Anglers, don’t put away your fishing rod just yet. The Department of Game and Fish will be stocking trout all winter in the ponds at Tingley Beach and in the Rio Grande drainage canals around Albuquerque.
“We’ll be regularly stocking plenty of trout this winter and even slipping in some of those extra-large ones we’ve been growing lately,” said Mike Sloane, chief of fisheries for the department.
Every fall, the department switches from stocking catfish in the summer to trout in the winter at Tingley Beach and other popular fishing waters in the southern half of the state. Catfish thrive in warmer water while trout prefer it much cooler, and these waters are ideal for this kind of stocking program.
Rainbow trout already have been stocked at multiple locations in the drains that run alongside the Rio Grande. 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.
Trout are stocked every week from November through March with 2,400 going into the ponds at Tingley Beach and another 1,000 into the drains.
Fishing for trout in the Albuquerque area drains is much like angling on any stream, said Shaun Green, a cold-water fisheries biologist with the department.
“You just need to be a little sneaky,” he said.
Trout in the drains usually can be found in deeper pools, under the shade of overhanging trees or around any kind of protective structure. One good fishing technique involves suspending 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. Anglers also can use spinners and flies to catch trout in the drains.
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.
Anglers ages 12 and older need a current fishing license, available by calling the department’s customer service line, (888) 248-6866. 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.
Great winter trout fishing 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 and on the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Lake at Truth or Consequences.
Anglers will find many other winter trout fishing waters in the southern part of the state that are stocked by the department. For a list of those waters, please visit the department’s website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us.
Karl Moffatt is a New Mexico Department of Game and Fish writer and photographer. He can be reached by email, email@example.com, or by telephone, (505) 476-8007.