SANTA FE, N.M. — Data on historically low stream flow show the effects of a dry winter that could put a crimp on fishing New Mexico’s rivers and streams, but projections for an early monsoon season could save the day.
Data collected by the U.S. Geographical Survey indicate stream flows are way below normal throughout the state. For example, on Tuesday, the gauge station on the Pecos River near the town of Pecos registered the river flowing at 21.5 cubic feet per second. That’s nearly 16 times below the mean average of 339 cfs for that station on May 15.
What’s worse, further downstream at the gauge station at Anton Chico, the flow was recorded at 0.00 cfs – effectively no flow – on Tuesday. The average there for May 15 is 351 cfs.
“It’s not just the Pecos, but all around New Mexico,” Eric Frey, sport fishing manager for New Mexico Game & Fish, said of the readings, which he added are the result of a poor snowpack from a dry winter. “This is one of the worst snowpacks I’ve seen. We’ve gone through drought cycles before, but this is really bad compared to other years.”
That could affect the fish and consequently sport fishing. Game & Fish stocks rivers and streams with millions of fish produced at fish hatcheries each year. But Frey said of the fish, “Those guys don’t do well when the water is not in great shape. A lot of anglers depend on stock fish. They may need to be more flexible.”