Weekend Angler: Albuquerque

Rio Cebolla & Fenton Lake
  |  Gorp.com

The Rio Cebolla is one of those joyous small streams calling out to be explored. Bubbling out of the western side of the Jemez Caldera, this tiny stream meanders southwest through wide meadows scattered with small beaver pools.


The low clear water requires sneaky tactics for the cautious trout that swim here. This upper section flows by the Seven Springs Hatchery through the tiny town of Seven Springs down into Fenton Lake. Paralleling NM Road 126 and Forest Service Rd. 314, this section receives heavy fishing pressure from people looking to fill their creel with stocker rainbows, and who don't mind sharing your space.


Below Fenton Lake, Rio Cebolla spreads out, about 810 feet wide, sweeping through a beautiful meadow dotted with pine and fur trees. The two-plus miles below the lake receives less pressure, being inaccessible by vehicle. Park near the lake and walk downstream, or park where Forest Service Rd. 376 crosses the Cebolla and fish upstream.


From the crossing of FR 376 downstream one mile, Rio Cebolla is designated Special Trout Waters and subject to increased regulations. As the Cebolla twists and turns its way through the lower meadows, look for wild browns in the 8"14" range holding in undercut banks, short riffles, and deeper runs.


Several places are reminiscent of a tiny spring creek, where moss has channeled the water. Sparky wild browns dart out for well-presented dry flies. In the late spring/early summer it isn't rare for good anglers to have 80100 strikes in a full day.


Fenton Lake, 2530 surface acres, is a man-made lake on the Rio Cebolla. The lake is managed as a state park with overnight camping, and gets crowded in the summer and on weekends. Most of the people fish from the banks and off the dam, so those with float tubes can find open water in the middle reaches.


New Mexico Game and Fish heavily stocks rainbows. However, there are some wild browns inhabiting the lake. Dragonflies and damselflies in late spring make up a good portion of the trout's diet here.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »