In this time of change, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish would like to encourage anglers to stay home, mend equipment and prepare for the upcoming fishing season.

In the weekly fishing report, provided by Dustin Berg of Go Unlimited (supporting disabled anglers) and the Department of Game and Fish, they will be sharing tips and tricks to help you be ready to go on future adventures.

Clouser Minnow

This is an excellent fly for catching bass, walleye and pike. It is an easy fly to tie and a great starting point for beginner fly tiers.

White and chartreuse is a popular color scheme that has proven successful in many situations. The idea behind this fly is to mimic the natural baitfish/minnows found in the water you are fishing; that is often what the larger fish are eating.

Researching the type and size of baitfish/minnows found in the water you fish can increase your ability to tie a fly that resembles what your target fish species are eating. The great thing about tying your own fly is that it allows you to adjust your fly’s color, length and weight. Making little changes can make a big difference in tricking fish into thinking your fly is a real minnow.

Fly tying equipment can be ordered online from many websites and range in price from about $30 and up. The feeling of catching a fish on a fly that you tied yourself cannot be expressed with words.

The key equipment in a starter kit includes a vise, scissors, whip finisher, bobbin, bodkin, bobbin threader, hackle pliers, hair stacker, half hitch tool and hackle gauge. Instructions on how to use these tools are usually included with the kit and are also available all over the internet. It is a fun activity and super rewarding when you catch a fish on a fly that you created!

Homemade dough bait for trout

You might notice in the weekly fishing reports that anglers using homemade dough baits are successful catching trout. This past winter at Lake Maloya and Tingley Beach it was a “go-to” bait for quite a few anglers.

Experienced anglers know that finding the right bait at the right time requires that you have a variety of baits for the fish to choose from. Once you find the bait the fish want, it’s fish on. Here is a simple homemade dough bait recipe for you to try and add to your arsenal next time you are out fishing.

Step 1: Melt 1/4 pound Velveeta cheese in a small microwave-safe bowl.

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl mix cheese with: 1 cup flour, 2 cups water, 1 cup cornmeal, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon garlic powder. Mix until everything is well blended and forms a dough.

Step 3: Pinch off small portions of dough and roll them into individual balls.

Step 4: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place several dough balls in the water at a time. Boil dough balls for 1.5 minutes and then remove and place on a paper towel to dry.

It is that simple and now you have garlic cheese dough bait balls ready to catch some trout. Place the dough bait balls onto small egg-size hooks and fish with a weight and bobber.

Recipe: Smoked salmon or trout

Do you have a lot of trout in your freezer from a fun winter fishing trip? Or maybe you just want to try a different way to prepare your fish. All you need is a simple electric smoker, some household ingredients and wood chips (alder wood preferably).

For this recipe I fillet my fish and leave the skin on. They don’t have to be filleted; that’s just my preference. This recipe also works well with fish that are gutted and cleaned.

Filleted fish

Step 1: Lay your fish in a high-sided (2 inch) baking dish.

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, mix brine, mix salt and brown sugar in a 50/50 ratio. You want to mix enough of the ingredients to cover your fish.

Step 3: Cover your fish in the 50/50 salt brown sugar mixture. Let the fish and brine mixture sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. The brine mixture will draw moisture out of the fish.

Step 4: Wash the brine mixture off your fish and pat dry with paper towels. The fish should have a dry texture. Pepper the fish to your liking. Place fish back into the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. This step crates a sticky texture on the fish knows as a pellicle. The pellicle helps to catch the smoky flavor once placed into the smoker.

Step 5: Place fish in the smoker on racks that allow air to circulate on all sides of the fish. Do not set the fish on closed bottom plates or baking sheets. Place alder or fruit wood in the smoker and allow to smoke for 3 to 7 hours between 175 and 225 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature you smoke your fish at will determine the amount of time it takes to smoke.

You can check on your fish after two to three hours to see how they are doing. Some people like their fish smoked but still a little moist. Others prefer a much drier jerky-type texture. I personally like the drier variety.

Step 6: Enjoy! Smoked fish is great fresh out of the smoker or chilled. It is great with crackers or by itself. You can also find many smoked fish dip recipes on the internet. Vacuum-sealed smoked fish placed in the freezer will last for quite a while.

Smoked trout in the oven

1/2 gallon water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup salt

2 tbsp garlic powder

3 tbsp lemon juice

This recipe is for five to seven pounds of fresh trout.

In a large baking dish, pour in the brine and place fish into the brine.

Brine the fish for about eight hours in the refrigerator.

Remove from brine and rinse off fish in cold water. Pat dry.

Lay fish onto the racks of your oven.

Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit. Smoke fish until done, about an hour and a half to two hours.

To store for later use, vacuum seal the fish when cool. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

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New Mexico Game and Fish