DEPARTMENT SEEKS COMMENTS ON PROPOSED FISHING RULE CHANGES
SANTA FE -- The Department of Game and Fish is accepting comments until Jan. 20 on several proposed changes to the state's fishing rules, including 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. Proposals can be reviewed and comments submitted on the Department Web site, www.wildlife.state.nm.us. 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.
Proposed rule changes:
- Open the Pine River to kokanee snagging during the time snagging is open at Navajo Lake (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 less 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.
- Reduce the length of the Special Trout Water on the Pecos River by approximately ½ mile to make angling rules in the area around the Cowles Kids Pond more consistent and to provide more angling opportunities to families.