Navajo Lake ramp closes to anglers in October

The Daily Times staff
Arturo Romero Sr. displays the catches of the day after snagging on Oct. 13 on Navajo Lake.

FARMINGTON — The Pine Main boat ramp at Navajo Lake State Park, as well as the no-wake zone around it, will be closed to anglers in October. It will reopen Nov. 1.

During the closure, officials with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will harvest kokanee salmon eggs and sperm so they can stock the fish this spring, according to a department press release.

“Low water years have hindered our egg take from Heron Reservoir, requiring the use of Navajo Lake as an alternative source of salmon eggs this year,” said Richard Hansen, the department’s cold-water fisheries supervisor, in the release.

Snagging refers to harvesting spawning salmon by casting hooks into schools of the fish. Anglers can harvest 12 fish a day and have 24 in their possession, according to the department.

Kokanee are landlocked sockeye salmon that spawn and die each fall. Because they cannot reproduce naturally in the state’s waters, officials capture the fish, milk their eggs and sperm and then raise the fertilized eggs at a hatchery in Los Ojos, according to the department. The fry are stocked in the spring at several spots, including Navajo Lake.

Salmon snagging season starts Thursday and continues through Dec. 31 at Navajo Lake, the Pine River, El Vado Lake, Abiquiu Lake, Eagle Nest Lake and the Chama River from El Vado Lake to the west boundary of the Rio Chama Wildlife and Fishing Area. At Heron Lake and Willow Creek, it runs from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31.