By George Morse
After a period of hot temperatures, the weather has fallen into a typical monsoon season pattern with clouds building over the mountains during the day and forming thunderstorms in the late afternoon and evenings. Some of these storms will move down into the valleys.
Storms at lower elevations can be hit-or-miss, with heavy rain falling in some spots while not too far away it can still be hot and dry.
Be sure to pack some rain gear with you when you head outdoors on fishing and hiking trips.
Streamflows have dropped throughout Northern New Mexico with the exception of the Rio Grande, which is still flowing well-above normal. The flow is dropping steadily in the Rio Grande and it shouldn’t be long before fishing conditions improve. Since the flows have remained high for so long in the Rio Grande, the fishing should be very good with some large trout being taken once the river clears.
Some of the best fishing conditions will be found in the small, headwater streams, where the weather will be cooler. Some of them give anglers a chance to catch some native Rio Grande cutthroat trout.
Trout will be moving to deeper water seeking cooler temperatures in the larger lakes and reservoirs. The best fishing will be found in the smaller lakes at higher elevations. The State Game and Fish Department continues to stock these lakes with plenty of catchable-size rainbow trout and sometimes with bigger-than-average rainbow trout averaging 15-18 inches in size.
The fishing for warmwater species like bass, walleye and catfish is holding up well. Don’t overlook the smaller panfish like bluegill, crappie and perch. They can be fileted and make for some tasty fried fish dinners.
The fishing has finally been good at Abiquiu Lake despite the low water levels. The walleye fishing has been good using curly-tail jigs and crank baits with yellow being the preferred color. Anglers using nightcrawlers were catching a mixed-bag of fish including walleye, smallmouth bass, catfish bluegill, perch and crappie. It is still very difficult to launch a boat at Abiquiu and a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended
The streamflow in the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam was 337 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a good level for fishing, but the water remains murky and needs to clear. There are some big brown trout here and there should be plenty of holdover rainbow trout in the river once conditions improve.
The fishing in the Chama River below El Vado Dam has been good for rainbow and brown trout. The streamflow here was a very-fishable 204 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked July 16 with 548 rainbow trout.
El Vado Lake has had good fishing for bass near the dam. The best trout fishing is at the north end of the lake.
The fishing at Heron Lake has been slow.
The Chama River above El Vado Lake has been flowing 237 cubic-feet-per-second at La Puente. The fishing has been good. It was stocked July 16 with 1,028 rainbow trout.
Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos has been slow. The best fishing here is likely early in the morning.
The fishing in the Canjilon Lakes has been fair-to-good for stocked trout and there should be some of those big stocked rainbow trout left that were stocked a couple of weeks ago.
The fishing at the Trout Lakes near Cebolla has been slow despite recent stockings.
The fishing at Hopewell Lake between Tierra Amarilla and Tres Piedras has been good for stocked rainbow trout, which includes some big ones that have been recently stocked. Anglers are also catching some wild brook trout here. It was stocked July 15 with 1,818 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 185 rainbow trout averaging 18.2 inches in size.
The fly-fishing on the Rio de los Pinos near the Colorado border has been good. It was stocked July 16 with 1,800 rainbow trout.
The Lagunitas Lakes were stocked July 18 with 2,300 rainbow trout. The fishing should be pretty good after this recent stocking.
Over in the Jemez Mountains, the fishing in the upper Jemez River, the East Fork of the Jemez, the Rio Cebolla near Fenton Lake and the Rio San Antonio near La Cueva has been good with the best fishing being found on the upper parts of these streams. The Rio de las Vacas and Rio Guadelupe should be pretty good. These streams are running low and clear.
The fishing at Fenton Lake has been slow, possibly because of an algae bloom. This lake tends to get weedy as the summer progresses.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond at Seven Springs Fish Hatchery has been good and kids have been catching some big, wild brown trout as well as stocked rainbow trout. The fishing here is for kids under 12 years old.
The fishing has been good at San Gregorio Lake for stocked rainbow trout.
The fishing is still fair at Santa Cruz Lake. The trout are moving to deeper water as this lake tends to warm up in the summer. It will likely not be stocked again until later in the fall when the water cools down.
The fishing has been good in the Rio Pueblo near Penasco for wild brown trout and some stocked rainbow trout. The streamflow is low at 15 cubic-feet-per-second.
The Red River is flowing at 73.6 cubic-feet-per-second, which is good for this time of year. The fishing has been good. The Red River above Questa was stocked July 17 with 2,000 rainbow trout.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout.
There were no reports from the Shuree Ponds on the Valle Vidal. They opened for fishing July 1 and have been stocked with good-sized rainbow trout averaging over 15 inches in size.
The Fawn Lakes at the Fawn Lakes Campground were damaged during spring runoff and have not been stocked yet this season, so the fishing is poor.
The fishing has been fair at Eagle Nest Lake for rainbow trout. The perch fishing has been good with flies and worms. There were few reports on northern pike and kokanee salmon.
The fishing in the Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park was good. The river was stocked July 15 with 2,425 rainbow trout. It also contains wild brown trout. The 1.4 miles of river between Tolby Campground and the first Highway 64 bridge is catch-and-release and limited to fishing with flies and lures with a single, barbless hook. Below the bridge, any legal angling method may be used.
The fishing in the Gravel Pit Lakes near Maverick Campground has been good. They were stocked July 15 with 356 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 45 rainbow trout averaging 16 inches in size.
The fishing has been fair-to-good for rainbow trout using worms at Maxwell Lake 13 on the Maxwell Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. No reports on the fishing at Stubblefield Lake. It should be worth a try for largemouth bass, walleye and catfish. The state-record channel catfish, a 36-pound brute, was caught at Stubblefield.
The fishing has been good at Lake Maloya in Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton. The fishing at Lake Alice, a much-smaller lake at Sugarite Canyon, has been fair.
The fishing for trout and walleye at Clayton Lake has been slow. The boat ramp is closed.
No reports from the Charette Lakes, Coyote Creek at Guadulupita State Park, Storrie Lake near Las Vegas and the Gallinas River. Storrie Lake usually fishes poorly in the heat of summer. The Gallinas River and Coyote Creek could be worth a try as they have been heavily-stocked.
The Pecos River between the towns of Pecos and Cowles is a very popular fishing destination. It receives heavy fishing pressure and is heavily-stocked with rainbow trout from the Lisboa Springs Fish Hatchery. It was stocked twice last week with a total of 3,058 rainbow trout. It also contains wild brown trout. The fishing has been good.
The fishing at Monastery Lake near Pecos has been good. It was stocked July 18 with 900 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 95 rainbow trout averaging 15.6 inches in size.
There were no reports from the Cowles Ponds near Cowles. They should be worth a try. They were stocked July 17 with 181 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 20 rainbow trout averaging 15.6 inches in size.
Conchas Lake on the Canadian River was stocked July 16 with 59,789 largemouth bass fry averaging just over an inch in length. The fishing has been very good for bluegill. The fishing has been good for white bass, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. The fishing for walleye has been fair-to-good. The fishing for catfish and crappie has been fair.
Santa Rosa Lake was stocked July 18 with 23,454 largemouth bass fry. The fishing has been fair-to-good for bass and walleye. The fishing for catfish has been good at night.
The fishing at Sumner Lake has been fair-to-good for bass and walleye.
Over in the Four Corners, the streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam was 1,040 cubic-feet-per-second. In the Quality Waters, the water clarity was good above the Texas Hole and murky below the Texas Hole. Small midge fly patterns were working above the Texas Hole, while San Juan worms, leech and egg patterns working below the Texas Hole. The fishing in the Bait Waters was fair-to-good.
The fishing at Navajo Lake was fair-to-good for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and northern pike. The fishing for kokanee salmon was good using spinners tipped with corn trolled at between 20-40 feet deep. Navajo Lake is the best lake in the state for kokanee salmon. A few big brown trout were caught by anglers trolling for kokanee.
The fishing at Cochiti Lake is slow-to-fair for bass and catfish.
The fishing at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque is fair for bluegill and slow-to-fair for catfish. Bass fishing is improving in the Albuquerque area drainage canals and you might pick up a catfish in some of them.
The fishing in Elephant Butte Lake has been good for white bass. The fishing was slow-to-fair for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye and crappie. The fishing has been good for catfish.
The fishing in the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam has been fair for walleye and catfish.
Caballo Lake below Elephant Butte Lake has been very good for white bass. The fishing for catfish has been good. Walleye fishing has been fair.
The fishing at Lake Roberts near Silver City has been slow for all species.
The fishing at Grindstone Reservoir near Ruidoso was fair for trout and perch.