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McAllister Lake to Remain Closed to...

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McAllister Lake to Remain Closed to Fishing
LAS VEGAS -- McAllister Lake will remain closed to fishing until water quality improves to stock fish. A complete die off of all fish occurred in 2007, and the lake currently has low water levels and high salinity. The Department of Game and Fish will monitor water quality and stock fish when they can survive, but there are no fish in the lake at this time.

The lake will reopen when it can support trout. Until then, anglers are encouraged to visit other area fishing lakes, including Storey Lake, which was stocked with 4,500 10-inch trout last week, and Clayton Lake, which was stocked with 4,000 9½-inch trout last week

The 623-acre McAllister Lake Fishing Area seven miles northeast of Las Vegas is still open to hiking and bicycling on established roads. Beginning April 1, Gaining Access Into Nature (GAIN) permits will be required for those activities. Details about GAIN will be announced soon.

Low water levels initially caused high temperatures and low oxygen levels that killed the trout in McAllister Lake. Later in 2007 a golden algae bloom killed the remaining carp. Golden algae produce a toxin that is deadly to fish but does not harm birds, wildlife, or humans. Golden algae require water with high concentrations of salinity to thrive and produce the toxin. Current conditions -- low water levels and high salinity -- would not allow fish to survive.

"It may take some time to fill the lake", said Northeast Information Officer Clint Henson, "but our studies show that we need a lot of fresh water to dilute the lake to a point that fish can survive. The Department doesn't want people to fish in a lake with nothing in it to catch." The lake currently holds about 15 percent of its capacity. The Department hopes for normal precipitation and high runoff from winter snowfall.

McAllister Lake is closed yearly on Nov. 1 and usually reopens March 1. It is used by waterfowl in the winter and by anglers in the spring and summer.

For more information, please call the Raton office of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, (575) 445-2311.