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 you that together we can make a difference. To help minimize the spread of the virus:
Practice social distancing.
Wash your hands regularly.
Avoid non-essential travel.
Wear a face covering.
Avoiding interacting with large groups.
Stay healthy and safe.
The department would like to encourage anglers to continue COVID-19 safe practices; it is a great time to mend equipment, stock tackle boxes and prepare for upcoming fishing trips. In the weekly fishing report, provided by Dustin Berg of Go Unlimited (supporting disabled anglers) and the Department of Game and Fish, we will continue to share tips and tricks to help you be ready.
Be prepared and respectful
With state parks reopening, many people are preparing to go fishing. It is important that being respectful and being informed are a part of those preparations.
When going to a lake or river, practice social distancing. Stay as far away from other people as possible. The fishing is usually better away from the crowd anyway. In the angling community, there is an unwritten rule that you give your neighboring anglers space. At a minimum, far enough apart that your fishing lines cannot reach each other — at least 30 feet, but hopefully more. If fishing lines are close enough to reach each other, they can get tangled.
Signals from wildlife
A quiet spot on the bank of a river or lake is a great piece of temporary realty. If you watch closely, wildlife behavior can give you telling hints as to where fish are congregating. For example, diving ducks and fishing birds feeding on minnows tell you that there is a congregation of prey fish species in the area. These are the same prey fish species that larger predatory fish are feeding on.
From home, it is good to research areas for future angling expeditions. You can locate access points and, by viewing satellite images, identify nice spots to fish from. In today’s era of technology, satellite images can be very helpful. Google Earth is an awesome tool to explore for satellite images and more.
Take time to go over your gear. One common mistake anglers make is using fishing line that is too old. Time and exposure to sunlight will eventually cause a fishing line to lose its integrity. Before heading out, pull a few feet of line out from your reel and give it a hard tug to see if it is strong enough. You should also try tying a hook or lure on and giving that a good tug to test the line strength at a knot point.
Bonus no brainer: Remember, hand sanitizer and soap are good for getting that fishy smell off your hands and keeping the coronavirus off, too.
If you have personal tips and tricks that you would like to share with your fellow anglers, please email Berg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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) — blm.gov/new-mexico
U.S. Forest Service (USFS) — 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/
Anglers and outdoor recreationists should consult their local governments’ website for information regarding specific city and town fishing access.