been good.
Lake Maloya near Raton continues to have good fishing. If you have a Colorado fishing license, go over Raton Pass and try your luck at Trinidad Reservoir, where there’s good fishing for trout and a variety of warmwater species. Later this fall, do yourself a favor and drive the Highway of Legends between Trinidad and Walsenberg for spectacular scenery.
It won’t be long until fall arrives and the aspen trees put on their brilliant, golden fall colors. A drive over Cumbres Pass between the town of Chama and Antonito, Colo. offers breathtaking scenery. When you get into Colorado, try a drive up the Conejos River to Platoro for some spectacular scenery and fine fall fishing.
It’s a great time of the year to be outdoors.