RESERVE – Anglers now can fish at two spring-fed ponds on private property outside of Reserve under a new Open Gate lease negotiated by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
The ponds at Rancho Grande Estates off N.M. 180 about seven miles west of Reserve will be stocked by the department with trout and catfish and already have some bass and bluegill in them. A fishing license is required and normal tackle and bag limits apply.
“It’s really exciting for us and the community,” said Jennifer Swenson, who owns the property and the nearby Adobe Café and Bakery and Hidden Springs Inn. “The fishing is a real draw for some of our guests.”
The ponds traditionally had been open to the public for fishing but were closed many years ago because of liability issues, Swenson said.
Under the Open Gate program, private landowners receive limited liability protection, access payments and other benefits in exchange for providing free public access for hunting, fishing or trapping.
Open Gate leases are funded exclusively by hunters, anglers and trappers through the purchase of Habitat Management and Access Validation stamps.
Swenson said she is thrilled to provide the public access to the ponds once again and added that visitors can buy a fishing license at her nearby café.
For more information about the Open Gate program, please visit the department website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us.