Fishing in New Mexico – Main Options To Consider

New Mexico provides year-round fishing opportunities. From rivers and large reservoirs, to mountain streams and lakes with crystal-clear waters teeming with fish, you are sure to find your ideal spot.

All anglers need a valid New Mexico state fishing license in order to access US Forest Service and BLM lands. In addition, you will require a Habitat Stamp as well. And some locations are best accessed through a van. You can stay at one of the numerous campsites in New Mexico while you enjoy your fishing trip.


Warm Water Fishing

New Mexico provides some excellent warm-water fishing opportunities. Fenton Lake State Park near Jemez Springs provides one of the finest warm-water fishing experiences; trout are regularly stocked throughout summer at Fenton Lake State Park here, along with camping and water sports opportunities. Red River also provides opportunities, particularly within Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area and Red River town itself; its upper section features heavily stocked rainbow trout while its lower section boasts wild brown trout in addition to being designated Special Trout Water for three miles along its course.

North central New Mexico features several beautiful warm-water lakes, such as Heron Lake, El Vado Lake and Conchas Lake, which boast large trout populations as well as rock bass, largemouth and common carp, green sunfish and sockeye salmon. For something different in Southwest New Mexico try Elephant Butte Reservoir or Eagle Nest Lake which both offer picturesque scenery to relax away from city noise.

Conchas, Storrie and Ute lakes in Utah boast impressive populations of catfish. Blue and channel catfish can both be caught here; on average they tend to be quite large. White bass have also been abundant at Elephant Butte and Ute lakes.

Cold Water Fishing

New Mexico’s cold water fisheries provide a refreshing alternative to our warmer water fishing opportunities in our state. Some of the more popular cold water fishing spots in Northern New Mexico include Springer Lake, Rio Grande and Red River – these areas can provide excellent fishing all winter long when weather permits!

Springer Lake, located northwest of Jemez and famous for its northern pike population, offers stunning scenery in its surroundings. Rio Grande River also provides world-renowned blue ribbon trout streams with wild brown trout as well as stocked rainbow trout that make great river fishing experiences from May through June when stonefly and salmonfly hatches take place.

The Rio Guadalupe is a 12-mile river that winds its way through predominantly public land north of Jemez Pueblo. Home to both wild trout and rainbow stocked rainbows, this Special Trout Water requires fly fishing only as lures or artificial lures cannot be used here.

The Red River, an acclaimed trout river in Arizona and tributary to the Rio Grande, boasts another well-known trout river experience: Wheeler Peak Wilderness on its upper section which runs more technically. Meanwhile, its lower section that stretches from Porter Landing Bridge to Llano Loco Springs boasts heavy rainbow stocking and offers some areas with wild brown trout for anglers to chase after.

Stream Fishing

Northern New Mexico mountain streams boast some of the finest trout fishing opportunities in New Mexico. Many of these streams and tributaries are smaller than their counterparts in Southern Field Offices, providing anglers an opportunity to find peace amongst nature. Springtime before peak runoff periods is often ideal; although catches will continue throughout summer and fall.

The Rio Chama near Red River is an outstanding example of a small river that provides excellent year-round fishing. Fishing with both nymphs and streamers, depending on what hatches, is typically effective; caddis flies, Mayflies and stoneflies often occupy this stretch. East Fork of Jemez offers another good fishing option with various habitats including its lower section near Questa that’s difficult to fish but worth your while for its wild brown trout and Rio Grande cutthroats it holds.

Other mountain streams in this region include Rio Guadalupe, San Antonio Creek and Cow Creek; these three offer superb options for fly fisherman seeking variety ranging from mountain meadows to freestone outcrops – perfect spots for fly fishing for trout!

Lake Fishing

New Mexico lakes provide an array of angling experiences. Ranging from high mountain lakes and reservoirs, to large reservoirs and meandering rivers, New Mexico’s lakes offer diverse experiences for anglers. Warm-water species like largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, walleye and white bass thrive throughout New Mexico in self-sustaining populations; colder waters offer ample trout and salmon populations including native Rio Grande cutthroat trout as well as non-native brown trout naturally reproducing or hatchery-raised catchable-size trout for those interested in colder waters.

Kokanee, commonly referred to as landlocked sockeye salmon, thrive in New Mexico’s deep, cooler plankton lakes. The most famous lake for these trout is Navajo; Eagle Nest, El Vado and Heron lakes also contain populations. Spring and fall fishing sessions offer ideal fishing for these trout; trolling is often employed but special seasons dedicated to Kokanee Snagging Season may provide opportunities for catch!

The San Juan River below Navajo Dam is an internationally-recognized trout fishery. While its first 3.5 miles are designated Special Trout Water, you’ll find fishing opportunities throughout its course through Wheeler Peak Wilderness.


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