NM Muskies Inc 2010 Minnow Project

New Mexico’s Muskie fisheries are experiencing our first major setback. Bluewater Lake especially is experiencing a massive surplus of 36” -41” muskies (est. 2,000 – 3, 000 at Bluewater, per Richard Hansen, Cold Waters Biologist at NMDGF.) The 2” Muskie fry stocked from 2003 – 2005 have grown and are believed to be eating the stocked classes of 2006 – 2009. To combat this and provide room for fish to grow to trophy sizes, NMDGF has implemented a harvest of 1 fish per angler per day over 40” in length.

In addition to this surplus our hatcheries have been unsuccessful in raising fall fingerlings (9” – 12”) on the current dietary program (pellets). So far, Officials have only been able to stock 2” fry which are much more vulnerable to being preyed upon. Chapter 59 and NMDGF believes these two problems are interconnected. We feel that if managed, the new 2010, 40” minimal harvest regulations coupled with the fish structures, and successfully raising fingerlings to be stocked in September, this fishery will become an outstanding trophy fishery for many years to come!

We have proposed establishing a minnow pond at Rock Lake State Hatchery. These Fathead Minnows will be used solely for the dietary needs of the muskie fingerlings. Chapter 59 Members have volunteered to help building suitable spawning structures for the minnows in the pond and are doing so March 20th.

Leonard Rice at Rock Lake State Hatchery has estimated the need for 3 separate shipments of minnows totaling 603 lbs of minnows. The first shipment is needed in May and will only require 3pounds of minnows to establish the pond habitat. The second shipment has been requested to total 300 pounds and would arrive in late June. A third and final shipment in of 300 pounds will be requested to arrive in August.

Our Chapter and state officials feel this effort of adding minnows to the dietary program for successfully raising healthy, strong fingerlings will increase their chances of survival. In combination with the 40” harvest limit, the minnow project will greatly help our local officials better manage our muskie fisheries for trophy specimens.

In preparation for this project, we are working to create the greatest chance for fingerling survival. Our Chapter has proposed a fish locator structure project to NM State Parks and NMDGF for Bluewater Lake. Both agencies have accepted the preliminary stages of the proposal. NMDGF will assist us by bringing their pontoon boats to transport trees during installation. The materials are all collected and we are waiting for the ice to open up before further research and installation.

The primary funds needed for the 2010 Minnow Project are as follows;

600 lbs of flat heat minnows, cost = $9 per lb, totaling $5,427. Delivery and application charges have been generously waived by Dunn’s Fish Farms. 


*UPDATE-March 17th

March 15th we received notification that CH59 has been granted $5,400 from Muskie Inc’s Hugh C. Becker Foundation. To learn more about Hugh C. Becker and see what chapters were granted funds and for what, click the following link:


As of March our chapter has raised 1,600.00 through raffles and corporate donations. Thanks to all the people and companies that have been so gracious. These funds will be left alone, untouched to use on future projects to benefit New Mexico's Tiger Muskie Fisheries.


Milestone Dates

* Operated monthly Raffles beginning in January.
* Big fundraiser at February Outdoor Expo. 
* By April 30th, the construction of pond was complete.
* In mid-April we received 3 lbs of minnows to start with. 
* May-Muskie Fishing Seminar/Clinic-$200 per participant.
* In June we will receive our second shipment, 300 lbs of minnows.
* In August the final shipment of 300 lbs of minnows arrived.

All individuals involved in this project are volunteers and are not receiving any compensation for time or labor put into this project.

New Mexico Muskies Inc is a non profit organization and registered 501 (C)3, all donations are eligible for tax exemptions.

Official Documents

2010 Minnow Project Complete with Hugh Becker Request.doc

2010 Minnow Project Cover Letter Hugh Becker Request.doc

2010 Minnow Project Results:

Thursday October 21st several CH59 Members meet at Bluewater Lake to get pictures and assist stocking the fingerling tiger Muskies chapter 59 helped NMDGF raise. It was an amazing experience and a great sight to see so all that work pay off. In a matter of two minutes over 5,000 tigers had shot out of the truck and our young Muskies had a new home. The tigers were shooting out of the water all around us, we even had to scoop a few off the shore and get them back into the water. Justin had got into the water to get a better angle for some photos and he suddenly was laughing, he said the fish were jumping up his shorts… great times!! Half of the fish were 6-8 Inches long; the majority of those fish were raised on pellets. The rest of the fish were much larger and many of them had cannibalized and decided their brothers and sister looked much tastier then tiny minnows. These fish measured anywhere from 12-16.5 inches but we saw some fish that were pushing 20 inches! That’s amazing to think about if you consider the fact that the juvenile fish we've been catching at Quemado lately are 18-22 inches long and are a year and five months old already. That puts a large number of fish that were stocked in Bluewater on the 21st nearly one year ahead of Quemados average growth rate. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me! This is so exciting and means so much for the future of our fisheries. If NMDGF can consistently raise/stock at maintain a healthy number of fingerlings per acre, our fisheries will truly produce trophy fish and insure healthy populations of tigers which are more beneficial to the overall management of the fishery. Thanks to Justin, Matt F., Carl, Doug, and Eric for helping NMDGF get those fish spread out across the lake! Also a BIG thanks to NMDGF for all the work it took to make this happen this year. It took a lot of sweat/time/space to make this work; we appreciate your dedication and thank you for giving us the opportunity to be a part of the growth of this amazing fishery!

Thanks to all the Corporate Sponsors for supporting this project!

Express UU Bar Ranches- expressuubar.com

Los Pinos Fly & Tackle Shop- (505)-884-7501

Platinum Builders Corporation- platinumbuilderscorp.com

Chaparral Materials- chaparralmaterials.com

Pelletier Constuction Inc-

D&M Marine Inc.- dandmarineinc.com

JLM Auto Sales-jlmautosales.com

Ashcraft Mechanical-ashcraftmi.com

Insight Construction-insightnm.com

Franks Supply Company-franks-supply.com