By George Morse
Fishing Report April 16, 2019
The weather last week went from warm to terrible in a hurry. A week ago Tuesday (4/9) it was warm and like spring. The next day, Wednesday, the wind was howling and it was miserable. Thursday the wind let up just a little, but the cold temperatures that moved in stung your face if you were a spectator at a softball game. Snow showers moved in and out all day, letting you know winter was not quite ready to let go. Friday was still pretty chilly with lingering rain and snow showers. Saturday the weather was cool but clearing here in the Rio Grande Valley. Snow storms in Eastern New Mexico brought an early end to track meets there. By Sunday, warm spring temperatures had returned. It was a great day for working or playing outdoors.
The peak of spring runoff from the melting snowpack is still weeks away. Most of the streams and rivers here in Northern New Mexico are running a little below normal. The Rio Grande is running well below normal at Cerro near the Colorado border, indicating that they are filling the irrigation canals and likely holding water in the reservoirs near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.
It’s tough to figure out what the plan is for Abiquiu Lake. The water level here is extremely low and still dropping. They are letting more water out of Abiquiu (822 cubic-feet-per-second) than was coming in (373 cubic-feet-per-second) Tuesday. They must be expecting a lot of water later this spring.
One place where that water is going and being stored is Elephant Butte Lake. They are really trying to raise the water level here after it bottomed out at just three-percent of capacity last summer. Currently, they are not releasing any water from Elephant Butte Lake, while the inflow above the lake is a healthy 1,730 cubic-feet-per-second.
You can check out the streamflows around the state on the United States Geological Survey website: waterdata.usgs.gov/nm.
The winter stockings of rainbow trout in Southern New Mexico have come to an end. Except for a few areas the water here gets too warm to sustain trout through the summer. Most of the stockings of rainbow trout will now be concentrated in the northern half of our state.
Because of the low water level at Abiquiu Lake, the boat ramp is well out of the water and launching boats is extremely difficult. Bank fishing at Abiquiu can be difficult because of the numerous snags found here. Better to wait and hope the water level starts rising to where the boat ramp is useable once again. Abiquiu is popular not just for fishing but for other forms of aquatic activities like boating, jet-skiing and water skiing. Let’s hope that those activities will be available later this summer.
Fishing the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is not a good option either. The strong streamflow from below the Dam make for difficult and slow fishing conditions here.
The streamflow below El Vado Dam is a more fishable 373 cubic-feet-per-second. There were no reports from here, but it should be worth a try.
No reports also from El Vado Lake. The fishing has been fair for smallmouth bass and there are some big trout, especially brown trout, in El Vado that can be caught this time of year. El Vado Lake was stocked April 10 with 35,818 small rainbow trout.
The fishing from the bank at Heron Lake for holdover rainbow trout has been good. No reports of any lake trout being caught, but they can be caught from the bank this time of year.
The upper Chama River has yet to really start to swell with runoff above Chama. At La Puente, the Chama is flowing at 796 cubic-feet-per-second, which is just below normal for this time of year. Expect the Chama to start rising dramatically very soon.
There have been no reports yet from the Rio de los Pinos near the Colorado border. During the high water of spring runoff some bigger-than-average trout , especially brown trout, can be caught here, but the high water can make the fishing tough.
Runoff is still going strong in the Jemez Mountains, with the Jemez River running at 196 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing is slow here. The fishing in the Rio Cebolla near Fenton Lake is better and has been good for trout. The San Antonio River near La Cueva was stocked April 10 with 761 rainbow trout. There are also some nice brown trout in this little stream.
Fenton Lake has been very good and is being heavily stocked. It was stocked April 10 with 1,530 rainbow trout. There are some big brown trout in this lake.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond has been good for trout. Fishing here is limited to anglers under 12 years of age. It has some good-sized rainbow trout and brown trout.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo has been good with flies, spinners and Power Bait. It is full and flowing over the spillway.
The Rio Grande is currently running below normal at 437 cubic-feet-per second at Taos Junction Bridge. The fishing has been fair. The annual caddis fly hatch should begin soon. The Rio Grande near Pilar was stocked April 10 with 1,999 rainbow trout. The Rio Grande above Pilar was stocked with 250 rainbow trout. Try fishing near the John Dunn Bridge where the Rio Hondo enters the Rio Grande. The fishing has been fair-to-good in the Rio Hondo.
The Rio Pueblo near Penasco was stocked April 9 with 1,199 rainbow trout. It is currently flowing a little above normal at 95.4 cubic-feet-per-second. No reports on how the fishing has been.
The Red River near Questa is flowing near normal for this time of year. The fishing is fair. The fishing has been good at the Red River Hatchery Pond.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa has been good for stocked rainbow trout. It was stocked April 11 with 500 rainbow trout.
Eagle Nest Lake has been fair-to-good for trout and fair-to-good for northern pike. No reports on the perch fishing.
The Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park has been fair-to-good. No reports on the Gravel Pit Lakes, which have yet to be stocked this year.
The fishing at Maxwell Lake 13 has been fair. There are some good-sized holdover trout here, as well as recently-stocked trout.
The fishing at Lake Maloya in Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton has been very good for rainbow trout. Lake Alice, also in Sugarite Canyon State Park, has been good for trout.
The Charette Lakes between Wagon Mound and Springer received a heavy stocking April 8 of 2,499 rainbow trout. In addition, 250 rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size were stocked. The fishing has been good.
Coyote Creek in Guadalupita State Park near Mora was stocked April 9 with 801 rainbow trout. The Coyote Creek Pond was stocked with 599 rainbow trout. No reports yet from here, but it should be worth a try.
Storrie Lake near Las Vegas has been fair for trout.
The Gallinas River near Las Vegas was stocked April 9 with 1,000 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair-to-good. The Gallinas Ice Pond was stocked with 200 rainbow trout.
The Pecos River is flowing at a strong 198 cubic-feet-per-second near the town of Pecos. It was stocked April 9 with 499 rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair. There have been some big rainbow trout caught recently.
The fishing has been fair-to-good at Monastery Lake near Pecos. It was stocked April 9 with 249 rainbow trout.
Over in the Four Corners area, the San Juan River below Navajo Dam is flowing at 338 cubic-feet-per-second. The water is still murky but fishing picked up a little bit in the Quality Waters and the Bait Waters.
They are catching some big trout trolling at Navajo Lake and the fishing has been fair-to-good. The fishing is slow-to-fair for largemouth and smallmouth bass. They are catching a few northern pike.
The fishing has been fair at Jackson Lake and at Lake Farmington. Jackson Lake was stocked April 8 with 448 rainbow trout. Lake Farmington was stocked with 1,891 rainbow trout.
The fishing has been slow-to-fair at Cochiti Lake for catfish, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque has not been stocked recently but the fishing is still fair-to-good for previously-stocked trout. The drainage canals in the Albuquerque area are no longer being stocked.
The fishing for crappie has been very good at Elephant Butte Lake. The fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass has picked up and some big bass are being caught. The fishing for walleye, white bass and catfish has been good.
The fishing has been fair-to-good at Lake Roberts near Silver City for trout and catfish. No reports on the fishing for largemouth bass. It was stocked April 12 with 1,499 rainbow trout.