Navajo Lake has been the best opportunity for salmon snagging so far this fall, although Eagle Nest Lake had a strong early start before it slowed down significantly. The snagging season opened Oct. 1 at Navajo, Eagle Nest, El Vado and Abiquiu reservoirs.

Kokanee salmon spawn in the fall and die after producing their eggs or milt. Snagging allows anglers to make use of fish that otherwise would be wasted. The daily limit is 12 fish a day, 24 in possession.

Heron Lake opens to snagging Nov. 9. Crews from the Department of Game and Fish will begin capturing eggs from fish spawning at Heron Oct. 26. They anticipate collecting about 6 million eggs, and producing almost 4 million fry at the Los Ojos Hatchery, said Peter Thompson, manager of the hatchery. The eggs are hatched at Los Ojos and about one third of the fry are stocked only three weeks to a month after hatching. The remaining fry are fed and stocked into the wild periodically to avoid crowding at the hatchery. Ultimately the last 1.2 to 1.7 million fry are stocked by late March, Thompson said.

Snaggers planning to visit Navajo Lake should remember that the State Parks Division has closed areas around the Pine Boat Ramp and adjacent locations to snagging. Low water forced New Mexico State Parks Division to close the area before the opening of the season to protect gas lines, electric lines, boats and cables.

“Currently, there are too many potential hazards around the main boat ramp to allow our visitors to do any snagging or angling,” said Tommy Mutz, Director of New Mexico State Parks.

The best reports from Navajo Lake have come from those snagging at the dam outlet and in Francis Canyon. For a complete fishing report, visit

Image courtesy New Mexico Department of Game & Fish

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