Residents enjoy free fishing day at Ned Houk

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Norman Woodard of Clovis helps his grandson, Leighton, pull in his fishing line during a clinic on Saturday at Ned Houk Park.

By Gabe Monte: CNJ staff writer

It was a slow day for fishing as Santana Garcia reeled in a 12-inch channel catfish Saturday at Ned Houk Park.

The 11-year old had been fishing with his father, Virgil, and cousin, Angelo Marin, 7, for about three hours before catching his first one.Re

The three were among the more than 100 people that came to the park to fish for free.

New Mexico Game and Fish Warden Nathan Romeo said the state was allowing people to fish Saturday without a fishing license. He said the day was a way to introduce the sport to youths and first-time fishermen.

“If someone doesn’t have a license, it gives them one day to come out and fish and see if they like it,” he said.

But seasoned fishermen and women were also allowed to cast their rods, he said.

However, people could only catch 15 catfish, Romeo said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stocked the lake with about 1,000 12- to 14-inch catfish earlier in the week, according to Romeo.

Garcia said he was using worms and liver as bait for the catfish, but only had a few bites.

“I thought it would be a lot better,” he said. “There’s been some (fish) caught, but not a lot.”

But he said he’s teaching his son and his nephew an important fishing technique: Patience.

Romeo said some fishermen might be a little frustrated from few bites because the catfish might still be in shock from being transferred from a hatchery to the lake.