By George Morse
Fishing Report July 31
This time last year I had stopped fishing most rivers and streams because of the low streamflows and warm water temperatures. The trout were being heavily-stressed and even if you were practicing catch-and-release, the stress of being caught was often too much for the fish to take and they would die as a result. There were fish kills on several sections of rivers. Over the border in Colorado, voluntary restrictions were in place because they too were suffering from the same conditions.
Trout are adapted to cold water. Water temperatures above 70-degrees causes them to become lethargic and quit growing. Temperatures of 78-degrees are fatal. The lethal temperatures for some species, like brook trout, are even lower.
This year streamflows and water temperatures are much better. Streamflows are at to a little above normal in most streams and rivers. The Rio Grande remains well-above normal and the fishing is still slow on the Rio.
It appears that wild brown trout, which inhabit most of our streams, survived the brutal conditions. Brown trout can survive warmer water conditions than other trout species and are also tougher to catch.
Water is warming up in our lakes and reservoirs. Trout will move to deeper water in search of cooler water temperatures. The best times to fish are often late in the evening and early in the morning. This is often the best time to fish for walleye, bass and catfish as well.
The tailwaters below dams will have colder water than free-flowing streams and are good spots to fish this time of year. Conditions in these locations are dependent on how much water is being released from beneath the dam.
One area that should be very good this week is the Chama River below El Vado Dam. In addition to a healthy population of wild brown trout, this area was stocked July 22 with 1,046 rainbow trout averaging over a foot long and 115 rainbow trout averaging 17.5 inches long. From the gauging station below Cooper’s to the confluence with the Rio Nutrias, the fishing is catch-and-release using flies and lures with a single, barbless hook.
Streamflows here are lower during the week than they are on weekends, when streamflows are increased to accommodate recreational rafters and kayakers. Streamflow on Wednesday was 126 cubic-feet-per-second, which is prime for good fishing.
The Chama River above El Vado Lake should also be very good, as streamflows here are much better than they were last year. Streamflow at La Puente was 214 cubic-feet-per-second. From the outlet below Heron Dam upstream 2.9 miles to the boundary of the Rio Chama Wildlife Area, fishing is limited to flies and lures with a single, barbless hook. The limit is two-fish-per-day. Downstream from the Heron outlet to El Vado Lake, any angling method can be used. If they are releasing water from Heron Dam, this water is very cold and will attract trout
The fishing has been good at Abiquiu Lake for smallmouth bass and walleye. Fishing for catfish has been good in the morning. The water level is low in the lake and a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for the launching of boats.
The streamflow in the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam was 180 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a good level for fishing, although the water is very murky and the fishing is slow.
The fishing at El Vado Lake has been good for bass. Fishing at Heron Lake has been slow.
The fishing at the Canjilon Lakes has been fair-to-good. The fishing at the Trout Lakes near Cebolla has been slow, but they were stocked July23 with 556 rainbow trout averaging over a foot in length.
There were no reports from Laguna del Campo near Los Ojos. It’s been a while since this little lake was last stocked.
The fishing at Hopewell Lake between Tierra Amarilla and Tres Piedras has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brook trout.
The fly-fishing has been good in the Rio de los Pinos near the Colorado border north of Tres Piedras. The fishing has been best in the upper section of “Green Chile Water” from Forest Service Road 284 and 87A upstream 2.5 miles to the private property boundary. Fishing here is with artificial flies and lures with a single, barbless hook. The limit is two fish-per-day.
In the Jemez Mountains area, the streams are running low and clear. The fishing has been fair-to-good on the Rio Cebolla below Fenton Lake and good in the upper Rio San Antonio near La Cueva. Approach the streams cautiously as the trout are easily spooked. Insect repellant is strongly recommended.
The fishing at Fenton Lake is slow. Weed growth is probably getting heavy here.
The fishing at san Gregorio Lake has been good for stocked trout.
The fishing has been very good at the Seven Springs Brood Pond near Seven Springs Fish Hatchery. Kids are catching some really nice trout here. It was stocked July 23 with 534rainbow trout. The fishing is for kids under 12 years-of-age.
There were no reports from Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo. The trout are likely hanging out in deep water as this lower-elevation lake tends to warm up a lot this time of year.
The Rio Pueblo near Penasco has been good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. The streamflow is good. It was stocked July 24 with 1,200 rainbow trout.
The streamflow in the Red River is good and the fishing has been good. The Red River below Questa was stocked July 23 with 1,100 rainbow trout. The Red River above Questa was stocked July 22 with 2,700 rainbow trout. The East Fork and the West Fork of the Red River were each stocked July 22 with 299 rainbow trout.
The fishing at Eagle Rock Lake near Questa has been fair-to-good for stocked rainbow trout.
Still no reports from the Shuree Ponds on the Valle Vidal. Not many anglers seem to be making the long drive to reach them. They were stocked July 25 with 500 rainbow trout averaging 16.3 inches in length. Fishing is limited to artificial flies and lures with a single, barbless hook.
Eagle Nest Lake has been fair-to-good for rainbow trout using Power Bait. The fishing for perch has been good. A few northern pike were caught last week. The weed growth is getting heavier here and anglers should seek out areas with less weed growth.
The fishing has been good in the Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park. It was stocked July 23 with 2,426 rainbow trout.
The Gravel Pit Lakes near Maverick Campground were stocked July 23 with 355 catchable-size rainbow trout and wuith 45 rainbow trout averaging 16 inches in length. The fishing should be pretty good.
No reports from Stubblefield Lake or Maxwell Lake 13.
The trout fishing remains good at Lake Maloya in Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton. The fishing has been fair at Lake Alice, a smaller lake below Lake Maloya in Sugarite Canyon.
There have been very few reports on the fishing from the lakes in Northeast New Mexico. The fishing here usually slows down as the water warms up. Spots that might be worth a try are Coyote Creek at Guadalupita State Park near Mora and the Gallinas River near Las Vegas. Coyote Creek was stocked July 24 with 1,599 rainbow trout. The Gallinas River was stocked July 25 with 1,000 rainbow trout. The Gallinas Ice Pond was stocked with 201 rainbow trout.
The streamflow in the Pecos River is much better this year than last year. The fishing has been good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. The Pecos River between the towns of Pecos and Cowles was stocked twice last week with a total of 2,999 rainbow trout.
Monastery Lake near Pecos was stocked July 24 with 906 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 95 rainbow trout averaging 15.6 inches in length. The fishing has been fair-to-good.
Over in the Four Corners, the streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam was 1,050 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing in the Quality Waters above the Texas Hole has been good with small fly patterns and the fishing in the Quality Water below the Texas Hole has been fair with larger fly patterns. The fishing in the Bait Water has been fair-to-good. The Quality Water was stocked July 25 with 5,005 small rainbow trout.
The good news from Navajo Lake is that the fishing for kokanee salmon trolling spinners tipped with corn at 20-to-40 feet deep remains good. This is the only consistently good kokanee salmon fishery in the state right now. Anglers trolling for kokanee are picking up a few nice brown trout. The fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and northern pike has been fair-to-good.
The fishing has been slow-to-fair for largemouth bass and catfish at Cochiti Lake.
The fishing for bluegill has been fair at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque. The fishing for catfish has been slow-to-fair.
The fishing for white bass has been good at Elephant Butte Lake. Afternoon fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass using drop-shot rigs has been good. The fishing has been good for catfish, whileit has been slow for walleye and crappie.
The fishing in the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam has been good for catfish and fair for walleye and white bass.
Caballo Lake below Elephant Butte has been good for white bass and catfish
Grindstone Reservoir near Ruidoso has been good for trout. It was stocked twice last week with a total of 3,004 rainbow trout.
The fishing has been good in the northwest portion of Lake Roberts near Silver City for largemouth bass, trout and catfish.