Weekly Fishing Report
By George Morse Sports and Outdoors
Despite the frigid temperatures that cover much of the United States and that have spilled into parts of Eastern New Mexico, there remains open-water fishing on many of our lakes.
That includes Eagle Nest Lake, which would normally be New Mexico’s prime ice-fishing destination. Warm temperatures created areas of open water and the fishing was fair for rainbow trout. There are still areas of thin ice around the lake and those areas are closed to fishing. If you’re planning a trip to Eagle Nest Lake, it is best to call ahead to check on the conditions. The number to call is (575) 377-1594.
Heron Lake remains ice-free and the fishing for rainbow trout from the bank remains good. Still no reports of any lake trout being caught from the bank.
Lake Maloya near Raton also has open water and the fishing has been good. It’s best to call ahead, as the temperatures on the Eastern side of the mountains has been much colder than here on the west side. This lake could freeze over. The number is (575) 445-5607.
Fenton Lake remains covered with thin ice and is closed to fishing. The best fishing in the Jemez Mountains is on the lower part of the Jemez River below Jemez Springs. Even here, the fishing has been slow.
Little Monastery Lake near Pecos continues to have very good fishing. This lake could freeze over and it is closed to ice fishing. If you make a trip there and find this lake has frozen over, the nearby Pecos River is running low and clear. The fishing has been good below the village of Pecos. This is a good spot for fly fishermen to try to hone their nymph-fishing techniques. Drifting salmon eggs through some of the deeper pools is a good tactic here too.
Storrie Lake State Park, where they held the annual Polar Bear Plunge New Year’s Day, still has open water for bank fishing and has been fair-to-good for rainbow trout.
The best fishing locally is in the Chama River below Abiquiu Dam. Ever since they lowered the streamflow in the Chama below the Dam the fishing has been very good. I caught and released several rainbow trout on a trip to the Chama last week. Everyone from salmon–egg soakers to fly fishermen have been catching fish. Some pools receive heavier fishing pressure than others, so move around if you’d like a little elbow room. The fishing pressure is moderate in this area, so expect to share the water with other anglers. Fishing pressure is likely a little less during the week than on weekends.
The annual Eagle Watch at Abiquiu Lake is Saturday (1/6) from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Visitors Center. A number of bald eagles winter at Abiquiu Lake. You can get lunch at Bode’s General Store in Abiquiu.
The fishing below El Vado Dam on the Chama River is also worth a try. Here as well, lower streamflows from beneath El Vado Dam have helped the fishing.
The San Juan River below Navajo Dam has been fair in the Quality Waters and slow-to-fair in the Bait Waters. A river enhancement project has led to the closure of the section of the San Juan between Simon Point Day Use Area and Crusher Hole Day Use Area. The construction is likely clouding the water in these areas.
The Rio Grande is running a little above normal and the fishing is slow-to-fair for trout. They are catching a few northern pike on big streamers.
If you’re up for a trip to Southern New Mexico and have a boat, the fishing at Elephant Butte Reservoir picked up last week for walleye and white bass. You’ll find warmer temperatures here. A day of fishing, then maybe a soak in the hot springs at Truth or Consequences would be a nice getaway. Dine at some of the many restaurants in the area.
With the traditional winter activities like skiing suffering from the continuing lack of snow, fishing and hiking are good reasons to get outdoors and enjoy the warmer-than-normal temperatures.