Fishing Report July 2, 2019
By George Morse
New Mexico anglers like to travel to Southern Colorado to fish some of the admittedly great rivers, lakes and streams there. Unfortunately, they are in for an unpleasant surprise this year.
The 2018 Colorado legislature passed a bill (Senate Bill 18-143) that increases the cost of all fishing licenses, with particularly big increases to nonresident fees. In past seasons, the cost of a season, nonresident fishing license with a second-rod stamp was $61. 00. This year, that same license would cost $104 now.
In addition, the cost of a one-day nonresident license increased from $8 to $15. The cost of a five-day nonresident fishing license from $20 to $30.
In section 2c-I of the Senate Bill one of the goals of the fees increase is to increase the number of anglers. Raising the cost of something does not sound like a particularly effective method of increasing participation.
In section 2c-VIII, another goal of the fees increase is to increase the number of fish stocked to 90 million by renovating the hatchery system.
However, Section 6, sub-section 1.8 which would have had moneys related to the fee increase for fishing licenses allocated for use in the fisheries and hatcheries operated by the division was deleted from the final bill. Money realized from the fee increases for fishing licenses would not necessarily go to improving the fisheries or hatcheries.
In past fishing reports, some fishing spots in Colorado were mentioned and recommended. This will not happen now in order to avoid sticker shock by New Mexico anglers when they go to purchase Colorado nonresident fishing licenses. These increases seem excessive if not downright punitive.
On the bright side, fishing here in New Mexico is good at a number of spots and you don’t need to go to Colorado to find good fishing. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish continues to keep popular fishing spots well-stocked.
It’s tough to figure out just what is going on at Abiquiu Lake. The water level fluctuates and currently is still low despite the heavy spring runoff. They are moving water through Abiquiu rather than holding it. A four-wheel drive vehicle is still being recommended for the launching of boats. Consequently, the fishing has been inconsistent and slow for walleye, smallmouth bass and crappie.
The streamflow in the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam remains heavy at 1,390 cubic-feet-per-second and the fishing is slow.
The fishing is better on the Chama River below El Vado Dam, where the streamflow is a more manageable 924 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair-to-good for brown trout and rainbow trout.
The fishing in El Vado Lake has been good for bass, with no report on other species. It’s interesting how El Vado has transitioned from a trout lake to a bass lake.
Keep an eye on the streamflow in the upper Chama River above El Vado Lake. Currently it is 924 cubic-feet-per-second and has been dropping. Once it drops to about half of what it is now, the fishing should be very good.
The fishing at Heron Lake has been slow.
The best fishing is found in the smaller lakes. The Canjilon Lakes were stocked June 24 with 1,155 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 185 rainbow trout averaging 16.8 inches in size. They were stocked again June 26 with 585 catchable size rainbow trout. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
The Trout Lakes near Cebolla were stocked June 25 with 885 rainbow trout, but the fishing has been slow.
Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos has been good for stocked rainbow trout. The fishing here is for anglers 14 years-of-age or younger and for anglers 65 years-of-age or older. An adult in direct supervision of younger anglers may also fish.
Hopewell Lake between Tierra Amarilla and Tres Piedras has been good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brook trout. Fly anglers have been doing particularly well in the evenings.
The Rio de los Pinos near the Colorado border has been running high and there have been no reports from here. It has already been stocked several times and was stocked again June 27 with 1,790 rainbow trout. The fishing should be good here for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout.
Over in the Jemez Mountains are, the fishing in the small streams has been good now that spring runoff has subsided. The Jemez River, the East Fork of the Jemez River, the Rio Cebolla near Fenton Lake and the Rio San Antonio near La Cueva are all fishing well. They have stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. The Rio de las Vacas and the Rio Guadeloupe should also be fishing well.
The fishing at Fenton Lake has been good and it is being heavily stocked. It was stocked June 25 with 4,137 rainbow trout.
The fishing at the Seven Springs Brood Pond north of Fenton Lake near the Seven Springs Fish Hatchery has been very good. The fishing here is for anglers under 12 years-of-age.
San Gregorio Lake was stocked June 27 with 3,942 rainbow trout. The fishing should pick up here with this recent stocking.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo has been good. The fishing here should be slowing down soon as it tends to get warm here and the trout retreat to deeper water.
The Rio Grande is still blasting away with spring runoff. Great for river rafters and kayakers, but not for fishing. If you do fish the Rio Grande, concentrate on fishing the edges of the current rather than the main current.
The Rio Pueblo near Penasco has been fishing well, especially in the Sipapu area where a lot of stocking takes place. It has been heavily stocked and also has wild brown trout. It was stocked June 25 with 1,201 rainbow trout.
The Red River has been fishing well below the Red River Fish Hatchery. The Red River above Questa was stocked June 25 with 1,800 rainbow trout.
The Red River Hatchery Pond was stocked June 25 with 399 rainbow trout. The fishing here is for anglers 14 years-of-age or younger and for anglers 65 years-of-age or older. It has been good for stocked rainbow trout.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa has been good for stocked rainbow trout.
Although the State Fishing Report says the Shuree Ponds on the Valle Vidal are closed for the season, this may be wrong because they should have opened to fishing July 1 and have been stocked. They are well-stocked with good-sized rainbow trout. The fishing is with artificial flies and lures with a single, barbless hook.
Eagle Nest Lake has been good for rainbow trout. The fishing for perch has been fair. The fishing was slow for northern pike and kokanee salmon. It was stocked June 26 with 7,715 small rainbow trout.
The fishing in the Cimarron River below Eagle Nest Dam in Cimarron Canyon State Park has been good. This stream is heavily-stocked with rainbow trout and has wild brown trout. It was stocked june 26 with 2,426 rainbow trout.
The Cimarron Gravel Pit lakes at Maverick Campground were stocked June 26 with 356 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 45 rainbow trout averaging 16.5 inches in size.. The fishing has been good.
There were no reports on the fishing at Stubblefield Lake and the fishing was slow at Maxwell Lake 13. Stubblefield Lake has walleye, largemouth bass and catfish. Maxwell Lake 13 has the same species and is also stocked with rainbow trout. The water at Maxwell Lake 13 is likely getting warm and the trout are moving to deeper water.
The fishing has been good at Lake Maloya in Sugarite canyon State Park near Raton. There were no reports from Lake Alice.
The fishing at Clayton Lake is good on cloudy days for trout. The water here is getting warm and the trout fishing should soon slow down. A few walleye are also being caught. The fishing for catfish is fair. The boat ramp is closed.
The Charette Lakes were stocked June 24 with 2,401 rainbow trout. No reports on the fishing, but it should be at least fair.
Coyote Creek at Guadalupita State Park has been good with bait and flies. The Coyote Creek Pond is also worth a try. The Creek was stocked June 24 with 801 rainbow trout and the Pond was stocked with 599 rainbow trout.
The trout fishing at Storrie Lake near Las Vegas has been good thanks to a recent stocking.
There were no reports from the Gallinas River near Las Vegas. It was stocked June 25 with 1,101 rainbow trout. The Gallinas Ice Pond was stocked with 200 rainbow trout. They should be worth a try.
The fishing in the Pecos River between the towns of Pecos and Cowles has been fair-to-good for brown trout and rainbow trout. The streamflow is currently at 156 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked twice last week with a total of 2,999 rainbow trout.
The fishing has been good at Monastery Lake near the town of Pecos. It was stocked June 26 with 901 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 95 rainbow trout averaging 14.9 inches in size.
No reports from the Cowles Ponds. They should be at least fair for stocked trout.
Conchas Lake on the Canadian River has been very good for bluegill. The fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye and white bass has been good.
The fishing at Santa Rosa Lake near Santa Rosa has been fair for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and walleye. It has been fair-to-good for catfish.
Sumner Lake between Santa Rosa and Fort Sumner has been fair-to-good for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, catfish and white bass.
Over in the Four Corners, the streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam was 609 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair-to-good with a variety of fly patterns in the Quality Waters. Smaller fly patterns are working best in the stretch of the San Juan above the Texas Hole, while bigger fly patterns seem to be more effective below the Texas Hole. The fishing in the Bait Water below the Quality Water has been fair-to-good. The Bait Water was stocked June 26 with 1,650 rainbow trout.
Navajo Lake has been slow-to-fair for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and northern pike. The fishing has been slow for crappie and kokanee salmon. A few trout have been caught while trolling.
No reports from Jackson Lake or Lake Farmington.
The fishing at Cochiti Lake has been slow, with the best fishing likely for catfish.
The fishing at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque has been fair for bluegill and slow-to-fair for catfish
The fishing for white bass is picking up at Elephant Butte Lake. The fishing for walleye and crappie has been fair-to-good. Fishing for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass has been slow-to-fair. The fishing for catfish has been good at the north end of the lake.
The fishing in the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam has been good for walleye.
Caballo Lake below Elephant Butte has been good for white bass, walleye and crappie.
Lake Roberts near Silver City has been good for catfish and trout.
Grindstone Reservoir near Ruidoso has been good for bluegill. Fishing was fair for trout, bass and catfish