Eagle Nest Lake Closes To Ice Fishing After Atv





EAGLE NEST, N.M. - A four-wheeler ATV that fell through the ice at Eagle Nest Lake and sank to the bottom last Saturday prompted the Department of Game and Fish to close the lake to all ice fishing.

"We're going to post signs closing it until the weather gets cold enough to freeze the thin areas," said Bill Hays, Northeast Area operations chief.

Taos residents Thomas Montoya and his wife were riding the ATV across the lake when they came across a thin spot in the ice where their vehicle fell through, Hays said. Both were able to escape the freezing water and return to their vehicle safely.

"We believe there is an underground spring near there that thinned the ice enough to fall through," said Hays. "Most of the ice on the lake is about 14 inches thick, but there are areas where underground springs and currents weaken it."

Will McCleery, Springer district officer, was checking fisherman at the lake Saturday when he found a hole in the lake and a floating ice cooler. He tracked footprints from the hole back to the highway, where the couple evidently hitched a ride back to their vehicle at the marina and drove home. McCleery found out who they were from New Mexico State Police after the couple filed an accident report.

"I called them to see if they were OK," said McCleery. "They were mostly scared and cold - Mr. Montoya crawled out on to the ice while his wife stood on the back of the ATV. He pulled her out just as it flipped over backwards."

McCleery found another set of ATV tracks made earlier that morning heading past the hole. He tracked them to another ice fisherman on the lake and advised him not to go back the way he came, but to follow McCleery's tracks along the lakeshore.

"He was by himself and didn't have as much gear, so he didn't carry as much weight," said McCleery.

Hays said the lake is closed as of today and will remain closed until further notice.

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