New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Dan Williams, (505) 476-8004
Public contact: (505) 476-8000



LA CUEVA -- Fenton Lake is temporarily closed to fishing because of thermal spring activity under the lake that have created unsafe ice conditions for anglers, the Department of Game and Fish and New Mexico State Parks announced.

Fenton Lake State Park will remain open for camping and other activities, but the lake likely will remain closed through the winter. The lake will reopen to fishing and boating when the ice clears or when officials determine the ice is safe for walking and angling. The ice will be considered safe when it is at least nine inches thick, according to criteria established by the Department of Game and Fish and State Parks.

The State Parks Division and the Department of Game and Fish jointly manage Fenton Lake and surroundings via a Joint Powers Agreement. According to criteria established by both agencies under the agreement, Fenton Lake State Park staff report the ice conditions to the Department of Game and Fish. When the ice thickness meets its requirements, the Department allows ice fishing on the lake. The Department of Game and Fish has the authority to open or close the lake to ice fishing. State Parks assists with the on-the-ground posting and enforcement of the ice-fishing determinations. In addition, State Park managers and superintendents have the authority, by regulation, to close or restrict access to areas of parks, as well as to restrict, limit or prohibit activities such as ice fishing as conditions require. Such actions are taken in the interest of public safety and resource protection.  

The State Parks Division has a formal procedure for checking the depth of ice. The ice thickness is measured starting at the shoreline and progressing out over the lake. When the ice is thick and hard enough to be considered safe, the lake is opened to ice fishing. Park staff continually makes visual checks of the ice looking for cracks, water on top of the ice, and open water, all signs that the ice may not be safe for anglers.

For more information and current updates about ice conditions, please contact Fenton Lake State Park, (575) 829-3630. Information also is available on the Department of Game and Fish or New Mexico State Parks respective Web sites, and