Weekly Fishing Report: September 5, 2023
By George Morse
Sports and outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
With the monsoon season over, there has been largely no rain this year. Rivers that used to flow at high elevations with spring runoff fed by a good snowpack are now below normal. And the velocity of the mighty Rio Grande fell to less than 200 cubic feet per second, after it was measured at 176 cubic feet per second at the Colorado border near where it enters New Mexico.
Low flows provide excellent fishing conditions on major rivers such as the Rio Grande, Chama and San Juan Rivers. This is a good time to try and catch brown trout, as well as some good sized rainbow trout. The usually wary brown trout becomes more active as the breeding season approaches.
Fenton Lake State Park is open for camping. The lake is open from 7 am to 7 pm. Camping by reservation only. It is heavily stocked with rainbow trout. It also had some wild brown trout and some Rio Grande trout from previous stockings. It was stocked on August 23 with 1,240 rainbow trout. For more information and current lake conditions call 575.829-3630.
400 rainbow trout were stocked in the Rio Cibola River, which flows in and under Lake Vinton, on August 23. It also has wild brown trout.
On Monday, the Jemez River had a flow rate of 12.9 cubic feet per second. This is slightly lower than last week and below normal. The Jemez River was stocked on June 21 with 323 rainbow trout.
Smaller tributaries of the Jemez River go down. 369 rainbow trout were stocked in Rio San Antonio on August 17. All of the streams at Jimmy’s Bank also have wild brown trout.
Seven Springs Brood Pond, also known as Kid’s Pond, is open. It’s at the Seven Springs Fish Hatchery. Fishing is intended for anglers 11 years of age or younger. It was stocked on August 17 with 450 rainbow trout. It also had some wild brown trout and some Rio Grande trout from a previous stock. The limit is three trout per day.
The Santa Cruz Lake Recreation Area near Chimayo is operated by the Bureau of Land Management. It is open from 6:30 am to 8 pm, from Thursday to Sunday. Fishing should be good for stocked rainbow trout and some wild brown trout. The waters in Santa Cruz may be too warm to stock, and trout will be in the deeper waters. For updated terms, see the Bureau of Land Management website at: blm.gov/visit/santa-cruz-lake-recreation-area or call 505-351-1438.
The office also operates the Orilla Verde Recreational Area along the Rio Grande River in Pilar. Camping is on a first-come, first-served basis. No reservations. The flow of the Rio Grande downstream was 243 cubic feet per second at the Taos Junction Bridge. This is much lower than last week and below normal. The Rio Grande was stocked in Pilar on June 2 with 1601 rainbow trout. Fishing conditions are very good in the Rio Grande now.
From the Colorado state line downstream to the Taos Junction Bridge, there is a maximum of two trout per day in the Rio Grande.
Eagle Nest Lake in Eagle Nest State Park is open. The boats are open and the docks are there.
Fishing should be good for rainbow trout, yellow perch, northern pike and the occasional kukani salmon. The Eagle Nest receives heavy stockings from large, highly catchable spawning fish, which is unusual. Larger trout are stocked in hopes of mitigating losses from predation by northern pike. Remember, if you catch a pike in Eagle Nest, you can’t bring it back to the lake. You have to kill him. For more information and current conditions, call 575-377-1594.
The flow of the Cimarron River below Eagle Nest Dam was 41.1 cubic feet per second. This is slightly less than last week. The Cimarron River flow near the town of Cimarron has been measured at a rate of 42.1 cubic feet per second. It was stocked on 23 August with 2,423 rainbow trout. Check the Carson National Forest website to see if campgrounds are open.
The Cimarron Gravel Pit Lakes at Maverick Campground is now open. It was stocked on August 23 with 354 rainbow trout.
Lake Maloya and Alice Lake in Sugarite State Park near Raton are open. Lake Mallowa was stocked on August 17 with 2,156 catchable size rainbow trout. Lake Alice was stocked on August 17 with 501 rainbow trout. Call (575) 445-5607 for current conditions.
Heron Lake State Park is now open. There is open water fishing on the bank, which was suitable for catching rainbow trout. The boat mooring and boat ramp are now open.. The lake level is much higher than in previous years..
Call 575-588-7470 for conditions in both Lake Heron and Lake El Vado.
Lake El Vado State Park is closed. Try fishing at the northern end of the lake where the Chama River flows.
Laguna del Campo, a popular small lake near Los Ojos, is open to fishing. Stocked June 15 with 825 rainbow trout. Hunting is for anglers 11 years of age or younger and 65 years or older. The limit is three fish a day.
Morphy Lake State Park near Mora has reopened. Stocked July 12 with 1350 rainbow trout.
Coyote Creek State Park near Guadalupita stocked Aug. 21 with 800 rainbow trout. Coyote Creek Pond is stocked with 599 rainbow trout.
The Charette Lakes have good fishing for rainbow trout. There is also a yellow perch here. Stocked 27 June with 2,497 rainbow trout.
Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas is open. A total of 7,327 rainbow trout have been stocked for the past month. It also has some great catfish.
Pecos Canyon State Park is open. In the valley, the river’s flow has been measured at 43.5 cubic feet per second. This is much lower than last week and below normal. Fishing for trout and brown trout was fair to good. Pecos Canyon was stocked twice last week with a total of 2,996 rainbow trout.
In the Pecos Drainage District, Holy Ghost Creek was stocked on August 16 with 151 rainbow trout. Mora Fork was stocked August 29 with 400 rainbow trout. Cow Creek was stocked August 28 with 504 rainbow trout.
Monastery Lake near Pecos was fair. Stocked June 27 with 975 rainbow trout.
In the Four Corners area is the open-air Navajo Lake State Park. Camping by reservation only. Trolling with imitation baits such as Rapalas can produce brown trout. Fishing for northern pike has been fair to good. Fishing was fair. Kokanee salmon started schooling near the dam at a depth of 50-60 feet. Boating conditions are good. Call 505-632-2278 for terms.
Popular fishing spots in the Carson National Forest include Cangelon Lakes, trout lakes near Cibola, and Lake Hopewell between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla.
Forest Service roads to Trout Lakes and Cangelon Lakes are now open. Canjilon stocked August 8 with 1568 rainbow trout and has a baby trout. Trout Lakes was stocked July 10 with 781 rainbow trout.
The campground at Lake Hopewell is open. Fishing has been good for trout and trout. Stocked July 10 with 2,490 rainbow trout.
Lagunitas lakes were stocked and fishing was very good.
The Rio de los Pinos region is located near the border with Colorado. It was stocked on August 28 with 1801 rainbow trout. It has wild brown trout.
The best river in the state and known throughout the fishing world is the San Juan River below the Navajo Dam. The flow rate here is now 796 cubic feet per second, which is higher than last week. San Juan offers world class fishing for big trout.
The fishing has been good with a wide variety of fly patterns in the four miles of quality water below the dam. Fishing here is by catch and release with flies and baits containing a single, non-barbed hook. It is full of tiny rainbow trout that grow rapidly in the fertile waters. Large wild brown trout are found in high quality waters. Some of these fish would likely break the state record if they could be kept and weighed.
Fishing at Bait Water in San Juan down water quality was fair to good using flies, lures and baits. A regular daily limit of five trout can be kept here. There are some big brown trout here too. It was stocked on 16 August with 2,564 rainbow trout.
Lake Abiquiu is open, including a boat ramp and picnic areas. Camping is open. The Board of Engineers manages it. Reservations can be made at www.recreation.gov. The water levels here have been much better this year than in previous years. The catch was fair for walleye, catfish and smallmouth bass. There are some good sized trout in Abiquiu. They have moved into deeper waters. Call 505-685-4371 for more information.
The Chama River flows below the Abiquiu Dam at a rate of 112 cubic feet per second. This is much lower than last week and below normal. The water is cloudy. Stocked and kept trout are likely to be fair caught. There are a few large wild brown trout here. It was stocked on August 14 with 1216 rainbow trout. The limit here is two fish per day.
The flow rate of the Chama River below the Alfado Dam was 519 cubic feet per second. This is slightly higher than last week and above normal. It has wild brown trout. It was stocked on August 14 with 421 rainbow trout.
Above El Vado Lake, the Chama River in La Puente is clear and the river’s flow rate is 36.7 cubic feet per second. This is less than last week and less than usual. Stocked August 14 with 1029 rainbow trout.
The Brazos River was flowing at a rate of 20.2 cubic feet per second. It was less than last week. Stocked June 12 with 585 rainbow trout.
Cochiti Lake has reopened. The lake’s water level rose 11 feet. The lake level has since fallen and the picnic areas are no longer submerged. The catch was fair in favor of the northern pike. Catfish fishing may be beneficial. Tetilla Peak Recreational Area is open, but the campground is closed.
Channel catfish are stocked at Tingley Beach in Albuquerque. It was stocked on July 27 with 468 catfish that averaged 18 inches in length.
The flow of the Rio Pueblo River near Penasco has been measured at 8.87 cubic feet per second. This is lower than last week and below normal. It was stocked on August 29 with 1,200 rainbow trout. It has wild brown trout.
Sipapu Pond was stocked on August 29 with 67 rainbow trout.
The Red River flows down the fish hatchery at a rate of 54.3 cubic feet per second. This is slightly higher than last week and lower than normal. It was stocked on August 16 with 701 rainbow trout. 2,900 rainbow trout were stocked in the Red River above Cuesta on August 22.
The Red River Hatchery pond is open. Hunting is for anglers 11 years of age or younger and 65 years or older. The limit now is five fish a day. It was stocked on August 25 with 399 catchable size rainbow trout.
The East and West Forks of the Red River were each stocked on August 22 with 300 rainbow trout.
Eagle Rock Lake near Cuesta is open. It was stocked on August 30 with 501 rainbow trout.
A total of 105 rainbow trout were stocked in shuri ponds in Valle Vidal on July 24, with an average size of 15.2 inches.
Lake Capristo, a small, high-altitude ATV-accessible lake near Cuesta, has good fishing for trout and wild trout.