Fly fishing

From the Sidelines: Rainbow Trout Arrive at Lake Escondida

The shores of Lake Escondida were filling with fishermen on Sunday.
Russell Huffman | Photos of Chief El Defensor

Russell Huffman El Defense Chieftain Assistant Editor

Russell Huffman

Since arriving in Socorro in early September I had been eagerly awaiting the news that Lake Escondida was stocked with trout – I was not the only one.

Sunday morning I was browsing the internet when I realized that I hadn’t checked the New Mexico Department of Game and Fisheries website for its latest fishing and stocking reports.

NOPE!

Yes, they did on November 1, and I was already five days late.

Unfazed, I went to Lake Escondida to check the waters. Armed with my camera, I had planned to admire the scenery and get some tips from the fishermen.

By 10:30 a.m., about two dozen people had lined up around the lake with mixed success.

Jarrod Boyce and Shawn Spivey of Socorro were two anglers on the verge of limiting themselves, who had used Power Bait and salmon roe to fill their stringer. Boyce was working a fly rod in hopes of one more fish, while Spivey was using a pair of lightweight rods to fish the bottom with bait.

As the occasional trout burst onto the surface of the water, Boyce explained that nothing catches trout more than sheer patience.

“You just have to be patient and wait for the right moment, then wait a little longer,” Boyce said.

Spivey is new to trout fishing and quickly fell in love with the sport Boyce introduced him to last year.

“I love fishing for trout. They fight hard,” Spivey said.

Socorro’s Jarrod Boyce and Shawn Spivey hit their limit at Lake Escondida.

Our interview was cut short by Spivey carrying a nearly 11-inch trout who bent his ultralight rod in half. The smile on his face told me he was having a fantastic day and it was time for me to visit someone else.

Across the lake, 11-year-old Los Lunas resident Isaiah Lujan matched the size of Spivey’s fish, and he brought it ashore at just the right time after I said, “If you catch one, I’ll take your picture.”

His smile also matched Spivey’s smile.

Trout fishing can be as complicated as you want it to be, but most of the time the real fun happens when you simply bait the fish with worms, dough bait or minnows. Like fishing for catfish on the bank – it’s not very expensive until you start adding to your collection.

The key to successful bait fishing for trout is lightweight tackle. You don’t need a 10 pound test line and half ounce weights. Use barrel weights and a slip swivel so the line slides through the weight and the fish don’t feel it.

A 2 to 4 pound strength fishing line with properly set drag will catch most fish. I landed an 8.4 pound rainbow on a 4 pound test line so I know it can be done.

Remember that a 10 pound trout will take an ant sized fly, so it has a sensitive mouth and can feel the 2-3 BB weights you have pressed on your line.

If you have that youngster who constantly needs to check his bait because he knows he has a bite (he doesn’t), you can resort to lures like mousetails, Kastmasters and spinning baits like Panther Martin.

These are simple trout lures that aren’t difficult to maintain, and they work well for young anglers looking to experience the excitement of a fish catch.

To be safe, place the child about ten meters away from siblings on the bank to avoid emergency trips to the hospital to remove the hooks.

Parents should be warned that once their child hooks a trout while lure fishing – there will be wanted additions to the tackle box – lots of them.

I’ll tell you a lot more, but I just had a bite to eat.