By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
The pond is stocked, lines are being cast and for the first time since last April, the lake at Oasis State Park is open for fishing.
The lake has been closed for 10 months for major renovation to seal the lake-bottom to repair water leakage. Oasis State Park manager Jim Whary says the lake is much improved.
“There’s no vegetation in there right now,” Whary said. “So the fish are biting very well. They’re hitting everything is what we’re being told.”
Whary estimated that about 25 people showed up to fish on Wednesday, the second day the lake was open.
Before opening, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish double-stocked the lake with 1,600 rainbow trout averaging 11 inches or more, and nearly 100 larger trout averaging 15-17 inches in length.
Whary said that the lake typically gets stocked with just over 800 fish every season, so there’s plenty of fish to go around.
“Prior to the renovation project we had a lot of (stuff) out there, so many times if you had your lure out there, or if you were fishing on the bottom, you’d get caught in the weed beds, and fish couldn’t see the bait. Now that it’s a clear bottom it’s much better fishing.”
Tony Woods, from Clovis, has been fishing at the lake for several years and agrees that the conditions are much better.
“Compared to what it was before, it’s great,” Woods said. “Because before, there were so many weeds — you couldn’t even cast out without getting stuck in the weeds.”
The last renovation the lake underwent was in 1979-1980, and Whary says Curry and Roosevelt County residents as well as visitors to the area should be able to enjoy the newly minted lake for several years.
“That (last renovation) lasted for 25 years,” Whary said. “I think (this renovation) will last at least that long, possibly longer, but it’s hard to tell though, especially in this part of the country.”
Several fish have also been tagged by the Friends of Oasis State Park, valued from $5 to $50 as part of a fishing contest. Contest rules are posted throughout the park.
Portales resident Charles Roberson has been fishing at the lake for over 12 years and says he’ll probably start fishing at the lake soon.
“Not ‘till this cold spell blows over,” Roberson said. “I’ll be out there on the first pretty day.”
“This weekend we’re supposed to have nice weather, so we’re expecting a lot of people (to fish),” Whary said.
The annual kids’ fishing clinic will be held at the lake on March 8. Pre-registration is available now. Call 356-5331 for more information.