Fisherman in southeastern New Mexico benefit from high water levels

Brantley Lake State Park
Brantley Lake State Park

CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – An unexpected benefit from recent rainfall has fisherman in southeastern New Mexico excited.

The state is known for being relatively dry, but last year’s monsoon season and plentiful rains in June have resulted in higher lake levels in Eddy County.

“The fishing has come up dramatically,” said Leila Haver, park manager.

Fisherman are flocking to Brantley Lake State Park in Carlsbad to catch a few bites because more water means more fish.

“Our local fisherman are loving it. Our bass clubs have come back. They started basically going elsewhere because our lake level was so low that it wasn’t good for boating and the fishing just wasn’t great,” said Haver.

“It’s really good fishing, some of the bugs out here are really good so the fish love them,” said Cameron Epp, park visitor.

New Mexico Game and Fish says there hasn’t been a bloom in golden algae recently, in turn allowing the fish population to thrive.

“It blooms a lot more when the lake’s lower. The lower the lake level, the more likely we are to have the bloom,” said Haver.

Brantley Lake State Park is a catch and release lake, but many agree the fun is fishing and not catching.

“It’s really fun, I caught about four fish yesterday,” said Natalie Truesdalie.

“It’s catch and release. You can’t eat the fish here in Brantley Lake but it’s still a lot of fun catching them,” said James King, lake visitor.

The lake has seen the biggest increase in catfish, white bass and largemouth bass. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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