Home Biologist Habitat projects across the state benefit both fish and anglers | Adventure

Habitat projects across the state benefit both fish and anglers | Adventure


When you hear habitat project, fish is probably the last thing that comes to mind. However, creating habitat for fish is very important.

“The goal of fish habitat projects in the state is to increase spawning areas and boost food sources for all fish in the lakes, as well as improve fishing in general,” said Jacob Miller, warm-water fisheries biologist for the Department of Game and Fish. .

Several years of survey data collected on sport fish species at Bill Evans Lake have suggested that sport fish lack essential food sources, such as plankton, crayfish, minnows and bluegills. growth during the early stages of life. In 2020, the ministry carried out a restoration project to improve fish habitat at Bill Evans Lake Wildlife Management Area near Silver City.

Bill Evans Lake was purchased in 1972 from Phelps-Dodge Corp. The lake sits atop a mesa and provides fishing access and wildlife habitat. The reservoir is 300 feet above the Gila River. Water is regularly pumped from the river below to maintain lake levels and suitable habitat for warm and cold water fish.

The Bill Evans Lake project has improved habitat for several species of sport fish, such as largemouth bass, channel catfish, rainbow trout and bluegill by increasing spawning areas for adult fish and hiding places for juvenile fish. Man-made structures that are less likely to be snagged by anglers have been sunk at strategic points near the shore to attract fish, improving angling and catch rates in Bill’s Lake WMA Evans.

In unison with the habitat project, the department also plans to build a new boat launch and alter much of the shoreline around Bill Evans Lake to improve angler access to the areas by smoothing the slope of the shoreline, adding walking paths, improving the road around the lake and adding rock/gravel fishing jetties.

Similar habitat projects are underway at Lake Carlsbad and Lower Tansill Lake. With assistance from the New Mexico Chapter of the BASS Nation and the City of Carlsbad, the department began improving fish habitat structures in these lakes. These habitat projects aim to increase spawning areas, increase food sources for all fish in the lakes, and improve fishing in general.

Other habitat structures made of logs, large branches and pallets will be installed later this year and a map showing the locations will be provided on the ministry’s website at bit.ly/3r3bXs3, as will one showing some great fishing grounds at Lake Bill Evans.

Ross Morgan is a spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.