Fishing Report May 15, 2019
By George Morse
Driving down to Albuquerque last weekend, it was impossible not to notice just how green the landscape was. After 50 years in New Mexico, it was hard to remember when, if ever, it had been this way. Parts of the landscape were a shimmering emerald where last year they were a dusty brown.
On the return trip from Albuquerque the skies opened up and there was a big, beautiful double rainbow around Santa Domingo Pueblo. The landscape took on a beautiful color as the light from the setting sun took on a golden glow. Only in New Mexico it seems can such magical moments happen.
It seems like every fruit tree is loaded with fruit. Even the wild plums and chokecherries have fruit. The apricot trees will resemble decorated Christmas trees with all the orange fruits they’re bearing. Take advantage of this year’s bounty, as you should know from experience that it won’t always be like this. This is one of those years that will live in memory years later and will be talked about for a long time.
Streamflows are well-above average and water levels in the lakes is rising. This is a welcome sight after last year’s low flows and shrinking reservoirs. There should be plenty of water for irrigation. Wildlife will benefit from the lush grass and bounty of wild berries and acorns. It should be a great year for finding wild mushrooms. Cattle and sheep will grow fat and healthy. Bull elk and buck mule deer should exhibit good antler growth, while cow elk and does should be able to raise healthy fawns. Small game and songbirds should also benefit from this year’s moisture. The effects of this exceptionally wet weather will have many benefits for the entire ecosystem and will be felt for many years. Pinon trees may not have nuts this year, but the favorable conditions should spur great cone development this year. Next year may see a bountiful harvest of this New Mexico delicacy.
There will be some bank erosion in the rivers and streams. The high water could also damage the headgates of some acequias and possibly damage irrigation ditches. The high water will wipe away some sandbars and create new ones in big rivers like the Rio Grande.
There is at least one current casualty of the high water. The Fawn Lakes Campground a few miles west of the town of Red River is closed due to flooding. This is a popular camping spot and the lakes are stocked with rainbow trout. They should open up when the water in the Red River recedes.
The State Game and Fish Department has been heavily stocking many of the smaller lakes and ponds. Many popular lakes received stockings of big rainbow trout averaging between 15-17 inches in size last week.
The rising water level at Abiquiu Lake has made it possible to open up the boat ramp and boaters can enjoy the lake now. The fishing isn’t that good because the water is currently quite murky. Once the water clears a bit, the fishing for smallmouth bass, walleye and trout should get better.
The streamflow in the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam and below El Vado Dam is very heavy at both locations and the fishing is slow. Streamflow below Abiquiu was 1,780 cubic-feet-per-second. The flow below El Vado was 1,020 cubic-feet-per-second. Keep an eye on the streamflows here because if and when they are ever lowered to fishable levels, the fishing could be very good.
The fishing at El Vado Lake has been fair for smallmouth bass and perch.
Water levels are rising at Heron Lake and the bank fishing has been good for rainbow trout with worms and Power Bait.
The flow in the upper Chama River above El Vado Lake are very heavy with a streamflow of 2,110 cubic-feet-per-second at La Puente.
The fishing on the nearby Brazos River has been good despite the high water. Much of this river is on private land but there are sections open to the public.
Hopewell Lake, the Canjilon Lakes and the Trout Lakes are likely still inaccessible due to lingering snow banks and muddy roads.
The streamflow in the Rio de los Pinos near the Colorado border is high. This time of the year you can hook some bigger-than-average trout here. It was stocked May 6 with 1,845 rainbow trout. No reports on the fishing. Remember, to reach this area you need to drive into Colorado and then back into New Mexico.
Over in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos, the fishing has been very good at Fenton Lake. It was stocked twice last week with a total of 3,200 catchable-size rainbow trout. It was stocked May 8 with 600 rainbow trout averaging 15.8 inches in size. There are plenty of trout swimming in Fenton right now.
The nearby Seven Springs Brood Pond at Seven Springs Fish Hatchery was stocked May 8 with 448 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 200 rainbow trout averaging 15.8 inches in size. The fishing has been very good.
Streams in the Jemez area are running high. The fishing has been good in the Cebolla River, which flows out of Fenton Lake. It was stocked twice last week with a total of 901 rainbow trout. The Rio San Antonio near La Cueva was stocked May 9 with 901 rainbow trout. Both streams also have wild brown trout and the fishing for this species has been good on the Rio San Antonio. The Jemez River is still running very high and the fishing has been slow. It was stocked May 8 with 1,001 rainbow trout.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo has had very good fishing. It was stocked May 6 with 2,128 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 300 rainbow trout averaging 15.8 inches in size. There are also wild brown trout in this lake.
The streamflow in the Rio Grande at Taos Junction Bridge was 2,120 cubic-feet-per-second Tuesday. The fishing has been pretty slow due to the high water. Try fishing close to the bank in pockets of slower water behind big rocks.
Tributaries to the Rio Grande that flow down from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains are all running high. Not many reports from here. The Red River below Questa is always a good bet because it is regularly stocked by the nearby Red River Fish Hatchery. It was stocked May 7 with 701 rainbow trout.
The Red River Hatchery Pond should be very good. It was stocked May 7 with 400 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 80 rainbow trout averaging 17.6 inches in size.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa has been very good for stocked rainbow trout. It was stocked May 7 with 501 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 45 rainbow trout averaging 17.6 inches in size.
At Eagle Nest Lake the fishing for rainbow trout has been good. The fishing for northern pike has been good. A 44.5 inch, 25-pound northern was taken by a fly fisherman last week. The fishing has been fair-to-good for perch.
The flow in the Cimarron River below Eagle Nest Dam is low and the fishing has been fair-to-good in Cimarron Canyon State Park for trout. It was stocked May 10 with 2,425 rainbow trout.
The fishing has been very good at the Cimarron River Gravel Pit Lakes. They were stocked May 10 with 355 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 45 rainbow trout averaging 17.6 inches in size.
The fishing has been fair-to-good for trout at Maxwell Lake 13 on the Maxwell Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. The catfish and largemouth bass in this lake should start to bite soon.
The fishing at Lake Maloya and Lake Alice in Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton has been good at both lakes. Lake Alice was stocked May 8 with 501 rainbow trout. Lake Maloya was stocked May 8 with 2,600 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 400 rainbow trout averaging 14.9 inches in size.
The fishing has been slow-to-fair at the Charette Lakes between Springer and Wagon Mound.
Storrie Lake near Las Vegas was stocked May 10 with 3,033 rainbow trout, so the fishing has been good here.
The Gallinas River near Las Vegas was stocked May 7 with 1,001 rainbow trout. The fishing has been good.
The Gallinas Ice Pond was also stocked May 7 with 200 rainbow trout.
The Pecos River is running strong at 392 cubic-feet-per-second. It is heavily-stocked and the fishing has been fair for rainbow trout and brown trout. A 28-inch rainbow was caught last week. It was stocked twice last week with a total of 1,754 rainbow trout.
Monastery Lake near Pecos was stocked May 6 with 901 catchable-size rainbow trout. It was stocked May 9 with 285 rainbow trout averaging 17.9 inches in size. The fishing has been very good.
The Cowles Ponds, which are north of the town of Pecos, were stocked May 6 with 180 catchable-size rainbow trout. They were stocked again May 9 with 40 rainbow trout averaging 17.6 inches in size. The fishing has been very good.
The fishing at Conchas Lake on the Canadian River has been good for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, white bass and walleye.
Santa Rosa Lake near Santa Rosa has been good for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie and walleye.
Sumner Lake between Santa Rosa and Fort Sumner has been very good for crappie. The fishing for walleye, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass has been good.
Over in the Four Corners, the streamflow in the San Juan River below Navajo Dam is still low at 403 cubic-feet-per-second. The water is still a little murky but the fishing in the Quality Water has been fair-to-good with a variety of fly patterns. The fishing in the Bait Water has been good.
Navajo Lake has been good for crappie, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. The fishing for northern pike has been fair-to-good.
Jackson Lake was stocked May 7 with 989 rainbow trout. Lake Farmington was stocked May 7 with 2,541 rainbow trout. There were no reports from Jackson Lake and only one from Lake Farmington. It should start to heat up soon in the Four Corners area and the trout will move to deeper water.
The fishing at Cochiti Lake has been slow because of the murky water.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque will not be stocked with trout again until later this year when the weather begins to cool down. The fishing is still fair for trout left over from earlier stockings. Anglers should start catching more catfish and largemouth bass now. Watch for the summer stocking of catfish to begin here soon.
Elephant Butte Lake is rising and the fishing is very good for crappie, white bass and walleye. The fishing is good for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and catfish. Water is now being released into the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Dam and the fishing between Elephant Butte Lake and Caballo Lake has been good for white bass.