Issues with Santa Rosa Lake and Bill Evans

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New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Dan Williams, (505) 476-8004
Public contact: (505) 476-8000
dan.williams@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, AUG. 15, 2012:

BAG LIMITS LIFTED AT SANTA ROSA LAKE TO SALVAGE FISH IN LOW WATER

SANTA ROSA – Anticipating a dramatic drop in the water level at Santa Rosa Lake, the Department of Game and Fish announced an emergency fish salvage order in which all bag limits and size restrictions will be lifted at the lake from 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 17, through 11:59 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20.

Rules for legal fishing tackle and methods of taking fish will remain in place during the salvage period, and all anglers ages 12 and older are required to have a license.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake, announced that the Carlsbad Irrigation District has called for a large release of water to maintain water levels downstream in Sumner Lake and to accommodate irrigation needs. Santa Rosa Lake is expected to fall below boat docks and boat ramps. Low levels also could have negative effects on fish in the lake.

The salvage order was issued to allow anglers to catch as many fish as possible to avoid potential spoilage while the lake is being drained.

For more information, please call Santa Rosa Lake State Park, (575) 472-3110 or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (505) 342-3171.

BILL EVANS LAKE LOSING WATER AS GILA ASH FLOWS PREVENT PUMPING

SILVER CITY – Bill Evans Lake, once home of the state record largemouth bass, is rapidly losing its water as the pumps that feed it from the Gila River remain shut down due to ash flow from the Whitewater Baldy wildfire in southwestern New Mexico.

Officials with Freeport McMoRan, which uses the water for its mining operations, said the lake level may drop as much as 40 feet before water conditions improve enough to resume pumping. In the meantime, the Department of Game and Fish has stopped stocking the lake.

Bill Evans Lake is owned by the State Game Commission. The mining company’s four pumps carry water 300 feet uphill from the Gila River to the lake. When full, the 62-acre lake is about 100 feet deep. Fish species include catfish, trout, largemouth bass and sunfish.
The state-record bass, taken in 1995, weighed 15 pounds, 13 ounces.

The lake will remain open for fishing and camping, although boat ramps will be inaccessible.

Category: General