Weekly Fishing Report

by Staff Reporter / Oct 19, 2017 / 0 comments

Weekly Fishing Report

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

The fall foliage is transitioning from the mountains to the valleys. The cottonwoods are starting to show off their golden glory. We’ve had several frosts here in the Espanola Valley and the hummingbirds have quit coming to my feeders. I’m waiting to hear the first calls of migrating sandhill cranes as they fly down the Rio Grande Valley on their way to their wintering grounds at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro.

The cottonwoods are showing their glory of fall in the Espanola Valley. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

This year’s Festival of the Cranes will be held there Nov. 14-19. While there, stop in the little town of San Antonio and have a green chile cheeseburger at either the Buckhorn Café or The Owl Café. Better yet, go to both and compare cheeseburgers yourself.

The cranes aren’t the only attraction. There are big flocks of snow geese, lots of Canada geese and ducks and the last time I was there pheasants strutted down the road. You’ll likely see deer and coyotes too. That’s just a sampling of the many birds and other wildlife you may see at Bosque del Apache.

As a 50-year resident of New Mexico, I can remember years past when heavy snow had already driven me out of the high mountains by this time of year. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen this year. I hear all kinds of predictions about the upcoming winter. I’ve learned it’s best just to wait and see what Mother Nature has in store for us.


Salmon Snagging

The fall fishing hasn’t really taken off yet. Kokanee salmon snagging has been slow where that season is open. The season at Heron Lake, a popular spot for snagging, opens Nov. 11, but I suspect the snagging may be slow there.


Navajo Lake

A good alternative to snagging is fishing for the other species that are available. The bass and northern pike fishing at Navajo Lake has been good. The same lures used for bass will also attract strikes from northern pike.


Eagle Nest Lake

At Eagle Nest Lake the trout fishing has been good and the northern pike fishing might be even better. Remember, it is illegal to throw pike back into the lake if you catch one. Pike are good eating if you filet them. There are websites that will instruct you as to the proper way to filet pike to remove the bones. The fishing for perch at Eagle Nest has been fair-to-good. Like pike, these fish are good eating if you filet them.


Heron Lake

The bank fishing for rainbow trout is fair at Heron Lake


Fenton Lake & Santa Cruz Lake

Fenton Lake remains a hotspot for trout and in addition to brown and rainbow trout, anglers are catching some cutthroat trout at Fenton. Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo has been fair-to-good.


Pecos River & Monastery Lake

The Pecos River was stocked last week with almost 3,000 rainbow trout. Nearby Monastery Lake also received a stocking of rainbow trout and the fishing has been very good in the river and at the lake.


The Charette Lakes

One spot that reported very good fishing last week was the Charette Lakes in Northeast New Mexico. There have been very few good reports coming from these lakes this season, but it seems like they’ve suddenly turned on. These lakes will close at the end of October, so you don’t have much time left to fish them. The best fishing is reported to be from boats. The bank fishing is reported to be slow because of heavy weed growth along the banks. If you are limited to bank fishing, try a worm beneath a bobber here.


Maxwell Wildlife Refuge

In the same area, it might be worth a try at Maxwell Lake 13 on the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge. This lake has excellent feeding conditions for trout and they put on weight fast. Like Charette, this lake will close at the end of October.



Near Raton, the fishing has been good at Lake Alice and Lake Maloya in Sugarite Canyon State Park.


Rio Grande

The streamflow in the Rio Grande is near to a little above normal and the fishing has been good. The Rio Grande was recently stocked and most of the stocking takes place at Pilar. This is a good spot to try if you don’t mind catching stockers.

If you’re willing to hike in, the Rio Grande Gorge above Questa should be good. This is a great place to fish if you like being surrounded by awe-inspiring scenery in a wild setting. As a bonus, you might hook a heartstopper of a brown trout here.


Rio Chama

The Rio Chama below Abiquiu Dam remains too murky to fish. Abiquiu Lake has been just fair for smallmouth bass and there were no reports on walleye last week. I’m surprised the fishing is not better at Abiquiu Lake.

The streamflow on the Rio Chama below El Vado Dam is coming down and this is a good spot to try for a nice brown trout. The streamflow on the Rio Chama above El Vado Lake is in good shape and if you’re willing to hike down to the river below Heron Dam, you can catch some big brown and rainbow trout here.