Abiquiu Lake Fishing Guide (What To Expect)

The Abiquiu Reservoir is situated in Rio Arriba County in the southern U.S. state of New Mexico. The 1,800-foot-long and 340-foot-tall earth-filled Abiquiu Dam, which was built in 1963 and elevated in 1986, holds back water from the Rio Chama. If you are interested in Abiquiu Lake fishing, this article is for you. We will be sharing all important facts that you need to be aware of when you go ahead with fishing at the lake. Based on these facts, you will be able to take your fishing adventures to the next level.

What exactly is the Abiquiu Lake?

The 340-foot high Abiquiu Dam on the Rio Chama River in Rio Arriba County, northern New Mexico, United States, built the 5,200-acre reservoir known as Abiquiu Lake. The Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of this flood control lake, which has some of the top fishing areas in northern New Mexico. Additionally, the region around the lake is home to a number of campsites and recreational facilities where visitors may camp, picnic, hike, go swimming or boating, or go fishing.

The northernmost flood control reservoir in the state of New Mexico belongs to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Albuquerque District and is called Abiquiu Lake (pronounced “Ab-Ba-Que”). In northern New Mexico, between the imposing Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Mountain ranges, lies tranquil Abiquiu Lake. The project, which may be the tallest reservoir in the Corps of Engineers, is conveniently situated inside the Pion Pine/Juniper life zone at a height of 6,400 feet. It is a component of a comprehensive strategy for the Rio Chama-Rio Grande Basins to reduce flooding and sedimentation. 1,621 miles upstream from the point where the Rio Grande drains into the Gulf of Mexico lies the 2,860 acre project. The Rio Chama, some 47 pristine miles upstream from the project, is supplied with cold, pure, transmountain water that is diverted from the San Juan Mountains in south-central Colorado. This water is then pumped into Abiquiu Lake.

Abiquiu Dam is the highest earthen building in New Mexico, rising 340 feet above the Rio Chama, yet it is overshadowed by the adjacent 9,862 Cerro Pedernal Peak. This imposing sentinel with a flat top dominates the Abiquiu landscape and is primarily made of flint, a metamorphic rock so named because it has long been used to kindle fires. Abiquiu Lake appears far below as a beautiful blue opal, in dramatic contrast to the high desert around it, as seen from Pedernal’s top where the sun on your face beams with incredible intensity. One of the most well-known inhabitants of the area, artist Georgia O’Keefe, created sketches and paintings of Cerro Pedernal that may be the greatest representations of the mountain. Her paintings of the Rio Chama and the dusty red and maroon slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains are shown on the walls of famous art galleries in Santa Fe, New York, and other cities across the globe. She was greatly impacted by the natural beauty and remoteness of Abiquiu.

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Geography Of Lake Abiquiu

The serene Abiquiu Lake is located in northern New Mexico, sandwiched between the enormous Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Mountain ranges. The lake is advantageously located at a height of 6,220 feet within the Pion Pine/Juniper life zone. From the nearby dam, one can see Flint Mountain, also called “Cerro Pedernal,” in a stunning panoramic perspective. Abiquiu Lake is seen from the top of Pedernal as a stunning blue opal far below, in stark contrast to the arid desert that surrounds it. There are several impressive geological structures in this area, including the plaza Blanca and the gorgeous red rocks. About 1,621 miles upstream of where the Rio Grande enters the Gulf of Mexico is where Abiquiu Lake is situated.

The land now occupied by Abiquiu Lake was formerly partitioned from neighboring civilizations to the west and north by the Tewa people. As shown by a stone taken from the nearby Cerro Pedernal, the area would have been regarded as a border zone seven hundred years ago, rich in resources and fauna. Construction of Abiquiu Lake was largely done to store sediment and regulate flooding. The Flood Control Act of 1948 allowed for the dam’s construction, which led to the creation of a lake that started to serve as a new kind of facility for storing water. Ten years later, the height of the dam was raised by 13 feet, and the emergency spillway was expanded from 40 to 80 feet.

Recreational activities available at Abiquiu Lake

Because of its breathtaking beauty and excellent fishing, Abiquiu Lake is a great place. The public is welcome to launch any vessel at the Abiquiu Lake boat ramp, including fishing boats, pontoon boats, personal watercraft, and canoes. The horsepower of motors is unrestricted. While admiring the stunning beauty of the lake and unwinding in the warm sunny weather, one may take pleasure in capturing bass, catfish, crappie, walleye, trout, salmon, and sunfish.

The Riana Campground overlooks the lovely Abiquiu Lake from atop a 150-foot granite cliff. There are 54 campsites, and some of them include amenities including tent pads, shelters, barbecues, and power connections. There are also picnic and fishing areas, showers, a garbage station, and a play structure. The campsite is the best place to spend the night because of all of this. Near Abiquiu Lake, there are two multi-use trails with a combined length of more than 12 miles: the Old Spanish Trail and the Abiquiu Lake Vista Trail. Among the leisure pursuits accessible on these paths are hiking, mountain biking, and animal observation.

Fishing at the Abiquiu Lake

A lake with a surface area of 5,200 acres and a coastline of over 25 miles may be found in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. Fishing is excellent for Walleye, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Rainbow and Brown Trout, Kokanee Salmon, Channel Catfish, White Crappie, and Bluegill at Abiquiu Lake. Here are some of the most prominent types of fish that you will be able to catch when you go ahead with Abiquiu Lake fishing.

1. Walleye

Where to locate Walleye? You may catch Walleye in many lakes, pools, and medium- to large-sized rivers throughout North America. Large, shallow lakes with murkier waters are preferred by walleye. Walleye may grow from an average of 22.3 inches to a record-breaking 42 inches.

Avoid fishing in the heat of the day or when it’s really light if you’re after walleye. Walleye fishing equipment: use a 6′-7′ medium-heavy rod with a spinning setup strung with 6 to 8-pound monofilament fishing line. Early dawn or dusk are the ideal times to catch walleye. Use a line weighing 10 to 14 pounds while trolling for walleye.

2. Brown trout

Brown Trout locations: Like the majority of fish in the salmon family, brown trout are a cold water species. Brown trout are said to be more nocturnal and challenging to capture. In North America, brown trout may be found in a variety of cold water alpine streams, bigger rivers, ponds, and lakes.

Fall, when enormous adult brown trout are spawning, and at dawn and dusk are the greatest times to capture them. Fishing advice for brown trout: Although they may be caught using the same equipment and lures as rainbow trout, brown trout are often harder to catch. They are private and possessive. At colder water temperatures, they are more active. In the United States, 45 states stock brown trout each year including Abiquiu Lake.

3. Rainbow trout

The medium-sized rainbow trout is one of the most widely stocked fish in North America and is perhaps the most widespread and simple to catch of all trout. Fishing for rainbow trout is permitted in many rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, urban lakes, and community lakes.

Due to their size, ability to devour large quantities of insects and larvae, and ability to be recognized by their distinct pink lateral stripe and brown spots on their backs, rainbow trout are highly prized trophy fish. The fact that Rainbow Trout need far more cautious handling than Bass or Walleye is something you should keep in mind. Make sure your hands are damp before touching the fish. Try to hold the fish by the mouth or mouth and belly only to prevent it from falling to the ground or floor. If you are releasing the fish back into the water, return it to the water as quickly as you can.

4. Channel catfish

The channel catfish is most often mistaken with the blue catfish because both have smooth, scaleless skin and barbels (sometimes known as “whiskers”) around the mouth. The average length of a channel catfish is between 22 and 52 inches.

When and where can you catch channel catfish? Numerous lakes, reservoirs, ponds, rivers, and streams have channel catfish. The channel catfish can survive murky water and water temperatures as high as the upper 90s but needs consistent flows of well-oxygenated water.

Channel catfish may often be fished all year round at Abiquiu Lake. One of the finest times to catch channel catfish is during the summer evenings and nights when they actively feed in the shallows.

5. Kokanee Salmon

A landlocked variation of the bigger Pacific sockeye salmon is the kokanee salmon. Open water fish like kokanee are challenging to capture from the beach. Kokanee salmon may be found at all depths and like cold, clean lakes and reservoirs. Hence, Abiquiu Lake is a perfect place available for anyone who wishes to go ahead with Kokanee Salmon fishing.

Kokanee salmon fishing advice: Kokanee salmon are outstanding fighters, entertaining to fish with light gear, and they provide fantastic fishing possibilities all year long.

The two main techniques for capturing kokanee salmon are as follows:

Utilizing downriggers is customary while trolling for kokanee salmon. Small spinner rigs and plastic skirt lures with squid-like patterns are quite effective. Use chartreuse in the morning and gradually go on to white, pink, and red as the day goes on since the salmon will often prefer these.

Kokanee Salmon Anchoring If you’re fishing at night, you’ll need a light-sensitive pole to help you see the Kokanee Salmon’s light strikes. Additionally, have a light line with a size #10 or #12 hook and 2lb to 6lb of line. Use a weighted fly or jig with a little piece of nightcrawler, maggot, wax worm, or shoepeg corn as bait. To increase your chances of capturing a Kokanee Salmon, keep your bait at or slightly below the thermocline.

6. White crappie

White Crappie are freshwater fish that often congregate in schools and forage in the early morning hours. When should you go white crappie fishing at the Abiquiu Lake? Although you may fish for white crappie all year long, May and June are the finest months since that’s when the adult fish travel into shallow regions to breed.

Where Can You Catch White Crappie? White crappie may be found in lakes, ponds, sloughs, backwater pools, and streams. To avoid being attacked by predators, they like to remain close to cover. White crappie enjoy cover like foliage, brush piles, dead trees, or rocks, and they often congregate in this area in the spring. You can easily find white crappie for fishing at the Abiquiu Lake.

With the exception of dawn and dusk, when they travel closer to the shore to eat, White Crappie will gather in deeper waters later in the year. In clear water, white crappie often gathers in schools amid plants over mud or sand.

7. Largemouth bass

One of the greatest and most prized freshwater gamefish to capture is the bass. It will be possible for you to go ahead with largemouth bass fishing at the Abiquiu Lake. You can find a ton of information and tools on the best of bass website to help you get ready for success when out on the lake or shore fishing for both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a certain bait, lure, or approach that will always succeed in luring bass. To assist you be even more successful, you can align the bait and lure you require by understanding the lake, forage, weather, time of year, etc.

Final words

There aren’t any special preparations that you need to be mindful about when you go ahead with Abiquiu Lake fishing. Just be ready to have an ordinary fishing experience, and this lake will never disappoint you. No matter what, anyone who goes ahead with fishing at the Abiquiu Lake will be able to end up with securing an enjoyable experience.

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