Outdoor guide: Elephant Butte Lake State Park

Courtesy photo: New Mexico State Parks Elephant Butte Lake was created by a dam which was constructed in 1916 across the Rio Grande. The state park is a water-based recreation for anglers, boater and history buffs. The area was once part of a shallow ocean and once the sea receded, it was the hunting ground Tyrannosaurus Rex and other dinosaurs.

• Location: Five miles east of Truth of Consequences via I-25 at exit 83. It is 4 hours and 58 minutes or 306 miles from Portales. It is 5 hours 28 minutes or 329 miles from Clovis.

• Directions: Take US-380/W/US70 for 44 miles and make a slight right onto US-380 for 107 miles. Take a slight left onto I-25 south toward Las Cruces and merge onto I-25 for 56 miles. Take exit 83 toward N.M.195/Elephant Butte Lake State Park and turn left onto N.M.181/US85 for 4 miles. Turn left onto N.M.171/Warm Springs Blvd for about 1.2 miles. Turn left onto Organ Ave. and take the second right onto Camino Encatado.

• What do they offer: The largest lake in New Mexico was created by a dam that was constructed in 1916 across the Rio Grande. The name comes from the island in the reservoir that is in the shape of an elephant. Elephant Butte Lake State Park offers camping, boating, water skiing, swimming, fishing, hiking, bird watching, scuba diving and historic landmarks.

• When is the best time to go fishing? Year-round fishing is available.

• What is the record for fish caught at the lake? The lake has produced record 52-pound, one-fourth ounce Blue Catfish in 2005, 78-pound Flathead Catfish in 1979, one-pound, six-ounce Green Sunfish in 1996, 54-pound, eight-ounce Stripped Bass and one-pound, 12-ounce Longear Sunfish in 1985.

• Where are the best places to catch fish: In and around the island and if on a boat in the middle of the lake from north to south.

• What kind of fish? Largemouth and small mouth bass, white bass, stripped bass, crappie, perch, walleye, catfish, sunfish, bluegill and carp.

• Park fees: Per vehicle $5, Bicycle, walk-in free, bus is $15.

• Camping fees: Primitive site $8; Developed site $10; water and electrical hookup $4, sewer hookup $4 and water hookup is free.

• Information: 744-5923 or go to www.nmparks.com