Eagle Nest, NM – Eagle Nest Lake is half-covered with ice and is closed to boating for the season, the Department of Game and Fish and New Mexico State Parks announced Friday.

The lake is open for bank fishing where there is open water, but a storm expected this weekend may completely cover the lake with ice. Ice fishing will be allowed as soon as officials determine the ice is safe for walking and angling. The ice will be considered safe when it is at least nine inches thick, according to criteria established by the Department of Game and Fish and State Parks.

Eagle Nest Lake State Park will remain open for other activities.

The State Parks Division has a formal procedure for checking the depth of ice. The ice thickness is measured starting at the shoreline and progressing out over the lake. When the ice is nine inches thick, the lake is opened to ice fishing. Park staff continually makes visual checks of the ice, looking for cracks, water on top of the ice, and open water, all signs that the ice may not be safe for anglers.

The State Parks Division and the Department of Game and Fish jointly manage Eagle Nest Lake and surroundings via a joint powers agreement. According to criteria established by both agencies, Eagle Nest Lake State Park staff report the ice conditions to the Department of Game and Fish, which has the authority to open or close the lake to ice fishing. State Parks assists with the on-the-ground posting and enforcement of the ice-fishing determinations. In addition, State Park managers and superintendents have the authority, by regulation, 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.

For more information and current updates about ice conditions, please contact Eagle Nest Lake State Park, (575) 377-1594, or for questions about fishing in northeastern New Mexico, call the Department of Game and Fish in Raton, (575) 445-2311. Information also is available on the Department of Game and Fish or New Mexico State Parks respective websites, www.wildlife.state.nm.us and www.nmparks.com.

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