Eagle Nest Lake ice-fishing tournament called off

By Gabriel Weinstein<br />Staff writer

EAGLE NEST — Eagle Nest Lake State Park closed to all ice activities last week because of unsafe conditions, which forced organizers of the ice-fishing tournament scheduled for Saturday (Feb. 8) to cancel the event.

Eagle Nest Lake was open to ice fishing from Jan. 10-29.

People are not allowed on the ice unless it is at least nine inches thick, and the park reported the ice was seven to nine inches thick Jan. 29. The park also reported the strength and overall condition of the ice are unsuitable for activities on the surface, and open water is present on the south end of the lake near the visitor center.

Nancy Loritsch, coordinator of the ice-fishing tournament, said the board of directors for Eagle Nest Lake State Park and Cimarron Canyon State Park unanimously voted Sunday (Feb. 2) to cancel the event this year.

She said park officials were not optimistic about the chances of the ice becoming thick enough for ice fishing by the time of the tournament. There would need to be extreme weather conditions within the next week to make ice fishing possible by the time of the tournament, Loritsch said.

“It would have to be 30 below for a week,” she said.

There are no plans to reschedule an ice fishing tournament for this winter, Loritsch said. She said she is considering scheduling another fishing tournament for this summer, however, and the 2015 ice-fishing tournament will be held the second Saturday in February next year.

Beth Wojahn of New Mexico State Parks said she is not yet sure what economic impact the closure of the lake will have on the park. State Parks collects a $5 fee for every vehicle that enters the park.

“Revenue will be lost because people can no longer fish at Eagle Nest Lake State Park,” she said