Ice fishing in New Mexico brings a whole new experience for many anglers. Being out on a frozen lake will change your view of the familiar scene. Beautiful blue skies contrast the pure white ice with snow-covered mountains all around.
Not much special equipment is needed, although a nice warm coat, a folding chair to keep you off the ice, and some hot chocolate come in handy. Ice augers are needed for drilling new holes in the ice, but usually you can find holes drilled by other anglers. Bring along a ladle or big spoon to clean out ice from the hole. A towel is a good idea to dry off your wet hands. The water is cold under all that ice.
Be careful as you walk on the ice. Wind-swept ice can be very slick, so consider picking up a pair of slip-on ice cleats. You will use them more than you think.
Just like regular warm-weather fishing, you can jig or bait-fish. Jigging is using moving bait that resembles prey for your target fish. There are many special ice fishing jigs that glow in the low light under the ice. Look for jigs called Swedish pimples and the Rapala jigs and try some different colors from natural to bright. Jigging usually is done in an up-and-down motion, but try spinning the line between your fingers to add a different motion to attract more fish.
Bait fishing usually is most successful on the bottom in shallower water along the edge of the lake. Simply weight the bottom of the line and set hooks up a foot or two from the bottom. Use regular baits such as worms and Power Bait. Again, bring several different colors. Corn is actually a poor choice, and of course chumming is illegal and will kill fish if they eat too much.
Now that a second rod stamp can be purchased for any fishing water, many anglers will set a pole with bait and then use a second rod in a nearby hole and jig. Use a bell or a tip-up to watch your second rod from a distance so you don’t miss a fish. This doubles the chance of catching with half the effort. Kids ages 11 and younger don’t need a fishing license, so bring them along, with extra hot chocolate!