JUNE 23, 2020
A MESSAGE FROM THE DEPARTMENT:
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
Click the flyer to the right. Please share it with your friends and family.
Stay healthy and safe.
In this time of change, the Department would like to encourage anglers to continue COVID 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 and to safely go on your next adventure.
In this week’s fishing report, Dustin highlights how people in the angling community can work together to ensure equal access for all. Dustin is founder and executive director of Albuquerque-based GO Unlimited, an organization that creates access to outdoor recreation opportunities for people living with disabilities. Learn more about Dustin and GO
If you choose to go fishing this weekend, make sure to practice #ResponsibleRecreation.
Accessible fishing and overcoming disability
New Mexico is a state of abundant outdoor opportunity. For people living with disabilities, accessing these opportunities can sometimes be tricky.
Thankfully, state, federal, private businesses and non-profit organizations are working together to create a situation in New Mexico where people of all abilities can enjoy the Land of Enchantment’s great outdoors.
There are a lot of access improvement projects going on across our state; here are just a few of the locations that are being singled out in this week’s report for their quality adaptive fishing opportunities.
San Juan River
At the Texas Hole, there are several piers that have been created so that people in wheelchairs can access the bank of New Mexico’s premiere trout fishing destination. Cottonwood Campground on the San Juan near the Navajo Dam community also offers accessible riverbank improvements. Accessible drift boats, like those in the pictures from GO Unlimited, allow disabled anglers to access even more river for fishing on the San Juan.
For anglers with a little more mobility, the San Juan River offers multiple parking locations close to the river with good access for those that can walk a short distance. For disabled veteran, Hugo Melchor, wading and fly fishing the San Juan has been a vital “therapy” in his recovery.
New Mexico’s second largest lake located in northwestern New Mexico offers angling opportunities for a variety of fish species including bass, trout, kokanee salmon, pike, crappie, perch and catfish. The newly revamped Navajo Dam Marina created a fishing hole for all anglers and abilities. The fishing hole is also lighted for night fishing. To access the entire lake, accessible pontoon boats are great for fishing for anglers with disabilities.
Tingley Beach, in Albuquerque, offers accessible bank fishing. Catching can also be quite good because the Department routinely stocks trout in the winter and catfish in the summer.
Eagle Nest Lake near Angel Fire has multiple accessible docks for anglers with disabilities to fish from. Anglers often report having good success fishing from these docks catching perch, trout and pike.
Red River and Eagle Rock Lake. The Red River, in and near the town of Red River, has multiple accessible pond and river fishing locations. Red River is a neat mountain town rich in outdoor sport, recreation, vacation, lodging and tourist opportunities. This unique blend of opportunities is perfect for any angler and their entire family to enjoy some time in the mountains. Eagle Rock Lake, located between the town of Red River and Questa, has accessible bank fishing accommodations. Anglers often report having good success fishing for trout using PowerBait, salmon eggs and spinners.
Elephant Butte Lake. Though the sandy bank can be an obstacle for anglers who use a wheelchair for mobility, good accessible fishing opportunities can be found at the marinas. Night fishing under the lights can yield catching a lot of fish. Anglers often report having good success catching white bass, crappie, catfish and walleye using jigs tipped with minnows and worms.
As a manual wheelchair user, the single most effective adaptive piece of equipment that I have found to support my “off road” outdoor endeavors like camping, fishing, and hunting is the FreeWheel. It is amazing how much easier it is to traverse dirt, sand, rocks and grass using the FreeWheel.
For accessing lakes and rivers it is hard to compete with the naturally accessible pontoon boat and custom drift boats. As the demand for accessible, family-friendly and fun fishing trips grows, so does the availability of those related equipment genres.
A huge THANK YOU to the many family members, friends, volunteers, fellow outdoorsmen, organizations and all those who help facilitate adaptive angling pursuits.
Be respectful of the environment
In New Mexico, we have beautiful streams, rivers and lakes that we encourage people to enjoy. Part of enjoying these places is to enter, experience and not destroy. Encourage others to be stewards of the land. Lead by example. It is devastating to these locations when people show up and leave their trash.
Besides the point that leaving your trash turns an otherwise natural environment into an unsightly litter box, it passes on a terrible lesson to the next generation of outdoorsmen. It also harms wildlife. If two out of 10 people leave their trash, and 500 people visit the area, it equals a lot of nasty waste left in the outdoors. There are many wild animals that rely on our state’s limited water sources that might consume or become entrapped in leftover trash. These animals die from such negative overlaps in culture. Think of them. Think of the people who look up to you.
Lead by example and take the easy steps to haul your trash back to the city to dispose of it. Do it for your own outdoors enjoyment and the sake of everything in our great outdoors.
Learn more about Leave No Trace here.
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 Dustin 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) – https://www.blm.gov/new-mexico
- U.S. Forest Service (USFS) – https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-
- New Mexico State Lands – https://www.nmstatelands.org/
- New Mexico State Parks – http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/
- New Mexico Open Gate Properties – http://www.wildlife.state.nm.
- New Mexico Wildlife Management Areas – http://www.wildlife.state.nm.
- Angler and outdoor recreationists should consult their local government’s website for information regarding specific city and town fishing access.