By Chris Shaffer | 05/28/2013

Fortunately, we were able to spend two, quick hours at Santa Cruz Lake. Heavily fished by residents of Espanola and Santa Fe, Santa Cruz didn’t hide is popularity. Even on a weekday, anglers lined the banks and boats suffocated the lake’s shoreline. There were easily 100 anglers fishing and more arrived as we left to catch flights back to the West Coast.

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With limited time, we hitched a boat ride near the lake’s inlet and decided to soak FireBait. In an area where we were surrounded by trollers and anglers soaking competitor’s dough baits, it only took seconds to gain our first bite, a 10-inch, freshly planted rainbow.

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While Santa Cruz has browns, we didn’t catch any. Instead, we caught and released quick limits of rainbows, keeping just a few for lunch. Later that day we learned that the lake had just been stocked by New Mexico Department of Game & Fish with a few thousand 8-10 inch rainbows, which made catching the larger bows a challenge. The freshly planted fish were aggressive. The point we were perched on was loaded with mostly 9-10 inch fish, though. Nevertheless, we did catch them to three pounds.

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Every color of FireBait we soaked caught trout. Meanwhile, American Wildfire, Atomic Garlic, Pink and Rainbow faired best. American Wildfire produced a limited in fewer than 15 minutes.

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Many anglers fished near the boat ramp, but I recommend hiking the Laguna Vista Trail to where the trail ends at the lake. This is where we fished and allows anglers to access deepwater from the bank, and focus on a point that serves as a magnet to trout. Toss some American Wildfire FireBait, and you’re likely to catch a quick limit of bows, like we did.

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