New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Archive News Releases 2007-2013

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New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Dan Williams, (505) 476-8004
Public contact: (505) 476-8000





SANTA FE -- The Department of Game and Fish will conduct public meetings statewide and is accepting comments on several proposed changes to the state's fishing rules, including banning the use of felt-soled waders in waters statewide, allowing anglers to take one tiger muskie, and reducing the bag limit of striped bass at Elephant Butte Lake from three to two.

Public comments will be used to determine proposals submitted to the State Game commission at its Dec. 3 meeting in Hobbs. Proposals can be reviewed and comments submitted on the Department Web site, Comments also can be submitted by regular mail to the Department of Game and Fish, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 25112, Santa Fe, NM 87504.

Public meetings:

  • Farmington: 6 -8 p.m. Nov. 16, Farmington Civic Center.
  • Albuquerque: 6-8 p.m. Nov. 17, Department of Game and Fish office, 3841 Midway Place, NE.
  • Grants: 6-8 p.m. Nov. 18, Grants Convention Center.
  • Raton: 5-7 p.m. Nov. 17, Department of Game and Fish office, 215 York Canyon Road.
  • Roswell: 7 p.m. Nov. 16, Department of Game and Fish office, 1912 W. Second St.
  • Las Cruces: 6 p.m. Nov. 24, Department of Game and Fish office, 2715 Northrise Drive.


Proposed rule changes:

  • Open the Pine River to kokanee snagging during the time Navajo Lake is open (Oct. 1 to Dec. 31). The Pine River was closed while the Department tried to develop a spawning run. The run was successful but the Department was unable to consistently capture the fish. Other methods at Heron Lake have proven successful and there is no longer a need to pursue a run in the Pine.
  • Change the Special Trout Water designation on the Rio Cebolla above McKinney Pond near Seven Springs Hatchery to protect native Rio Grande cutthroat trout by allowing anglers to remove as many brown trout as possible.
  • Open Capulin Creek to catch-and-release fishing. Capulin Creek was devoid of fish after the 1996 Dome Fire near Los Alamos. In 2006, the Department, working with the U.S. Parks Service and U.S. Forest Service, reintroduced Rio Grande cutthroat trout to the stream and closed the stream to fishing. Natural reproduction occurred shortly after stocking and the population has taken hold. 
  • Create a Special Trout Water on Cabresto Creek from Cabresto Canyon to the headwaters. The proposal would allow unlimited take of brook, brown and rainbow trout while protecting Rio Grande cutthroat trout with a catch-and-release rule. Artificial flies and lures with barbless hooks would be required. 

  • On the Vermejo River system on Vermejo Park Ranch, allow unlimited take of brown, brook and rainbow trout and catch-and-release only for Rio Grande cutthroat trout. No tackle restriction would apply.

  • Allow unlimited take of rainbow, brown and brook trout in Leandro Creek on the Valle Vidal while protecting Rio Grande cutthroat trout with a catch-and-release rule.  Current tackle restrictions would remain.

  • Allow unlimited take of rainbow, brown and brook trout in Black Canyon in the Gila National Forest while protecting native Gila trout with a catch-and-release rule.  Current tackle restrictions would remain.

  • Reduce the striped bass bag limit to two fish. The limit was increased to three fish during the drought of 2004 because surveys showed poor overall health of the fish likely due to overpopulation. Elephant Butte Lake's water level has increased and fish health has returned.  Reducing the bag limit will allow more fish to grow to trophy size.

  • Allow a bag limit of one tiger muskie, minimum size 40 inches, at Bluewater and Quemado Lakes.  Surveys indicated that non-reproducing tiger muskies are effectively controlling undesirable fish in the lakes and limited trophy take can be allowed.

  • Switch the kids' and all-anglers fishing ponds at Red River. The Village of Red River has noted crowding at the smaller all-angler pond and requested that the smaller pond be switched to the kids' pond and that the larger pond then be designated as the all-angler pond.

  • Reduce the bag limit at Goose Lake near Red River to three fish. The lake is difficult to reach to stock. Reducing take will provide more equitably distribution of fish among anglers.

  • The City of Grants requested that the Grants City Pond restriction be changed to allow youths ages 17 and younger to fish in order to provide more angling opportunity. 

  • Ban the use of felt-soled waders and wading boots in public waters beginning April 1, 2011. Felt-soled boots have been implicated in the spread of whirling diseases, chytrid fungus, rock snot, New Zealand Mud Snails, and other aquatic invasive species.  The proposal is an effort to limit the risk of the spread of disease and aquatic invasive species.  These species are problems for native and non-native wildlife, and can cause economic problems. 

 Additional proposals:

  • Designate Cienguilla Creek, a tributary to Eagle Nest  Lake, as a Special Trout Water. Only limited portions of the stream are public land, and when the lake is full, available stream is further reduced. The area is a popular kokanee snagging area and the activity would be in direct conflict with a Special Trout Water designation.
  • Reduce the length of the Special Trout Water on the Pecos River to make the area around the Cowles Kids Pond a regular trout water.  Shortening the Special Trout Water is contrary to the long-term management goal for the area of restoring Rio Grande cutthroat trout.

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PORTALES -- Two Portales men were fined, one jailed, after pleading guilty in separate poaching cases Oct. 21 before Roosevelt County Magistrate Jane Martin.

Jacob Gaines, 21, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $2,255 for poaching deer and antelope. Gaines originally was charged with 31 separate counts of poaching-related crimes stemming from a lengthy investigation by Department of Game and Fish and Roosevelt County Sheriff’s officers. Through a plea agreement, Gaines pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful killing of deer, two counts of unlawful possession of deer and one count of unlawful possession of antelope.

Gaines also faces possible civil damages of $16,250 because the animals he poached were considered trophies.

In a separate case, Wade Richardson, 23, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful killing of an antelope and was fined $467. Richardson pleaded guilty to killing a buck antelope when he had a license for a female or immature antelope. He admitted to the poaching during an interview with District Wildlife Officers Nathan Romeo and Mark Holguin.

The antelope Richardson poached was considered a trophy, so he also faces possible civil damages of $4,000 to reimburse the state for the loss of the animal.

Anyone with information about poaching or any other wildlife related crime is urged to call Operation Game Thief at (800) 432-GAME (4263). Callers may be eligible for rewards and need not identify themselves or testify in court. 

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