Back to Elephant Butte

Went back to Elephant Butte a couple of weekends ago and got the boat wet. It is summer in the southwest and hot as all get out. We decided to show up in the afternoon and fish until late in the night. It was a great strategy. First of all the lake is smaller now. There is less surface area to share with those who are not familiar with fishing. As it became later in the afternoon, there were less and less non fishermen on the lake. Stress levels were much better when we did not have to worry about the jet ski or skier that thought it was cute to pass within 30 feet of a boat that had people casting 50+ feet around it. We found a nice spot with the good old fish finder and put out the lights. Within minutes we had small bait circling the boat. This is where the good news stops because we did not think we would need any bait. We were going to use slabs (a strategy that had worked for me countless times n the past). For the next 5 hours we slabbed our hearts out. It was just not meant to be. I think that if we had some live minnows or shad, we could have slayed them. The finder was full of fish. We could hear them out in the darkness. All night out and no fish.

The next morning we decided to troll a bit. It was a little nerve racking due to the traffic and trying to stay away from the non fishing boaters out there. It did produce fish. We caught quite a few white bass and crappie. All were in the one pound range. They were small but plentiful. This was good for the old ego after the night before. They liked white and silver lures. We fished deep divers and square bills. Shad-raps, Bombers, and Lucky Strike seemed to work best.

A new item on the lake was a great little hamburger hut all the way up to the top of the lake. They had a restaurant on a boat just out there with a sign that said we are open. The burgers were to die for. The buns were fancy. They used green chile and white cheese. They even had a waitress. I wish them best of luck. Great food, nice people and did not have to leave the lake -Thanks!

It truly amazes me that you can find a gourmet hamburger in the strangest places.
At 3% of Capacity
Good Eats On the Lake




Elephant Butte Lake – Revisited

Update from Gale Carr on Elephant Butte Lake.


Cajun Waters

Fishing From the Border to the Bayou Growing up in the West Texas desert, my fishing options were limited to irrigation canals and a small stream which was once the Rio


Fishing Falcon

Falcon Lake is by far the place where I have caught the best, big, black bass.  It is also a lake on the Texas-Mexico border.  It is split down the middle by buoys that delineate the US side and the Mexico side.  Because of this, I suggest that everyone in the boat has a Mexican fishing license.  There is no arguing once the authorities on the other side have you stopped.  If you are along in the boat, you are fishing.  If you stay on the US side you don’t have to worry about it.  I just always get one to avoid the worry and hassle.

The Mexican side of Falcon has a submerged town in it – Old Guerrero. It makes for some incredible pictures.  There is a church complete with cemetery that are flooded.  I will share photos soon, as the view is stunning!

The fishing here is what is truly stunning!  The last trip we took to Falcon went like this.  We arrived late after a 13.5  hour drive to get there (we started close to El Paso, so we had to cross most of the state).  Although tired, we could hardly sleep with the anticipation of the great fishing.

Day one started at about 4 am and ended at about 6 pm.  In that time, we casted every color, shape, and size of plastic bait known to man (maybe an exaggeration, but not by much).  If you’ve ever fished with me, you know I even take the kitchen sink.  (“Be Prepared,” has stayed with me since boy scouts.).  We got completely skunked!  Nothing, Nada, Zilch… How could this be?  We stopped at the local tackle shop after loading up the boat.  The gentleman there asked about our day and explained to us that it was not a good time to use plastics on Falcon.  How could this be?  Not use plastics for black bass?  He told us to use crankbaits in a coloration of a gizzard shad or in chartreuse.  We purchased some deep diver and square bill baits and were set for the next try.

Day two was not like day one at all.  I casted a few times at the boat ramp as I waited for my partner to park the truck.  Caught one.  Pulled away from the ramp area and the games began.  We caught many fish.  In a 5 hour period, we caught 12 fish that were larger than 5 lbs.  The largest one was 8 lbs. 2 oz.  The gar were a bit of a problem because when the fish would start biting and fighting when hooked, they would be attracted and run off the fish.  We hooked a 5 ft. gar on these miracle crankbaits that completely bit the bait in half.

Day three was just as good as day 2.  We even had a 1.5 lb. black jump in the boat while were untangling a stray cast.  Right at the end of the day we decided to fish under the submerged bridge.  We caught an eight lb. blue catfish in about 15 min.  This lake is incredible.  Go to  Falcon and try your hand at some of the best black bass fishing I have ever had the chance to do.




081107_11001 2-88A436E2-1492342-800Del Rio, Texas is on the US-Mexico border.  Lake Amistad is actually half in the US and half in Mexico.  It is split down the middle with marker buoys to let you know where the international line is.  I have fished; this lake for a good 20 years and have never had any trouble.  There are a few things you must know when you fish Amistad.  First, if you are going to fish the Mexican side, you must purchase a Mexican fishing license.  They are annual from the date of purchase.  This is different from many licenses that are for a hunting or fishing season in many states.  Secondly, everyone n the boat is a fisherman on the Mexican side of the lake.  No one can say they are there to enjoy the day, take pictures, or just drive the boat.  1 person = 1 license, 10 people = 10 licenses.  Do not, I repeat, Do not take any type of firearm to the Mexican side.  Make sure there are no bullets or spent shell in you boat.  There is no tolerance for US citizens in this respect.  You are there to fish.  You don’t need the hassle.  This lake is a big water lake.  The lake can get rough in the wind. please plan accordingly.

The fishing at Amistad is great even when it is slow.  The lake is very big and you can get away from other fishermen quite easily.  Amistad was listed last year as the place to go by Bass Master Magazine.  It had dropped a few slots this year but is still definitely one of the best lakes to fish in the nation.  On any given weekend there is a great chance that there is a tournament going on.  Fishing pros are a common site in Del Rio and on the lake.

The fish make this lake what it is.  You have to find them each time you go to the lake.  When you do, it is game on.  Many a big fish is caught every day on this lake.  I know I tend to focus on the black bass, but there are many types of fish on this lake.  Catfish come in channel, blue and flathead.  Crappie, white bass, bluegill, perch, smallmouth bass, and stripers are all in abundance on this lake.  Water is typically pretty clear with a light stain in bad weather or wind.

1289162135774Elephant Butte is the only lake of any size within 3 hours of El Paso, Texas or Las Cruces, NM.  The lake is fed by the Rio Grande that flows from southwestern Colorado, through New Mexico and down through Texas to the coast.  Elephant Butte is right next to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

Fishing this lake for virtually all my life, I have seen it through good and bad times.  You can catch white bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish (channel and blue…I have never seen a flathead there), walleye, black bass, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, and stripers.  My grandfather lived on this lake and fished it for his whole retirement. He would laugh and say that the lake had more diversity of fish in it before they introduced the stripers.  These days there are more white bass and stripers caught than anything else.

Plagued with drought the lake is currently down to about 3 percent of normal lake levels and the fish have become much more concentrated.  The lake is also much more dangerous due to there being many dangers such as barely submerged rocks that have always been submerged 40 or 50 feet before.  I will talk more about this lake in the near future.

Elephant Butte Lake NM, is down to about 3 % of normal capacity. From sportsmen to farmers, we all lament the lack of water. The silver lining is that the fish are more concentrated.