Thursday, April 1, 2010
NM Game and Fish
McGaffey Lake Dam: Did this gentleman catch any fish?April 1st marks the start of New Mexico's fishing and hunting seasons. Anglers need a new fishing license for the 2010-11 season starting today and hunting application are due in Santa Fe in less than a week!
A McGaffey Rainbow
Ice fishing on McGaffey Lake is definitely over, though this year it never really started--2' thick ice capped a 5' deep lake that seemed strangely devoid of fish. We were 'skunked' numerous times this winter fishing the shallow water, but I know fish were alive at the start of the winter because I caught what we call 'the last fish' through the ice in December. None followed. The dam has a 5 gallon/min leak spilling into the wet meadow below.(
Bill and I on McGaffey Lake in early '09
Regardless, NM offers abundant fishing opportunities ranging from stocked trout and musky in the lakes, picky bruisers on the San Juan, and wild wilderness trout in the Gila, Jemez, and numerous other mountain chains throughout the state; there not easy, but they are there, and very tasty. Around here, you'll need a Navajo Nation license to fish the lakes of the Chuska Mountains called Whiskey, Wheatfields, and Tsaile, all favorites of my student's families. I tend to fish elsewhere;) Buy your license locally at Wal*, California Supermarket on Hwy. 66 and Ford Canyon, or my favorite, get both NM and Navajo licenses at T&R Market's gas station on Hwy. 491 just north of town. Worms too, if that's your thing.
Mesquite-smoked Zuni Mountain Elk
Big game season starts with getting your permit application in by April 7th. Get it in, there are no over-the-counter deer or elk licenses in NM! You can now apply online, but that doesn't seem to improve the odds. Bill smoked the roast pictured above, and John Masci harvested the young cow elk at Rice Park this year on a private land-owners permit. The NMG&F website says 150,000 people apply for 50,000 permits; I've drawn a blank four years in a row. Sadly, according to a recent print article (sorry, no link) out-of-state applications have a much better chance of a successful draw than in-state applicants (they pay more, and 20% of the harvest is set aside for them). Turkey are pretty much the only 'big' game with an over-the-counter license and the spring season starts April 15.