Fishing Report Jan. 29
By George Morse
The news about the weather this coming week is the record-breaking cold temperatures that will be experienced in the Midwestern and Northeastern United States. Some major cities will see daytime highs that will still be below-zero and lows from minus-20 to minus-30 degrees. The wind chills will be even lower at minus-30 to minus-50 degrees. Those are life-threatening conditions.
Fortunately, New Mexico will escape these very cold temperatures. It has not always been so fortunate. In 1971, a bitterly-cold Arctic air mass invaded the Southwest in January. It spread as far west as Arizona, where an all-time record of minus-40 degrees was recorded at Hawley Lake. The temperature dropped to minus-38 degrees here in Espanola. It was minus-47 in Eagle Nest and minus-43 in Cuba.
More recently, a cold air mass hit this area in February of 2011. Lows were well below zero. To compound the emergency, the demand for gas was so high that the gas company shut off the gas areas like Espanola and Taos because the pressure in the gas lines was so low major metropolitan areas like Albuquerque and Santa Fe were threatened. We shivered for several days. We had electric heaters on all over the house.
One of the effects of that freeze was that that spring, rather than blooming, the flower buds on the peach trees just fell off and the trees didn’t bloom. Orchards in Velarde and Rinconada had few if any peaches that year. It happened to several peach trees that we have here in Espanola.
The all-time low temperature for New Mexico was minus-50 degrees in 1950 at Gavilan. Don’t bother looking for Gavilan on most maps. It is a very small community here in western Rio Arriba County just north of the small community of Lindrith. I have talked to people from that area who were there at the time. They say the air was so cold it hurt to breathe it in.
The temperatures have been cold here this winter, but nowhere near record-breaking.
Several lakes that last year never had safe ice are now offering good ice-fishing thanks to the cold temperatures.
Eagle Nest Lake has ice that is about 14 inches thick. The Eagle Nest Lake Ice fishing Tournament Jan. 26 attracted 301 participants and was a big success. The fishing for rainbow trout, yellow perch and a few northern pike has been fair-to-good.
Fenton Lake State Park has had good fishing for trout. If the weather turns warm it might be a good idea to call ahead at (575) 829-3630 to check on ice conditions.
Lake Alice and Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton recently opened for ice fishing. It has been good at both lakes for rainbow trout. Call (575) 445-5607 to check on current ice conditions.
Heron Lake and El Vado Lake in Northern New Mexico do not have safe ice and are closed to fishing. Call (575) 588-7470 to check on conditions.
There were no reports from Abiquiu Lake. Extreme caution must be used if attempting to launch a boat at Abiquiu.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam was stocked Jan. 25 with 567 rainbow trout. The fishing has been very good. The limit here is two-fish-per-day. The streamflow was 200 cubic-feet-per-second.
The streamflow below El Vado Lake on the Chama River was 24.2 cubic-feet-per-second. There were no reports from here.
The Jemez River was stocked Jan. 25 with 1,013 rainbow trout. The best fishing here has been below Battleship Rock. It is likely best near where this stocking took place. Other Jemez streams are iced over.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is frozen over and closed to fishing.
The Rio Grande was stocked Jan. 23 with 2,000 rainbow trout. Much of this stocking was in the Pilar area and the fishing has been fair for trout. The streamflow was 312 cubic-feet-per-second.
The Red River below Questa has fair fishing for rainbow trout using salmon eggs and nymphs. It was not stocked last week.
Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas has been freezing over at night and there were no reports from here.
The Pecos River in the Villanueva area has been fair for stocked rainbow trout.
Monastery Lake near Pecos has been frozen over and is closed to ice fishing.
Over in the Four Corners, there were no reports from Jackson Lake and Lake Farmington. Lake Farmington was stocked Jan. 24 with 1,264 rainbow trout. The fishing might be pretty good here thanks to that recent stocking.
The fishing has been slow at Navajo Lake.
The San Juan River below Navajo Dam was flowing at 280 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been good in the Quality Waters using a variety of patterns and with small jigs. The Quality Waters were stocked five times last week with a total of 32,983 rainbow trout between 7.9-8.6 inches long. The Bait Waters have been fair-to-good.
There were no reports from Cochiti lake.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque was stocked twice last week with a total of 2,398 rainbow trout. The fishing has been very good.
The fishing has been good in the Albuquerque, Belen, Bernalillo and Peralta drainage canals in the Albuquerque area. These drainage canals are stocked with rainbow trout on a weekly basis.
The fishing at Elephant Butte Lake has been fair for white bass and largemouth bass. The night fishing for catfish has been slow-to-fair. There were no reports on the fishing in the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam.
The fishing in the Carlsbad area has been good at Carlsbad Municipal Lake and Lake Van for stocked rainbow trout.
Bill Evans Lake near Silver City was stocked twice with a total of 3,266 rainbow trout and the fishing has been fair. The fishing at Lake Roberts near Silver City has been good for trout.