Weekly Fishing Report
By George Morse Sports and Outdoors
The Monsoon season is in full swing. Afternoon and evening rainstorms are to be expected this time of year. One of the benefits that we are seeing this year is good streamflows in the smaller tributaries of the major rivers like the Rio Grande and the Chama River.
The small streams originating in the Sangre de Cristos Moutains that flow into the Rio Grande are all running above normal for this time of year. This will help the fishing stay good throughout the summer in these smaller streams and hopefully improve the holdover rate of stocked trout. It should also provide good conditions for natural reproduction for fall-spawning brown trout. Any way you look at it, higher streamflows are beneficial. Let’s not forget the availability of irrigation water for local farmers and ranchers, as well.
The Rio Grande is running at near or slightly above normal levels. The fishing has been good. I really want to check out the upper Rio Grande above where the Red River comes in. It’s best to check it out to see how clear the water is. One of the drawbacks to the summer rainstorms is they can muddy the water. It’s a long hike down to the river from the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge. You don’t want to make that long hike down to the river and find it muddy.
The streamflows on the Upper Chama River above El Vado Lake are the highest I’ve seen in years. This is fantastic for the fishing in this stretch of the Chama. The fish will not get stressed out from low and warm water this summer like they have in the past. The fishing should stay good all summer and fall fishing could be spectacular.
The flows below El Vado Lake are low and at a good level for fishing. The fishing has been good here too.
Flows below Abiquiu Dam on the Chama are also pretty low, but here the water is very murky from the rain. It may be best to wait until the water clears in the fall before fishing here. It should be very good then.
There are big trout in the Chama River at all of these locations.
The Pecos River has really increased its streamflow thanks to the monsoon rains and is running well above normal. This is great for the fish, maybe not so much for the fishermen. Still, the high streamflows mean the fish will be feeding well and just adjust your fishing for the higher flows.
The streamflow on the San Juan River below Navajo Dam are at 490 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been good in the Quality Waters and in the Bait Waters. This well-known river gets heavy fishing pressure. Try to fish during the week to avoid some of the fishing pressure.
Some of the smaller lakes like Hopewell and Fenton are suffering from excessive weed growth. Best to use a bobber under these conditions.
Fishing with a bobber is also recommended at Eagle Nest Lake if you don’t have a boat to get past the weed growth along the shoreline. Perch fishing is rated as excellent at Eagle Nest. A mixed catch of trout and perch, maybe even a northern pike, is a possibility at Eagle Nest.
The bank fishing for rainbow trout has really picked up at Heron Lake and is actually better than trolling from boats. I have a hunch that there’s more food for fish in the shallow water and that’s why the fishing is better from the bank.
Nearby El Vado Lake has been good for smallmouth bass. Likely the result of an illegal introduction, there have been several good-sized smallmouths caught recently. Check out the north end of El Vado Lake where the Chama River flows in if you’re looking for trout or kokanee salmon.
The fishing at several of the smaller lakes remains good for stocked trout. Monastery Lake near Pecos, Morphy Lake near Las Vegas and Eagle Rock Lake near Questa are rated as good.
The fishing for smallmouth bass has been good at Abiquiu Lake. If you’d like to target walleye, fishing in the early morning or late evening may be your best bet. The trout fishing at Abiquiu is slow right now, but it should pick up in the fall as the weather cools down.
The past several nights have been kind of cool and the hottest part of the summer is likely behind us. Practice for the fall sports has begun at local high schools. The fishing pressure will likely start to slack off soon. Fall fishing in New Mexico and nearby Colorado is fantastic and I’m already looking forward to casting my line surrounded by mountains covered with the golden leaves of aspen trees. By the end of the month it will be time to get out my shotgun as grouse season, along with dove and squirrel season, starts Sept. 1. A combination hunting and fishing trip is just around the corner.