SANTA FE, N.M. – There aren’t many secret fishing holes in New Mexico, the nation’s fifth largest and M third driest state. Texas angler Doug Cavin, however, has found one of our well-kept secrets. Cavin, a resident of Wildorado, 17 miles west of Amarillo, received six fi shing awards in September from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. The awards covered four different species caught between April 2003 and September 2004. Two of his catches may be world or state line-class records, if recognized by the International Game Fish Association. Half of his noteworthy catches were made in September or October and five of them came from the same body of water. New Mexico requires fi sh to reach qualifying lengths in order for an angler to receive an award. The agency does this to recognize spectacular catches that fall short of state records. Details are available on the Fishing Information tab of the Department’s web site, www.wildlife.state.nm.us or from the Public Information and Outreach Division, (505) 476-8005. Cavin qualifi ed for awards for catching three walleye, one largemouth bass and one channel catfish – all from Clayton Lake in the northeast corner of New Mexico. His sixth award-winner was a cutthroat trout that came from the not-so-secret San Juan River in the northwest corner of the state. New Mexico’s State Park Division manages the camping at Clayton Lake under an agreement with the State Game Commission. The Commission built Clayton Lake in 1954. “The anglers we do get here are pretty much going after trophy fish,” says Bill Christy, a state park veteran of nine and a half years at Clayton Lake. Clayton is fi shed predominantly by anglers from Texas and Oklahoma. “We’re known for our big fish; we produced the New Mexico record walleye.” A 16-pound, 9-ounce walleye caught at Clayton in 1989 is indeed the state record walleye. Doug Cavin received fishing awards for a 30-inch, 10 1/2-pound walleye caught Sept. 15, 2003; a 26-inch, 8-pound walleye caught March 14, 2004; and for a 30 1/4-inch, 13-pound walleye caught Aug. 30, 2004. A walleye must be 26 inches to qualify for a New Mexico Fishing Award. Cavin also received awards for a 23 3/4-inch largemouth bass caught Oct. 26, 2003, and a 26 1/2-inch channel cat caught Sept. 6, 2004. Cavin’s largemouth bass was 20 inches in girth, almost as big around as it was long. “I have fished New Mexico pretty much all my life,” he says. “I fish Clayton Lake quite a bit. It’s not a numbers lake; I figure that for each fish I catch over 10 pounds I have spent 12 hours on the water. “I catch bigger fish in the fall,” the hard-fishing Cavin says “ A sales representative for a seed company right now, the 34-year-old angler does have ambitions and big fish are a big part of his plan. “I am shooting to get an outdoor business going, booking both fishing and hunting trips. I had to do something to separate myself from all the other outdoor businesses and the first thing was to break some records,” he says. Cavin already books fishing and hunting trips from Louisiana to Canada and he’s hoping to have his web site – dougsfishingadventures.com – up and running soon. Although Cavin catches plenty of big fish, he doesn’t kill them. “They’re all still swimming,” he says. “ I have invested a lot in certifi ed scales and as long as I have witnesses to watch me weigh the fi sh I can turn them loose. There are people who go to Clayton and catch several fi sh over 10 pounds and they kill every one. “I won’t do that; those fi sh are treasures. People in Minnesota would kill to catch a 10-pound walleye.” Clayton is one of four northeastern New Mexico lakes that is closed to fishing November through February. During those months the lake provides a resting area for migrating waterfowl. March and October are the best times to fi sh at Clayton, Christy says, either before or after summer algae blooms. The lake also went up 17 feet this year due to improved precipitation, he says.

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