Anglers can still catch plenty of tasty fish during the winter as the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish switches from stocking catfish to trout in many statewide waters.
Every fall, the department switches from stocking catfish in the summer to trout in the winter at Tingley Beach, the Albuquerque area drains and other popular fishing waters in the southern half of the state.
“Trout fishing in small community ponds in southern New Mexico is especially popular during the winter,” says Dan Williams, spokesman for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
Catfish thrive in warmer water while trout prefer it much cooler, and these waters are ideal for this kind of stocking program.
Rainbow trout, including some big ones, are already being stocked at multiple locations in the drains that run alongside the Rio Grande in and around Albuquerque.
“We’re fortunate here in New Mexico to have waters such as Tingley Beach and the Albuquerque-area drains that cool off enough in the winter to allow us to stock trout for anglers to catch,” Williams says.
Although the department doesn’t disclose exact stocking spots, general locations include: N.M. 550 river bridge in Bernalillo, the Corrales drain along the bosque, and the Rio Grande Open Space off Alameda Boulevard.
Other stocking spots include the Shining River parking area, the drain between Bridge and Rio Bravo Boulevards, and the west bank of the Belen drain and the east bank of the Peralta drain between Los Lunas and Belen.
Maps of the drains areas can be found in the fishing section of the department’s website at www.wildlife.state.nm.us. Thousands of trout are stocked every week from November through March. See the weekly stocking report on the department’s website for details of when and where.
Albuquerque anglers say fishing for trout in the drains requires some stealth and typical fishing techniques. Check out YouTube for some great videos of folks fishing for trout and bass in the Albuquerque area drains.
Trout in the drains usually can be found in deeper pools, under the shade of overhanging trees or around any kind of protective structure.
Try using a salmon egg or worm on a short piece of lightly weighted line just below a bobber or bubble so the bait rides just above the bottom. Spinners and flies are good lures too.
Most areas along the drains are open to the public during daylight hours and can be accessed by walking, riding a bike or driving if permitted. For more information about riverside recreation in the Albuquerque area, visit the city’s website at www.cabq.gov.
At Tingley Beach, anglers will find a kids pond for anglers younger than age 12, a central pond where bait is allowed and the bag limit is four trout per day. There is also catch-and-release only pond where only single, barbless hooks on artificial flies and lures may be used.
Kids enjoy some fishing at one of the ponds at Tingley Beach.
Anglers ages 12 and older need a current fishing license. Call the department’s customer service line at (888) 248-6866 to immediately get one. A license also can be purchased online at www.wildlife.state.nm.us or from vendors such as bait and tackle shops and sporting goods stores.
Tingley Beach, also called Conservancy Park, is operated by the City of Albuquerque and features a café, restrooms, hiking and biking trails and security guards on patrol. See the city’s website for more information.
Good winter trout fishing also can be found within a moderate drive from Albuquerque, including the Pecos River at Sumner Lake and Villanueva state parks. Anglers can wet a line for trout at Escondida Lake just outside of Socorro or on the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Lake at Truth or Consequences.
Anglers will find plenty of well stocked winter trout fishing waters in the southern part of the state. For a list of those waters visit the department’s website at www.wildlife.state.nm.us. Most of the state’s best fishing can be found at state parks. Visit their website for more information.