EAGLE NEST LAKE STATE PARK – Bundled up against the afternoon chill, Joe Vallejos stares at his fishing line as it disappears through a hole in the ice and into the dark depths of Eagle Nest Lake, in Colfax County halfway between Taos and Cimarron.
Vallejos, 52, of Sandia Park, works for a national fishing bait company. He is out here on lake ice, 8½ inches thick, on a recent Wednesday testing some of his employer’s product.
The temperature is in the low 30s but feels colder because of the ice.
“If the wind is blowing, I’m not getting out on the ice,” Vallejos says. “But some people get a tent with a heater in it.”
Earlier in the day, there had been perhaps 20 people ice fishing on the lake’s frozen surface, some of them cosily ensconced in shelters that can be heated while in use and packed up like a tent when the fishing is done. But now, as the day creeps toward twilight, there is only Vallejos and one other hardy fisherman standing, unsheltered, in the distance.