Ute Lake gets busier in 2004

David Arkin

Things have been jumping for fishermen, bait stores and park officials this summer at the Ute Lake State Park in Logan.

And this weekend is expected to be no different.
With the July 4 weekend approaching, officials at the park say they are getting ready for large crowds, something they’ve been accustomed to all summer long.
“People will start coming in all day on Friday,” said Park Ranger Rodney Paris. “We expect there to be a real steady crowd this weekend.” The park’s administrator Tara Carter said the park has been packed pretty much every weekend since the Memorial Day weekend. “It starts getting busy as early as Thursday night,” Carter said. The park’s visitation revenue has already exceeded last summer’s, Carter said.
“I know that every week we have done really well,” she said.
First-time visitors have been the key to the lake’s success this summer, Carter said.

“I have been getting a lot of new visitors,” she said. “A lot of people are trying us out for the first time. People are looking for better water conditions and trying to find new places to go.” While other state parks are losing many feet of water from their lakes, Carter said that Ute Lake, which is one of the longest lakes in the state at nearly 13 miles long, has only lost about three feet this year. While the lake is seeing flocks of people at it every weekend, local bait shops are also enjoying a little bit of success. Mona Rutter, who helps run the Tackle Box in Logan said to her it seems like more people are hitting the lake during the weekends this year than in the past. “The weekday isn’t any better or worse than previous years,” she said. “Weekends are better though. A lot of people are coming here not just to fish, but to play.”
Rutter said fishermen have been pulling in a lot of good catches this summer.

“Fisherman have continued to do pretty well out here,” she said. “They are still catching a lot of wildlife. Every fish has its season and usually wildlife fishing has slowed down by this time of year, but the water temperature hasn’t been as cold as it has been in the past.” This summer, Rutter said she’s seen a few people catch 7 and 8-pound fish. Rutter said she was impressed with the bass that’s been caught.
“Bass fishing is really good,” she said. “Some are catching a little white bass at night. I haven’t talked to anyone who is doing any cat fishing, but it is cat fish season.”

People can fish at the lake 24 hours a day. The lake has produced several state-record game fish, officials say.
Ute Lake has a marina and full range of water sport activities, the lake’s officials said. The marina rents small fishing boats and pedal boats and sells finishing and boating supplies.

Land: 1,500 acres
Lake surface: 8,200 acres
Elevation: 3,900 feet
Precipitation: 15.8 inches
• Visitor center
• Group shelter
• Developed sites (142)
• Electric sites (77)
• RV dump site
• Restrooms
• Showers
• Marina
• Playground

• Camping
• Picnicking
• Fishing
• Boating
• Water skiing
• Trails
• Wildlife viewing

Per vehicle, $5
Bicycle walk-in, free
Bus, $15
Primitive site, $8
Developed site, $10
Electrical hookup, $4
Sewage hookup, $4
Water hookup, free
Ute Lake State Park: (505) 487-2284
New Mexico State Parks: (505) 467-3355
Online: www.nmparks.com