Anglers and community members raised $21,000 to purchase the 3- to 4-inch bass that are expected to be delivered May 6, said Ron Gilworth, a Socorro bass fisherman involved in the community project. Volunteers in boats will distribute the fish around the lake with assistance from New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and Elephant Butte Lake State Park staff.
“We hope to improve the fishing here, not just for tournament bass fishers, but for all future anglers,” Gilworth said. “This is a win-win for the community, working to increase tourism, fishing and the lake’s reputation.”
Organizers of the event have seen lake levels and bass numbers drop at Elephant Butte Lake in recent years because of severe drought and they wanted to do something to help the popular fishery. The group also submerged discarded Christmas trees and other man-made structures around the lake to provide good habitat for bass and other fish.
The department helped the community acquire and import the bass from a private fish hatchery in Arkansas.
“It’s great to be working with the community in bass stocking and habitat improvement,” said Mike Sloane, the department’s chief of fisheries. “These added habitat structures have the potential to provide important rearing habitat, not only for largemouth bass, but for other species as well.”
For more information about the event, please contact Ron Gilworth at (575) 835-8123.