Eagle Nest Lake State Park is now open to ice fishing. According to the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resource Department’s State Parks Division and the Department of Game and Fish, current measurements indicate that ice thickness exceeds the minimum standards. The State Parks Division and the Department of Game and Fish jointly manage the lake and surrounding area.
The surface of Eagle Nest Lake is now open to walk-in access or access by snowmobiles and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) for ice fishing and other recreational activities on the ice. Side-by-side and Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs) are prohibited. The only access to the ice for ATVs is at the south boat ramp in the main area south of the Visitor Center.
The State Parks Division has the authority to close or restrict access to areas of parks, as well as to restrict, limit or prohibit activities such as ice fishing, as conditions require. Such actions are taken in the interest of public safety and resource protection.
State officials warn that all activities on the lake surface are at your own risk. Before going out onto the ice, consider the following safety precautions:
- Do not fish alone. Before you leave shore, inform someone of your destination and expected time of return.
- Lifejackets save lives. Always wear a lifejacket (personal flotation device).
- Be aware of and prepared for weather conditions. Dress in layers and wear thermal underwear, fleece or wool, and wind and waterproof outerwear, especially for feet, hands and head. Take extra clothes, food and water.
- Keep fishing holes small and few. When drilling fishing holes with an ice auger, keep the diameter under eight inches. Bigger holes are not necessary to land fish and can create a safety hazard for others.
- Watch your step. Avoid ice fishing near feeder streams or known springs, brush, logs, plants, docks, multiple ice cracks, ice that is popping or otherwise audible and dark colored ice that may be weak. Ice spikes are recommended for self-rescue.
- Spread out. Too many people congregated in one area may be more than the ice can safely support. Disperse weight and fishing holes.
All-Terrain Vehicles and snowmobiles, as defined by the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Act, are only authorized at Eagle Nest Lake State Park for ice fishing. Operators should take the most direct route to the ice and back to the parking area. Please remember these vehicles are allowed only to enter and exit the ice; their use is prohibited elsewhere in the park.
For more information and current updates about the lake’s ice conditions, please contact Eagle Nest Lake State Park, (575) 377-1594; for questions about fishing in northeastern New Mexico, call the Department of Game and Fish, (575) 445-2311 or (888) 248-6866. Information is also available on the Department of Game and Fish or New Mexico State Parks Division respective websites, www.wildlife.state.nm.us and www.nmparks.com.