Weekly Fishing Report: Jan. 11, 2023


By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post

New Mexico has some of the southernmost trout fishing within the United States. With much of Northern New Mexico locked up under ice, an overnight or longer trip to explore the waters of Southern New Mexico might be just the ticket for an adventuresome angler. These waters remain mostly free of ice. The temperatures are a little warmer than those farther north, but still cool enough to maintain year-around trout fishing.

Two areas on opposite sides of the state stand out. Because of their higher elevations and rugged mountainous terrain, the Gila Mountains of Southwestern New Mexico and the Sacramento Mountains of Southeastern New Mexico have year-around trout fishing. This week’s report will focus on Southwestern New Mexico. Silver City is a good base to explore this region.

The Gila River and its tributaries dominate the trout-fishing in Southwestern New Mexico. Wild populations of rainbow trout and Brown trout inhabit this area. Both of these species are no longer stocked and recent stockings have focused on re-establishing the native Gila trout. Many anglers come to try and catch a Gila trout to add to their bucket list of trout species they have caught. Lake Roberts is stocked year-around with both .rainbow trout and Gila trout Other lakes in the area are socked with rainbow trout during the winter only.

Anglers wishing to catch a Gila trout need to obtain a free Gila trout permit in addition to their fishing license. Both are available online from the State Department of Game and Fish website.

The lower Gila River has fishing for big flathead catfish, channel catfish and smallmouth bass.

Lake Roberts and nearby Bill Evans Lake also offer fishing for big largemouth bass. The daily limit on these lakes is two largemouth bass-per-day. They are designated trophy bass lakes. Bill Evans Lake is where the state-record largemouth bass was caught. They also have channel catfish and bluegill.

As already mentioned, much of Northern New Mexico’ waters are frozen. Winter temperatures can fluctuate widely, so it’s best to call ahead to check on current conditions.

Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo is closed for the winter season. For updated conditions, check the Bureau of Land Management website or call 505.351.1438.

The Bureau also manages the Orilla Verde Recreation Area along the Rio Grande at Pilar. Camping is on a first-come basis. No reservations. The Rio Grande streamflow is 452 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. This is lower than last week and just a little below normal. The water is murky. The Rio Grande at Pilar was stocked Dec. 28 with 1,498 rainbow trout. There are some big, wild brown trout. Northern pike are caught on big streamers in the Pilar and Taos Junction Bridge areas during the winter.

The Rio Grande at Pilar was stocked Sept. 14 with 58,484 fingerling Rio Grande cutthroat trout.

From the Colorado state line downstream to the Taos Junction Bridge, the limit is two-trout-per-day in the Rio Grande.

The Rio Grande Gorge above Pilar was stocked Dec. 28 with 188 rainbow trout.

Fenton Lake State Park is open for camping. Lake is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Camping by reservation only. It is heavily-stocked with rainbow trout. It also has some wild brown trout and some Rio Grande cutthroat trout. It was stocked Dec. 14 with 554 rainbow trout. It was stocked Dec. 12 with 665 catchable-size cutthroat trout. Only two cutthroat trout may be kept as part of the five fish daily limit at Fenton. It is frozen. It is now open for ice fishing at your own risk. For more information call 575.829.3630.

The Rio Cebolla, which flows into and below Fenton Lake, was stocked Oct. 20 with 399 rainbow trout.

The fishing has been good in the Jemez River. The streamflow is 18.6 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a little lower than last week and below normal. It has wild brown trout. It was stocked Dec. 14 with 1,000 rainbow trout.

The Rio San Antonio, a tributary to the Jemez River near La Cueva, was stocked Oct. 6 with 749 rainbow trout.

The Rio de las Vacas, another tributary, was stocked Oct. 20 with 500 rainbow trout.

These smaller tributaries are frozen over, as is San Gregorio Lake.

The Seven Springs Brood Pond, also known as the Kid’s Pond, is open. The fishing is for anglers 11-years of age or younger. It was stocked Oct. 20 with 449 rainbow trout. It was stocked Dec. 12 with 217 catchable-size Rio Grande cutthroat trout. The limit is three trout-per-day. It is frozen.

Eagle Nest Lake at Eagle Nest State Park is now open for ice fishing. It was stocked April 19 with 82,237 fingerling kokanee salmon. A new state-record kokanee was caught at Eagle Nest last year.

Ice fishing should be good for rainbow trout, yellow perch and northern pike. It was stocked Dec.15 with 7,839 sub-catchable rainbow trout. For more information and current ice conditions, call 575.377.1594.

The Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park is likely frozen over and fishing difficult. The streamflow below Eagle Nest Dam was 2.00 cubic-feet-per-second. This is the same as last week. The Cimarron River near the town of Cimarron is iced over. Check the Carson National Forest website to see if campgrounds are open.

The Cimarron Gravel Pit Lakes at Maverick Campground were stocked Oct. 12 with 399 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 60 rainbow trout averaging 16.1 inches in size. They are likely frozen over now.

Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton is now open to ice fishing. Lake Alice, also at Sugarite State Park, is also open to ice fishing. Lake Alice was stocked Nov. 21 with 250 rainbow trout. Lake MaIoya was stocked Dec. 27 with 1,312 catchable-size rainbow trout. Call 575.445.5607 for current conditions.

Clayton Lake closed Oct. 31 for the season.

Heron Lake State Park has open water for bank fishing. Be aware that the banks are very muddy. The boat ramps are closed. The lake level is still low. It was stocked April 20 with 147,290 fingerling kokanee salmon. It was stocked June 27 with 40,006 sub-catchable-size rainbow trout.

Call 575.588.7470 for conditions at both Heron Lake and El Vado Lake.

El Vado Lake State Park has rainbow trout, brown trout, perch and small smallmouth bass. Lake surface is closed due to freezing. Boating is closed. The Dam Day Use Area is closed for construction. Water level is low. The banks are very muddy.

Bluewater Lake State Park is open. Camping is allowed by reservation only. Lake water level is low. Tiger muskies are being caught and the fishing for them is fair using big crank baits, spinners and hot dogs. The limit on tiger muskies is one-per-day at least 40 inches in length. It was stocked Dec. 14 with 5,998 rainbow trout. The trout fishing should be good until the stockers are caught or eaten by tiger muskies. The boat ramp is closed. Anglers may launch boats at their own risk along undeveloped shoreline. Call 505.876.2391 for current conditions.

Morphy Lake State Park closed Oct. 31 for the season.

Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas is open for bank fishing. Boating is closed. It was last stocked June 7 with 3,034 rainbow trout. It also has some big catfish. It may be frozen over.

Pecos Canyon State Park is open. In the Canyon, the river is iced over and streamflow has not been measured. There may be some pockets of open water. The Pecos River at Villanueva State Park was stocked Dec. 21 with 383 rainbow trout.

Monastery Lake near Pecos was stocked Dec. 5 with 250 rainbow trout. Ice fishing is not allowed at Monastery Lake. The lake was frozen and closed to fishing.

Over in the Four Corners, Navajo Lake State Park is open. Camping is by reservation only. Trolling minnow-imitating lures like Rapalas could produce a trophy brown trout. Fishing for northern pike has been fair. Bank fishing near the salmon run is fair for rainbow trout. It was stocked April 20 with 219,027 kokanee salmon fingerlings. It was stocked Dec. 2 with 6,353 sub-catchable rainbow trout. Boating conditions are good. Call 505.632.2278 for conditions. Navajo Lake does not freeze.

Aztec Pond #1 in Aztec was stocked Oct. 25 with 99 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 100 rainbow trout averaging 19.2 inches in size. It was stocked Jan. 4 with 87 rainbow trout. Tiger Park Pond in Aztec was stocked Oct. 25 with 149 rainbow trout averaging 19.2 inches in size. It was stocked again Jan. 4 with 772 rainbow trout.

Lake Farmington was stocked Dec. 8 with 2,106 rainbow trout.

Popular fishing locations on Carson National Forest include the Canjilon Lakes, the Trout Lakes near Cebolla and Hopewell Lake between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla. These are high-elevation lakes that are now frozen.

The roads to the Trout Lakes and Canjilon Lakes are likely snowpacked and difficult to travel. Hopewell Lake is close to Highway 64 and may be accessed by hiking in or by snowmobile.

The campground at Hopewell Lake is now closed. The ice fishing has been good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brook trout.

The Rio de los Pinos near the border with Colorado is also reopened or camping and fishing. It was stocked Oct. 13 with 1,798 rainbow trout and also has wild brown trout. It is likely icing up and is hard to fish.

The best river in the state and well-known throughout the angling world is the San Juan River below Navajo Dam. The streamflow here is 279 cubic-feet-per-second. This is lower than last week and below normal. The San Juan offers world-class fly fishing for big trout.

The fishing has been good with a variety of fly patterns in the four miles of Quality Water below the Dam. The fishing here is catch-and-release with flies and lures having a single, barbless hook. There are big, wild brown trout in the Quality Water. Some of these fish would likely shatter the state record if they could be kept and weighed. The Quality Water was stocked Oct. 5 with 40,000 sub-catchable rainbow trout.

The fishing in the Bait Water of the San Juan below the Quality Water has been fair-to-good with flies, bait and lures. A regular daily limit of five trout may be kept here. There are some big brown trout here too. It was stocked Jan. 6 with 1,693 rainbow trout.

The following locations are also open for fishing.

Abiquiu Lake is open, including the boat ramp and picnic areas. Camping is open. It is managed by the Corps of Engineers. Reservations may be made at www.recreation.gov. The water level is low, but higher than last year at Abiquiu. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for launching boats. The fishing has been slow for walleye, catfish and smallmouth bass. There are some good-sized trout in Abiquiu. They may have moved into shallow water. Call 505.685.4371 for more information.

The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is flowing at 104 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a little lower than last week and below normal. The water here is murky. It was stocked Jan. 4 with 386 catchable-size rainbow trout. The fishing is likely fair for stocked and holdover rainbow trout. There are a few big, wild brown trout here. The limit here is two-fish-per-day.

The Chama River below El Vado Dam is flowing at 103 cubic-feet-per-second. This is about the same as last week. The fishing has been fair for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. You may hook a cutthroat trout here. It was stocked Sept. 26 with 2,244 rainbow trout. The state-record brown trout was caught here.

Above El Vado Lake, the streamflow on the Chama River at La Puente was not measured due to ice.

Cochiti Lake has reopened. The fishing has been fair-to-good for northern pike. Fishing for catfish could be worthwhile.

Tetilla Peak Recreation Area is open, but the campground is closed.

Tingley Beach in Albuquerque is now being stocked with rainbow trout. It was stocked Jan. 4 with 1,800 catchable-size rainbow trout. The stockings will continue throughout the winter.

The winter stocking of trout has begun in the drainage canals of the Albuquerque area, The Albuquerque, Albuquerque (South), Belen, Bernalillo, Corrales and Peralta drains were stocked last week.

The Red River below the Fish Hatchery is flowing at 51.6 cubic-feet-per-second. This is lower than last week and above normal. It was stocked Jan. 3 with 524 rainbow trout. The Red River above Questa is iced over.

The Red River Hatchery Pond is likely frozen.. It was stocked Oct. 17 with 401 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 50 rainbow trout averaging 16.8 inches in size. Fishing is for anglers 11 years of age or younger and 65 years old or older. The limit is three-fish-per day.

Eagle Rock Lake near Questa is open. It was stocked Oct. 31 with 501 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 60 rainbow trout averaging 16.5 inches in size. It is frozen over. Ice may now be safe. Use caution.

Cabresto Lake, a small, high-elevation lake accessible by four-wheel drive vehicle near Questa, has good ice fishing for wild brook trout and wild cutthroat trout.



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