Weekly Fishing Report

by Staff Reporter / Jun 20, 2017 / comments

Weekly Fishing Report

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

Anglers looking to catch a big trout should have some success thanks to the State Game and Fish Department. The Department stocked big trout in several locations throughout Northern New Mexico last week.

One lake that should be really hot is Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains. The Department stocked 142 rainbow trout averaging 16 inches, along with over 1,500 catchable-size rainbow trout averaging 10 inches.

The big news at Fenton Lake is the rare opportunity to catch a good-sized Rio Grande cutthroat trout, which is our state fish. The nearby Seven Springs Fish Hatchery raises Rio Grande cutthroats for stocking and establishing populations of cutthroats throughout the state. They’ve done a good job of keeping the Rio Grande cutthroat trout off the endangered species list.

Periodically, Seven Springs will stock their excess fish of breeding-size into Fenton Lake. Last week, they stocked 345 Rio Grande cutthroat trout averaging nearly 15 inches in size at Fenton Lake.

Fenton Lake also has a naturally-reproducing population of brown trout that can reach good sizes. Anglers will have the opportunity to catch good-sized fish of three different species of trout at Fenton.

Fenton Lake is best reached by taking State Highway 4 west from Los Alamos. Last week, the El Cajete Fire led to the closing of Highway 4, making a trip to Fenton Lake much longer and forcing anglers to drive south to Bernalillo to access the southern end of Highway 4. Thanks to the efforts of our fearless firefighters, the El Cajete Fire in nearly fully-contained and Highway 4 is open again.

Another lake where they should be pulling out some lunkers is Eagle Rock Lake near Questa. The department stocked 554 rainbow trout averaging over 16 inches there last week. The nearby Red River also received plantings of big rainbows above and below Questa.

Some body finally took advantage of the brook trout fishing at Hopewell Lake last week. The Department finally stocked this lake last week, dumping over 1,700 catchable-size rainbow trout into the lake. They also stocked 185 rainbow trout averaging over 16 inches in size. I expect the shores of Hopewell will be crowded this weekend.

Lake Maloya near Raton was stocked by the Department with 400 rainbow trout averaging over 16 inches in size. Lake Maloya also received a stocking of trout (not by the Department) that ranged from 5-to 8 pounds in size.

Monastery Lake received a planting of 100 rainbow trout averaging over 16 inches in size last week.

Although it is not stocked with big rainbow trout, Eagle Nest Lake is fertile and trout can grow to a good size. Eagle Nest produced some rainbow trout over 20 inches in size last week. These are holdover rainbows from earlier stockings. The perch fishing has also been good at Eagle Nest and don’t forget about the northern pike in the lake. Anglers are encouraged to keep every pike that they catch and there is no limit to how many you can keep.

The streamflows across Northern New Mexico continue to drop. The streams in the Jemez Mountains are now running low and below normal. Fishing here has slowed down. The Rio Grande remains fairly high but is dropping and the fishing should just get better. The streamflows below El Vado Dam and Abiquiu Dam on the Chama River have been dramatically reduced and fishing at those locations is much improved. Keep an eye on the upper Chama River above El Vado, streamflows here are dropping steadily and conditions on this productive stretch of the river should be prime by the end of June. The Pecos River is also dropping and last week was stocked with over 3,000 catchable-size rainbow trout.

As well as the good trout fishing in Northern New Mexico, the fishing for smallmouth bass at Abiquiu Lake has been very good. The bass are on their spawning beds now. Walleye are hitting and fishing for these fish is better early and late in the day, especially under the very hot and sunny conditions we’ve been experiencing lately. Walleyes have large, sensitive eyes for which they are named and don’t like bright sunshine.

Releases below Navajo dam on the San Juan River continue to be heavy at 4,750 cubic feet per second. The best fishing is from drift boats.

The heavy snowpack and spring runoff has helped the fishing hold up well despite the hot weather we’ve been experiencing. Good luck and take a kid fishing.