Ice fishing tournament to be held at Eagle Nest Lake

By Matthew Narvaiz
sports@taosnews.com
Posted 1/16/20

Picture this: Snow all around, maybe clear skies or maybe not, and a fishing rod with its line down in a hole in the ice of a lake.

That is some of what will be happening on Saturday (Jan. 25) at Eagle Nest Lake State Park for the ice fishing tournament coordinated by the Friends of Eagle Nest Lake and Cimarrón State Parks.

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Ice fishing tournament to be held at Eagle Nest Lake

Posted

Picture this: Snow all around, maybe clear skies or maybe not, and a fishing rod with its line down in a hole in the ice of a lake.

That is some of what will be happening on Saturday (Jan. 25) at Eagle Nest Lake State Park for the ice fishing tournament coordinated by the Friends of Eagle Nest Lake and Cimarrón State Parks.

The event is open to people of all ages -- that is if you have a New Mexico fishing license -- and cash prizes will be given to the winners of each category after the tournament concludes.

There are four categories for the tournament: trout/salmon, northern pike, perch and creel -- or, in other words, who has the most fish.

The way the tournament will be judged, however, is on the length of the fish, for all categories with the exception of creel. If there happens to be a tie in that respect, then the judges will base the winner off of the girth of the fish.

Entrance for each category is $10 and attendees are asked to pay for the tournament either by cash or check. There is also a fee for parking - which is $5 a day.

Seventy-five percent of the money raised from the tournament goes directly back to the winners -- the top four in each category take home cash prizes -- while the rest of it goes back to Friends of Eagle Nest Lake and Cimarrón State Parks to help keep the area maintained throughout the year, said Janet Alton, a liaison for the Friends of Eagle Nest Lake and Cimarrón State Parks.

As for the percentages given out to each winner, first place in each category takes home 40 percent of the winnings, second takes 30 percent, third takes 20 percent and fourth takes 10 percent.

Alton said this is the group's "big event of the year," and added that it "pulls in people from all over," including people from outside the state.

Don Woolsey, a board member for the group, said last year's trout/salmon category winner took home $700, while the perch first-place winner took home $500 and the northern pike winner pocketed $300. Around 300 participants turned out for the event.

Besides the actual tournament, however, there will also be a raffle and buckets filled with prizes will be given to the winners. The group is asking those who attend to bring their own food and drinks for the tournament.

Registration for the tournament will be held in the visitor center at Eagle Nest Lake from 5:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. and the tournament will conclude at 2 p.m.

All-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles will be permitted, said Jonathan Garofalo, a game warden with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, but registration for those vehicles will be checked throughout the tournament.

Garofalo said that there will be around nine officers present, and that they will also be checking for fishing licenses and if kids under 18 are wearing the proper safety gear for the vehicles in use.

Kevin (Goose) Jarigese, the vice president of Friends of Eagle Nest Lake and Cimarrón State Parks, said that this event will be mutually beneficial for both parties: the fishers get to fish -- and gain some prize money -- and the group inevitably can help maintain the area that they care for so much.

"The pubic benefits directly by what we do," Jarigese said.

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