This fishing report, provided by Dustin Berg of Go Unlimited (supporting disabled anglers) and the Department of Game & Fish, has been generated from the best information available from area officers and anglers. Conditions encountered after the report is compiled may differ, as stream, lake and weather conditions alter fish and angler activities.
Valid April 1 to March 31; 2020-2021 New Mexico fishing licenses are on sale
A MESSAGE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF GAME & FISH
The department is continuing to adapt our ways of working to conserve wildlife for all New Mexicans. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, department biologists and conservation officers continue to conduct wildlife surveys; contact anglers and off-highway vehicle recreationists; and stock fish in open waters throughout the state.
Teams are wearing personal protective equipment for everyone’s safety while working in small groups for maximum social distancing. We ask for your help by following the New Mexico Department of Health public health emergency order by wearing PPE while staying at least six feet away from staff and equipment.
In this week’s report, Berg introduces New Mexico angler and weekly fishing report contributor Eric Ockerhausen.
Ockerhausen likes distancing himself from the crowds while enjoying the solitude of being on the lake. Social distancing has always been high on Ockerhausen’s priority list, even long before COVID-19. This week, he shares some of his kayak fishing tips and tricks.
Ockerhausen emphasizes that a kayak is good for social distancing and good exercise. He says the nice thing about fishing in a kayak is that as you paddle around and get great exercise while enjoying a day outdoors. Rather than paddle around, then float and cast, Ockerhausen prefers to troll a lure.
There are two types of kayaks that people can buy, hardshell and inflatable. Hardshell kayaks are ridged whereas inflatables can be deflated and folded. You will still need to get a life vest and Ockerhausen insists he would not go kayaking alone. Also, a lanyard is a good purchase to make so that you do not lose your paddle. Ockerhausen uses an inflatable kayak and can fold his deflated kayak and transport it in his car. Once at the lake, he can setup his kayak and be ready to get in the water in about 10 minutes.
Trout fishing was new to Ockerhausen when he moved to New Mexico. Through trial and error, Ockerhausen has found that small Rapala lures, yellow spinners and Pistol Pete flies work well for trolling for trout.
Ockerhausen says not to go out and do the same thing all day. If you are not having any luck after 20 to 30 minutes, change lures, change depth or do both. Keep doing things differently until you find out what works for you. He also suggests that you change the speed you are trolling.
Once out onto the lake, Ockerhausen makes a cast to his side or behind him. He then places the end of the spinning rod and reel between his feet. He lets out fishing line until he has enough line out to reach his desired depth. The fishing rod points towards the rear of the kayak and rests under his arm so that is does not interfere with his ability to paddle. The line is then trolled directly behind the kayak.
Ockerhausen says that it does take a little while to get accustomed to and you must pay close attention to your fishing rod. But eventually, knowing when you have a fish on the line becomes natural. It is also a little different landing a fish from the kayak. This all gets easier the more you do it.
Give kayak fishing a try. Ockerhausen thinks you will enjoy it.
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/
Consult local government websites for information regarding specific city and town fishing access.