By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
Wildfires burning across New Mexico dominated the news this past week and still continue to burn. Anglers looking to take a fishing trip need to be aware of the impacts these fires are having on travel and safety.
The fires have led to the closure of two state parks in Northeastern New Mexico. Morphy Lake State Park and Coyote Creek State Park are now closed until further notice due to the Hermit Peak/Calf Creek Fire.
Bandelier National Monument has been closed. The Valle Caldera National Preserve has been closed. The closures are due to the Cerro Palado Fire.
Access to Fenton Lake State Park from Los Alamos on westbound NM 4 is closed. To access Fenton Lake anglers must travel south on Interstate 25 to Bernalillo. Take Highway 550 north, then turn north on NM 4 at San Ysidro.
Turn left onto NM 126 to Fenton Lake. Check website: nmroads.com for other road closures.
Santa Fe National Forest has initiated Stage Two Fire Restrictions. It has closed the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District.
Open fires are not allowed. If the extreme fire danger persists, the National Forests may be closed to all activities. This has happened in the past.
Spring runoff is going strong. It’s a little early this year. Some streams are running above normal for this time of year. If the current is really strong
Eagle Nest Lake at Eagle Nest State Park is now open to fishing and boating. Docks will be installed April 30. It was stocked twice April 26 with 6,403 sub-catchable rainbow trout. It was also stocked April 19 with 82,237 fingerling kokanee salmon. A new state-record kokanee was caught at Eagle Nest last year. Fishing should be good for rainbow trout, yellow perch and northern pike. For more information and current conditions, call 575.377.1594.
Lake Maloya at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton is now open to fishing. Lake Alice, also at Sugarite State Park, is open for fishing. Lake Maloya was stocked April 25 with 2,998 rainbow trout. Lake Alice was stocked with 497 rainbow trout. Call 575.445.5607 for current conditions.
Clayton Lake State Park opened March 1 for fishing. It is stocked with rainbow trout and has big walleye. The state-record walleye was caught here. This is a trophy bass lake. The limit daily limit is two largemouth bass with a 14-inch and longer size limit It was stocked April 5 with 3,600 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 400 rainbow trout averaging 15.4 inches in size. Call 575.374.8808 for current conditions.
Fenton Lake State Park in the Jemez Mountains is now open for bank fishing. It was stocked April 20 with 2,299 rainbow trout. It was stocked April 27 with 300 Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Only two cutthroat trout may be kept as part of a five-fish-per-day limit. Camping is allowed by reservation only. Call 575.829.3630 for current conditions at Fenton.
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.
Call 575.588.7470 for conditions at both Heron Lake and El Vado Lake. El Vado Lake has rainbow trout, brown trout, perch and small smallmouth bass. Boating is closed. Water level is low. There is open water for bank fishing. The banks are very muddy.
Santa Cruz Lake near Chimayo has open water and fishing has been good. It was stocked April 18 with 3,210 catchable size rainbow trout and with 300 rainbow trout averaging 17.6 inches in size. The lake is open 7 am to 5 pm Thursday through Sunday. For updated conditions, check the Bureau of Land Management website or call 505.351.1438.
The Rio Cebolla, which flows into and out of Fenton Lake, was stocked April 15 with 399 rainbow trout.
The Seven Springs Brood Pond, also known as the Kid’s Pond, is open. It was stocked April 15 with 449 rainbow trout.
There are a few big, wild brown trout here. It was stocked April 26 with 300 Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Fishing is for anglers 11 years of age and younger. This pond is just north of Fenton Lake.
The trout fishing has been good in the Jemez River. The streamflow is now 83.5 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a little lower than last week. The fish are concentrated in deeper pools. It was stocked April 15 with 625 rainbow trout.
Tributaries of the Jemez River may be difficult to access due to the Cerro Palado Fire. Abiquiu Lake is open, including the boat ramp and picnic areas. Camping is closed. It is managed by the Corps of Engineers. Reservations for later in the year may be made at www.reservation.gov. The water level is low at Abiquiu. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for launching boats. The fishing has been slow for walleye and smallmouth bass. Trout fishing could pick up. There are some good-sized trout in Abiquiu. It was stocked April 26 with 516,849 walleye fry. Call 505.685.4371 for more information.
Streamflows have risen throughout the entire Chama River drainage due to spring runoff.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is flowing at 1,800 cubic-feet-per-second. The water here is high and murky. It was stocked April 1 with 1,001 rainbow trout. The fishing is likely slow 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 1,860 cubic-feet-per-second. The fishing has been fair for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. You may hook a cutthroat trout here. It was stocked April 18 with 432 rainbow trout. The state-record brown trout was caught here.
Above El Vado Lake, the Chama River is now ice-free and spring runoff has begun. The streamflow at La Puente was 1,250 cubic-feet-per-second. This is higher than last week. It was stocked April 18 with 966 rainbow trout.
Streamflow in the Rio Brazos was 923 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked April 18 with 480 rainbow trout.
Laguna del Campo, a small lake near Los Ojos, is now open. It was stocked April 28 with 996 rainbow trout. Fishing here is for anglers 11 years old and younger or 65 years old and older, The limit is three-trout-per-day.
Hopewell Lake between Tierra Amarilla and Tres Piedras was frozen over and the gate is locked. Anglers may park and hike to the lake. Ice fishing had been good for stocked rainbow trout and wild brook trout. The ice is deteriorating and ice fishing could be ill-advised. Use extreme caution. Hopewell is usually ice-free by mid-May.
The Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park is open. Streamflow below Eagle Nest Dam was 14.7 cubic-feet-per-second, which is higher than last week. It was stocked April 26 with 2,424 rainbow trout. The Gravel Pit Lakes at Maverick Campground were stocked with 401 rainbow trout
The Charette Lakes between Wagon Mound and Springer have good fishing for good-sized, holdover rainbow trout.
Lower Charette Lake was stocked April 19 with 2,249 rainbow trout.
Coyote Creek State Park is closed due to wildfires.
Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas is closed. Call 505.425.7278 for current conditions.
Streamflow in the nearby Gallinas River was 15.3 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked April 20 with 300 rainbow trout and does have some good-sized holdover and wild trout. The Gallinas Ice Pond was stocked with 20 rainbow trout. Best to avoid this area as it is in the middle of the Hermit Peak/Calf Creek wildfire.
Cochiti Lake is closed as the lake is being used as a source of water to fight the Cerro Palado Fire.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque is no longer being stocked with rainbow trout.
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. It was stocked three times last week with a total of 96,085 sub-catchable rainbow trout. It was also stocked with 219,027 kokanee salmon fingerlings.
Boating conditions are good. Call 505.632.2278 for conditions.
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 297 cubic-feet-per-second. This is slightly higher than last week and less than 25-percent of 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 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 April 14 with 2,347 rainbow trout.
Tiger Park Pond and Aztec Pond #1 in Aztec are being stocked. Tiger Park Pond was stocked April 4 with 908 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 150 rainbow trout averaging 17.4 inches in size. Aztec Pond was stocked with 114 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 35 rainbow trout averaging 17.4 inches in size.
Lake Farmington has been stocked again. On April 25, it was stocked with 1,494 rainbow trout. This lake is managed by the City of Farmington.
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 and waterdogs. The limit on tiger muskies is one-per-day at least 40 inches in length. Boating is closed. Call 505.876.2391 for current conditions.
The Rio Grande streamflow is 655 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. This is higher than last week. The fishing had been fair for rainbow and brown trout. The Rio Grande at Pilar was stocked April 14 with 3,067 rainbow trout. The Rio Grande above Pilar in the Gorge was stocked with 251 rainbow 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 Pueblo near Penasco is now ice free. The streamflow was 70.9 cubic-feet-per-second. This is high but lower than last week. Fishing could be good for wild brown trout. It was stocked April 27 with1,197 rainbow trout.
The Red River near the Red River Fish Hatchery is flowing at 86.1 cubic-feet-per-second. This is higher than last week.
The fishing is normally fair-to-good here for stocked rainbow trout and some wild brown trout. It was stocked April 19 with 699 rainbow trout.
The Red River Hatchery Pond is now open. It was stocked April 19 with 398 rainbow trout. 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. This little lake is right off the highway between Questa and Red River. It was last stocked April 13 with 1698 catchable-size rainbow trout.
Cabresto Lake near Questa is a small, high-elevation lake. It has wild brook trout and cutthroat trout. The road into the lake is rough. You will need a good four-wheel drive vehicle. Use extreme caution as the ice is deteriorating. It should be ice free by mid-May if not sooner.
The Pecos River above the town of Pecos is opening up. Spring runoff has begun. The streamflow at Pecos was 162 cubic-feet-per second. This is lower than last week. The fishing had been fair for stocked rainbow trout and wild brown trout. The deeper pools will hold the most trout. It was stocked twice two weeks ago with a total of 2,997 rainbow trout.
The Cowles Ponds were stocked April 21 with 200 rainbow trout.
The Mora fork of the Pecos River was stocked April 19 with 401 rainbow trout. Do not confuse this river with the Mora River in Mora which is not stocked.
Monastery Lake is now open. It was stocked April 27 with 250 catchable-size rainbow trout. Please pick up your trash here as this is private property and should be respected. Fishing here is possible through the State Game and Fish Department’s Open Gate Program.