View of Abiquiu Lake in 2020 showing lower water level. Photo by George Morse/ladailypost.com
View of Abiquiu Lake Wednesday showing a higher water level. Photo by George Morse/ladailypost.com
By GEORGE MORSE
Sports And Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
Something is happening at Abiquiu Lake and it’s looking good.
After suffering from low water levels the last several years due to a prolonged drought, the reservoir on the Chama River in Northern New Mexico has finally been able to keep some water behind its dam and increase the size of the lake.
Boaters can now use the boat ramp without a four-wheel drive vehicle. The unsightly bathtub ring that lined the shores of the lake has been steadily shrinking thanks to a strong spring runoff from a deep snowpack from this recently past winter. Water is now rising into green-leafed trees that took root during the low water levels.
Boaters should use caution and keep an eye out for floating debris that the rising waters have washed into the lake.
Anglers, hikers and others on shore should keep an eye out for snakes , including rattlesnakes, that will be chased from their rocky hiding places by the rising water.
The lake level should continue to rise as streamflow in the Chama River above Abiquiu Lake is 4,330 cubic-feet-per-second and 1,570 cubic-feet-per-second is being released below Abiquiu Dam.
Water levels in all of New Mexico’s lakes and reservoirs have risen.
The Bureau of Land Management manages Santa Cruz Lake Recreation Area near Chimayo. It will be open 6:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. The fishing should be good for stocked rainbow trout and some wild brown trout. It was stocked twice April 26 with a total of 800 rainbow trout averaging over 14 inches in length. It was stocked May 2 with 2,585 catchable-size rainbow trout. Overlook Campground is open. 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 was 4,330 cubic-feet-per-second at Taos Junction Bridge. It was 3,500 cubic-feet-per-second at Cerro near the Colorado border. This is much higher than last week and well-above normal. The Rio Grande at Pilar was stocked May 9 with 1,600 rainbow trout. There are some big, wild brown trout. Northern pike are caught on big streamers in the Pilar and Taos Junction Bridge areas. The high water makes fishing conditions difficult.
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 May 8 with 201 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 from earlier stockings. It was stocked twice last week with a total of 1,860 rainbow trout. Only two cutthroat trout may be kept as part of the five fish daily limit at Fenton. For more information and current lake conditions call 575.829.3630.
The Rio Cebolla, which flows into and below Fenton Lake, was stocked May 16 with 459 rainbow trout.
The Jemez River reached flood stage two weeks ago, overflowing its banks. The streamflow Sunday was 226 cubic-feet- per-second. Streamflow has been dropping. It is a little higher than last week and a little below normal. State Road 4 is not closed. The river is still high with spring runoff and fishing will be difficult. The Jemez River was stocked May 18 with 800 rainbow trout.
The smaller tributaries of the Jemez River are also swollen with runoff. The Rio San Antonio was stocked May 18 with 601 rainbow trout. The Rio de las Vacas was stocked May 10 with 400 rainbow trout. San Gregorio Lake likely has rapidly deteriorating ice and should be open. Portions of State Road 126 were closed due to heavy snow and muddy conditions last week but may be open now. Check nmroads.com for closures:
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 twice last week with a total of 361 rainbow trout. It also has some wild brown trout and some Rio Grande cutthroat trout from an earlier stocking. The limit is three trout-per-day.
Eagle Nest Lake at Eagle Nest State Park now has plenty of open water for bank fishing. Boating is open.
Fishing should be good for rainbow trout, yellow perch, northern pike and an occasional kokanee salmon. The state-record kokanee was caught at Eagle Nest. It was stocked April 19 with 95,939 kokanee salmon fry. It was stocked May 8 with 819 rainbow trout averaging 15.8 inches in length. It was stocked May 9 with 5,539 catchable-size rainbow trout
and with 1,610 rainbow trout averaging 14.1 inches I size. For more information and current conditions, call 575.377.1594.
The Cimarron River in Cimarron Canyon State Park is opening up. The streamflow below Eagle Nest Dam was 9.90 cubic-feet-per-second. This is lower than last week. The Cimarron River near the town of Cimarron streamflow was measured at 84.4 cubic-feet-per second. It was stocked May 11 with 1,940 rainbow trout. Check the Carson National Forest website to see if campgrounds are open.
The Cimarron Gravel Pit Lakes at Maverick Campground are open now. They were stocked May 11 with 353 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 45 rainbow trout averaging 14.0 inches in size..
Lake Maloya and Lake Alice at Sugarite State Park near Raton have open water. Lake Maloya was stocked May 1 with 2,150 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 308 rainbow trout averaging 17.4 inches in length. Lake Alice was stocked May 18 with 400 rainbow trout. Call 575.445.5607 for current conditions.
Clayton Lake reopened March 1. The state-record walleye was caught here and it is heavily-stocked with rainbow trout.
It was stocked May 2 with 2,150 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 400 rainbow trout averaging 17.5 inches in size. Call 575.374.8808 for conditions.
Heron Lake State Park is open now. There is open water for bank fishing. It was stocked April 20 with 65,651 kokanee salmon fry. It was stocked May 10 with 66,500 fingerling rainbow trout. The boat ramps are closed. The lake level is still low.
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 poor ice conditions. Boating is closed. The Dam Day Use Area is closed for construction. Water level is low. The banks are very muddy. Try fishing at the north end of the lake where the Chama River comes in.
Laguna del Campo, a popular, small lake near Los Ojos, is open. It was stocked May 10 with 148 rainbow trout averaging 14.1 inches in length. Fishing is for anglers 11 years of age or younger an 65 years old or older. Limit is three –fish-per-day.
Bluewater Lake State Park is open. Camping is allowed by reservation only. Lake water level is low but it is rising.
Currently, the lake is open water. Tiger muskies were being caught and the fishing for them was 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 March 15 with 6,000 rainbow trout. The trout fishing should be good until the stockers are caught by anglers or eaten by tiger muskies. Call 505.876.2391 for current conditions.
McGaffey Lake is being stocked again. It was stocked May 10 with 1,216 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 200 rainbow trout averaging 13.9 inches in size.
Morphy Lake State Park near Mora has reopened. It was stocked several times last week with a total of 4,321 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 400 rainbow trout averaging 14.5 inches in length.
Coyote Creek State Park is open. Coyote Creek was stocked May 8 with 638 rainbow trout. The Coyote Creek Pond was stocked with 417 rainbow trout. There was localized flooding during the past week and streamflows are high.
The Charette Lakes have good fishing for holdover rainbow trout and were stocked May 15 with 1,796 catchable-size rainbow trout and 400 rainbow trout averaging 14.3 inches in length. There are also yellow perch here.
Storrie Lake State Park near Las Vegas is open for bank fishing. Boating is closed. It was stocked twice last week with a total of7,327 rainbow trout. It also has some big catfish.
Pecos Canyon State Park is open. In the Canyon, the river has thawed and streamflow was measured 474 cubic-feet per second. This is a higher than last week and well-above normal. There is lot of open water. It was stocked May 16 with 1,210 rainbow trout. The streamflow at Anton Chico is 563 cubic-feet-per-second which is still well-above average. It is lower than last week. The fishing has been fair-to-good for rainbow trout and brown trout, but high water may make fishing difficult. The Pecos River at Villanueva State Park was stocked April 25 with 321 rainbow trout.
A Flood Advisory for the Pecos River was canceled. Anglers should pay attention for rising water anywhere in the state.
The Mora Fork of the Pecos River was stocked April 6 with 325 rainbow trout. Cow Creek in the Pecos drainage was stocked May 3 with 320 rainbow trout.
Monastery Lake near Pecos reopened March 9 after the ice melted. It was stocked May 1 with 100 rainbow trout averaging 14.2 inches in size. It was stocked May 18 with 400 catchable-size rainbow trout. Fishing should be good.
The Cowles Ponds near Cowles were stocked May 10 with 180 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. Bass fishing should pick up soon. It was stocked twice last week with a total of 64,526 sub-catchable rainbow trout. It was stocked April 24 with 157,253 kokanee salmon fry. Boating conditions are good. Call 505.632.2278 for conditions. Navajo Lake does not freeze.
Aztec Pond #1 in Aztec was stocked May 16 with 402 rainbow trout. Tiger Park Pond in Aztec was stocked May 3 with 482 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 405 rainbow trout averaging 14.0 inches in size.
Lake Farmington was stocked three times April 25 with a total of 865 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 802 rainbow trout averaging 15.1 inches in length.
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 were frozen but are now open.
The Forest Service 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. US Highway 64 has been reopened. Hopewell Lake was completely frozen over April 29 with no open water. The ice is starting to deteriorate here and there should be plenty of open water now. Caution should be used and conditions around the lake will be very muddy. Check nmroads.com for road conditions.
The Rio de los Pinos is near the border with Colorado. It is running high 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 2,850 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a much higher than last week and above 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 three times last week with a total of 67,610 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 May 16 with 1,764 catchable-size rainbow trout. It was stocked May 17 with 78,853 fingerling 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 much higher than it has been in recent years. The fishing has been slow-to-fair for walleye, catfish and smallmouth bass. There are some good-sized trout in Abiquiu. They have moved into shallow water. Call 505.685.4371 for more information.
The Chama River below Abiquiu Dam is flowing at 1,570 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a little higher than last week and above normal. The water is murky. It was stocked May 4 with 868 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 405 rainbow trout averaging 14.0 inches in length. 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.
Streamflow in the Chama River below El Vado Dam was 3,880 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a higher than last week and well-above normal. The state-record brown trout was caught here. It was stocked May 2 with 482 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 400 rainbow trout averaging 14. 2 inches in length.
Above El Vado Lake, the Chama River at La Puente has thawed and streamflow was measured 3,320 cubic-feet-per-second. This is about the same as last week and well-above normal. It was stocked May 2 with 844 rainbow trout.
The Chama River above the town of Chama was flowing at 1,250 cubic-feet-per-second.
The Brazos River was flowing at 1,100 cubic-feet-per-second, which is much lower than last week. It was stocked May 2 with 482 rainbow trout.
Cochiti Lake is open. The fishing has been fair-to-good for northern pike. Fishing for catfish could be worthwhile. Lake water level has risen 11 feet. Tetilla Peak Recreation Area is open, but the campground is closed.
Tingley Beach in Albuquerque will not be stocked with trout again until fall. It is now being stocked with channel catfish.
It was stocked April 27 with 624 catfish averaging 18 inches in length.
The Rio Pueblo near Penasco is free of ice and streamflow was measured at 296 cubic-feet-per-second. This is higher than last week and above normal. It was stocked May 8 with 962 rainbow trout. It has wild brown trout.
The Red River below the Fish Hatchery is flowing at 264 cubic-feet-per-second. This is a higher than last week and above normal. It was stocked May 17 with 561 rainbow trout. It was stocked April 17 with 1,711 sub-catchable Rio Grande cutthroat trout. The Red River above Questa is high and streamflow was measured at 203 cubic-feet-per-second. It was stocked April 14 with 500 fingerling Rio Grande cutthroat trout.
The Red River Hatchery Pond is open. Fishing is for anglers 11 years of age or younger and 65 years old or older. The limit is now five-fish-per day. It was stocked May 17 with 319 rainbow trout, possibly some bigger trout from earlier stockings.
Eagle Rock Lake near Questa is open. The ice is gone. It was stocked May 3 with 400 catchable-size rainbow trout and with 54 rainbow trout averaging 17.6 inches in length.
Cabresto Lake, a small, high-elevation lake accessible by four-wheel drive vehicle near Questa, has good fishing for wild brook trout and wild cutthroat trout. Road may be rough and muddy.