Eagle Nest Lake State Park is now opened ice fishing. Recent cold weather has increased the lake’s ice thickness to minimum standards, according New Mexico State Parks and the Department of Game and Fish. The State Parks Division and the Department of Game and Fish jointly manage the lakes and surroundings. State Parks has the authority to close or restrict access to areas of parks, as well as to restrict, limit or prohibit activities such as ice fishing as conditions require. Such actions are taken in the interest of public safety and resource protection.
The lake is open to walk-in, snowmobiles and ATVs for ice fishing and other recreational activities on the ice. All-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles, as defined by the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Act, are authorized for ice fishing use at Eagle Nest Lake State Park only. Operators should take the most direct route to the ice and back to the parking area. Please remember these vehicles are allowed only to enter and exit the ice, their use is prohibited elsewhere in the park. Side by Side/UTV’s are not allowed. The only access to the ice for ATVs is at the South Boat Ramp in the main area south of the Visitor’s Center.
State officials remind you that you take a risk anytime you go out onto the ice. Before going out onto the ice, consider the following safety precautions:
- Don’t fish alone. Before you leave shore, inform someone of your destination and expected time of return.
- Lifejackets Save Lives. Always wear a lifejacket (personal flotation device).
- Be aware of and prepared for weather conditions. Dress in layers and wear thermal underwear, fleece or wool, and wind and waterproof outerwear, especially for feet, hands and head. Take extra clothes, food, water, etc.
- Be prepared for emergencies. Carry equipment such as ice picks or awls, rope, and cellular phones. Pack a first-aid kit and matches or other sources for starting a fire.
- Keep fishing holes small and few. When drilling fishing holes with an ice auger, keep the diameter under eight inches. Bigger holes are not necessary to land fish and can create a safety hazard for others.
- Watch your step. Avoid ice fishing near feeder streams or known springs; brush, logs, plants or docks; multiple ice cracks or ice that is popping or otherwise audible; and dark-colored ice that may be weak. Ice spikes are recommended for self-rescue.
- Spread out. Too many people congregated in one area may be more than the ice can safely support. Disperse weight and fishing holes.
For more information and current updates about the lake’s ice conditions, please contact Eagle Nest Lake State Park, 575-377-1594.