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Eagle Nest Lake hosts largest ice fishing tournament yet

Go fish! (Brrrrrrr)

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More than 300 fisherman turned out Jan. 26 to compete for cash and other prizes in the annual Eagle Nest Lake State Park Ice Fishing Tournament. Organizers said it was the largest tournament to date hosted at the lake.

Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Eagle Nest Lake and Cimarron Canyon State Parks.

Despite the early morning temperatures that hovered around 5 degrees on the lake, anglers from across New Mexico and as far away as Minnesota turned out for the tournament, according to a press release from Friends of Eagle Nest Lake, a nonprofit group that helped organize the event. While temperatures warmed to 35 degrees, the wind made for "very challenging conditions" according to organizers.

When registration ended at 11 a.m., 301 participants had signed up to cast their lines through holes in the ice in hopes of landing a big one.

Participants vied for $5,250 in cash prizes plus 64 door prizes and 6 raffle drawings with a total value of $2,720.

In a first for the tournament since it began in 2012, two fishermen landed pike - Miguel Martinez of Taos placed first and C.J. King of Albuquerque placed second.

Largest catches in the trout/salmon category were: First, Kyle Dehler of Eagle Nest; second place, Roderick Lujan of Las Vegas; third place, Samantha Valdez of Chimayo; and fourth, Lily Valdez of Albuquerque.

The largest perch were caught by B.J. Lindsey of Angel Fire, first; Josh Stuyvesant, second; Matt Medina, third; and C.J. King, fourth, all from Albuquerque.

King placed in the most categories, a total of three with a fourth place in creel. Other winners in the category were: Tony Morehead of Edgewood, first; Reggie Quintana of Santa Fe, second; and Bryan Berrios of Albuquerque, third.

The Ice Fishing Tournament was sponsored by Friends of Eagle Nest Lake and Cimarron Canyon State Parks in conjunction with New Mexico State Parks and New Mexico Game and Fish.

-- Report submitted by Friends of Eagle Nest Lake

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