A MESSAGE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF GAME & FISH
As COVID-19 continues to force all of us to make changes to our daily schedule, the department would like to remind that together we can make a difference. To help minimize the spread of the virus:
– Practice social distancing.
– Wash your hands regularly.
– Avoid nonessential travel.
The department encourages anglers to stay home, mend equipment and prepare for the coming fishing season.
In the weekly fishing report, provided by Dustin Berg of Go Unlimited (supporting disabled anglers) and the Department of Game and Fish, we will be sharing tips and tricks to help you be ready to go on future adventures.
Here are a few artificial flies, lures and homemade catfish baits that can be made at home and used as soon as restrictions throughout New Mexico are lifted:
Woolly Bugger: This is an excellent fly for catching trout, crappie, bluegill and bass. It is an easy fly to tie and a great starting point for beginner fly-tiers. Some popular colors that have proved to be successful in many situations are black, olive, brown and white.
Fly-tying equipment can be ordered online from many websites and range in price from about $30 and up, but the feeling of catching a fish on a fly that you tied yourself cannot be defined by words. The key equipment in a starter kit includes a vise, scissors, whip finisher, bobbin, bodkin, bobbin threader, hackle pliers, hair stacker, half-hitch tool and hackle gauge. Instructions on how to use these tools are usually included with the kit and are available all over the internet.
Chamois Leech: This fly is one of the easiest to make and is great for catching trout, crappie and other species. There are two variations of this fly. The first is a mainstay in many fly fishermen’s tackle boxes. It is created like most flies in a fly-tying vise.
The easiest way, which has worked well for Berg, is to purchase chamois cloth (commonly used to dry cars after washing) from an auto-parts store. Cut leech-shaped strips that are about 1½ inches long, one-third of an inch wide in the middle and come to a point on each end. The finished cut piece should look like an elongated diamond. Once you have made your cuts, take a small salmon egg hook (Berg recommends red hooks) and run it through the center of the chamois. Then run it back through the chamois so that the hook is centered lengthwise and width-wise with the leech pattern you created. A small dab of super glue where the hook goes through the chamois will secure it.
This fly can be fished with or without weight. In still water, once soaked with water, the chamois leech will slowly sink; trout will often strike on the fall.
Homemade Catfish Bait: Here is one of the easiest, most effective homemade catfish baits Berg has found. Hot dogs are a great catfish bait by themselves, and they don’t make you stink like some very pungent “stink baits.” Add a little Kool-Aid and garlic to enhance your bait and improve your success.
If you have personal tips and tricks that you would like to share with your fellow anglers as we wait out the current restrictions, please email Berg at email@example.com.
Social distancing is a challenge for all anglers; the itch to go fishing just keeps growing. But this is a time for all New Mexicans to pull together for the overall health of all our citizens and stay home. The department reminds anglers it is their responsibility to be aware of closures and contact land managers for properties of interest when restrictions are lifted.
Bureau of Land Management — blm.gov/new-mexico
U.S. Forest Service — fs.usda.gov/about-agency/covid19-updates
New Mexico State Lands — nmstatelands.org/resources/recreational-access/
New Mexico State Parks — emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/
New Mexico Open Gate Properties — wildlife.state.nm.us/hunting/maps/open-gate-program/
New Mexico Wildlife Management Areas — wildlife.state.nm.us/conservation/state-game-commission-lands/
City of Ruidoso — ruidosoparksandrec.com/grindstone-lake-trail-system
Angler and outdoor recreationists should consult local government websites for information regarding specific city and town fishing access.