Efforts Underway to Expand New Mexico Angler Opportunity

Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Senior Coordinator, Rocky Mountain States

Highlights

  • The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is currently accepting public comment on a proposal to begin a hybrid striped bass stocking pilot program in the Caballo Reservoir.
  • The hybrid striped bass pilot program is a strategic approach to increasing recreational fishing opportunities and spending in state and local communities while simultaneously evaluating the impacts of hybrid striped bass in New Mexico reservoirs.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation submitted a letter urging the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to move forward with the proposal, providing New Mexico residents with a new angling experience while evaluating the potential for expanding this unique fishery to other reservoirs in the state.

Why It Matters: The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is considering stocking hybrid striped bass into Caballo Reservoir to provide a new sportfishing opportunity. Developing a hybrid striped bass fishery in Caballo Reservoir, and potentially other reservoirs in New Mexico, is a strategic approach to increasing recreational fishing opportunities and spending in local communities. As more people turn to outdoor recreation during the current Covid-19 pandemic, many of which are taking up fishing for the first time or returning to the sport after years of lapsing, abundant and well- managed fisheries are needed to keep people vested in not only our angling heritage but also conservation of our fish and wildlife resources.

As more people turn to outdoor recreation during the current Covid-19 pandemic, many of which are taking up fishing for the first time or returning to the sport after years of lapsing, abundant and well-managed fisheries are needed to keep people vested in not only our angling heritage but also conservation of our fish and wildlife resources.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) is considering stocking hybrid striped bass into Caballo Reservoir to provide a new sportfishing opportunity. Hybrids readily attack fishing lures, fight vigorously once hooked, can grow to 5 – 10 pounds within 3 to 4 years, and be between 18 – 22 inches in length by 2 years. Thus, providing a fast growing, aggressive, large sport fish that serves as great table fare that will likely become very popular with New Mexico anglers. Developing a hybrid striped bass fishery in Caballo Reservoir, and potentially other reservoirs in New Mexico, is a strategic approach to increasing recreational fishing opportunities and spending in the state and local communities.

Even though striped bass are not native to New Mexico, the introduction of hybrid striped bass in artificial reservoirs is appropriate where the potential for adverse impacts to native threatened or endangered fish species is minimized or non-existent. There have been concerns expressed by anglers in other areas of the country who target popular sport fish species like largemouth bass, crappie, and walleye that the introduction of striped bass or hybrids of the species will result in significant predation on other established sport fish species. However, that has not been documented to be the case.

While there is a potential for resource competition between hybrid striped bass and other sport fish populations for prey species where a forage base is limited, adverse competitive effects can be mitigated by choosing reservoirs that have abundant forage fish populations and stocking rates of hybrid striped bass are monitored and adjusted as needed. The proposed hybrid striped bass pilot stocking project on Caballo Reservoir offers the NMDGF an excellent opportunity to effectively evaluate the impacts of stocking hybrid striped bass in New Mexico reservoirs with an abundant prey base while monitoring and adjusting stocking rates to optimize the fishery without impacting other sport fish populations.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation submitted a letter urging the NMDGF to move forward with the proposed hybrid striped bass stocking in Caballo Reservoir, providing New Mexico residents with a new angling experience while evaluating the potential for expanding this unique fishery to other reservoirs in the state.

States Involved

Share this page

Your opinion counts

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

Vote Here
Get Involved

We work hard to educate elected officials about issues important to you, but we can't do it alone. Find out how you can get involved and support CSF.

Read More