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New Mexico



General Regulations

It is illegal to:

  • Pollute streams, lakes, banks and other waters
  • Fish, hunt or trap on private land without possessing valid written permission from the landowner
  • Fish without possessing a license if 12 years of age or older
  • Use a license that has been issued to another person
  • Fish with more than one rod without a Second Rod Validation if 12 years of age or older or fish with more than two rods at any time
  • Sell, offer for sale, or purchase game fish or parts.
  • Possess game fish without a valid license, possession (donation) certificate or other evidence the fish were legally taken.
  • Stock fish or fish eggs in any waters without a permit from NMDGF.
  • Import live fish or fish eggs into New Mexico without a permit from NMDGF.
  • Possess or transport any live game fish away from the water where they were caught (page 6).
  • Take game fish by net, seine, trap, grappling or other means not permitted by regulations.
  • Use mechanical or electrical devices capable of catching or killing game fish, except as permitted by regulation
  • Take game fish by snagging, except kokanee salmon during Special Kokanee Snagging Season.
  • Fish with more than two flies on a single line when fishing the Special Trout Water of the San Juan River
  • Fail to return and release immediately all threatened and endangered species of fish, except Gila trout, in waters where designated
  • Disturb the bottom to attract fish in Special Trout Water.
  • Leave a fire unattended or improperly handle fire.

Further information and complete Laws of New Mexico for hunting and fishing are available online:

Bow Fishing and Spearfishing

Bow fishing and spearfishing are legal means of take for game fish species in lakes and reservoirs open to angling. Bag and size limits for bow fishing and spearfishing are the same as angling. Bow fishing and spearfishing for game fish are not allowed in any river, stream, Special Trout Water or Trophy Bass Water (for largemouth bass).

Unprotected fish species, such as common carp, may be taken by bowfishing and spearfishing in all waters open to angling. Arrows for bow fishingmust be attached by a line, string or rope to enable retrieval of fish. Crossbows can be used for bow fishing. Legal means of take for spearfishinginclude spears, arrows with barbs and gigs.

Spears can be discharged above or below the water surface. Local ordinances and/or prohibitions may apply at specific locations or waters, and the local managing agency should be contacted prior to bow fishing or spearfishing. Snorkelers and SCUBA divers should consult New Mexico State Park regulations prior to spearfishing.

Possessing, Transporting and Stocking Live Game Fish Each year, NMDGF expends considerable time and resources to control and eradicate unwanted fish and Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). Rules have been adopted to address the spread of unwanted fish species.

It is illegal to release any live fish into any water in New Mexico without a permit issued by NMDGF (except fish caught legally in the same waterbody). It is also illegal to possess or transport any live game fish away from the water where caught. It is the responsibility of the angler to be certain that all fish harvested and taken home are dead before leaving the fishing water area. Please help us protect your aquatic resources by stopping the spread of unwanted fish species.

Bait and Baitfish

Possession of and use of any baitfish while fishing is illegal, except as defined below. Baitfish may not be used in Special Trout Waters, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge or Bottomless Lakes State Park. Bluegills and sunfish (genus Lepomis) taken legally by angling may be used as live or dead bait in the water where taken.

Commercially packaged and processed dead fish are not considered baitfish and are approved for use in all waters where the use of bait is legal. Roe, viscera, and eyes of game fish taken legally may be used in all waters where the use of bait is legal. Chumming is allowed in all waters, except Special Trout Waters. Goldfish or bullfrogs (including larval stages, i.e. tadpoles) may not be used as live or dead bait

in any waters. Salamander larva (waterdogs) may be used in all waters where the use of bait is legal.

Live and dead baitfish use exceptions

Live and/or dead baitfish are approved for the drainages and waters listed in the table below. This includes all waters (for locations in table only) where the use of bait is legal.

Approved live and/or dead baitfish locations

  • Rio Grande Drainage - Fathead minnow, red shiner and shad
  • Elephant Butte and Caballo reservoirs - Fathead minnow, red shiner, shad and golden shiner
  • Canadian River Drainage - Fathead minnow, red shiner, white sucker and shad
  • San Juan River Drainage - Fathead minnow and red shiner
  • Gila River and San Francisco River Drainages - Fathead minnow only
  • Pecos River Drainage (excluding Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Bottomless Lakes State Park) - Fathead minnow, red shiner and shad

Approved dead-only baitfish (cutbait) locations

  • Statewide - Common carp
  • Heron Reservoir - White sucker

Taking Baitfish (minnows)

Baitfish may only be taken for personal use and only by anglers who are currently licensed or 11 years of age or younger. Permitted methods for taking minnows include: angling, dip nets, cast nets, traps and seines. Seines may not be longer than 20 feet, and the mesh size may not be larger than 3/8-inch square. All protected species of fish (including endangered and threatened species) taken with seines, nets, and traps must immediately be returned to the water.

Criminal Trespass

Criminal Trespass 30-14-1 NMSA 1978

A. Criminal trespass consists of knowingly entering or remaining upon posted private property without possessing written permission from the owner or person in control of the land. The provisions of this subsection do not apply if: 1). the owner or person in control of the land has entered into an agreement with the Department of Game and Fish granting access to the land to the general public for the purpose of taking any game animals, birds or fish by hunting or fishing; or 2). a person is in possession of a landowner license given to him by the owner or person in control of the land that grants access to that particular private land for the purpose of taking any game animals, birds or fish by hunting or fishing.

B. Criminal trespass also consists of knowingly entering or remaining upon the unposted lands of another, knowing that such consent to enter or remain is denied or withdrawn by the owner or occupant thereof. Notice of no consent to enter shall be deemed sufficient notice to the public and evidence to the courts, by the posting of the property at all vehicular access entry ways.

C. Criminal trespass also consists of knowingly entering or remaining upon lands owned, operated or controlled by the state or any of its political subdivisions, knowing that consent to enter or remain is denied or withdrawn by the custodian thereof.

D. Any person who enters upon the lands of another without prior permission and injures, damages or destroys any part of the realty or its improvements, including buildings, structures, trees, shrubs or other natural features, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable to the owner, lessee or person in lawful possession for civil damages in an amount equal to double the value of the damage to the property injured or destroyed.

E. Whoever commits criminal trespass is guilty of a misdemeanor. Additionally, any person who violates the provisions of Subsection A, B or C of this section, when in connection with hunting, fishing or trapping activity, shall have their hunting or fishing license revoked by the state game commission for a period of not less than three years, pursuant to the provisions of Section 17-3-34 NMSA 1978.

F. Whoever knowingly removes, tampers with or destroys any "no trespass" sign is guilty of a petty misdemeanor; except when the damage to the sign amounts to more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to imprisonment in the county jail for a definite term less than one year or a fine not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or to both such imprisonment and fine in the discretion of the judge.

Posting Requirements for Trespass 30-14-6 NMSA 1978

A. The owner, lessee or person lawfully in possession of real property in New Mexico, except property owned by the state or federal government, desiring to prevent trespass or entry onto the real property shall post notices parallel to and along the exterior boundaries of the property to be posted, at each roadway or other way of access in conspicuous places, and if the property is not fenced, such notices shall be posted every five hundred feet along the exterior boundaries of such land.

B. The notices posted shall prohibit all persons from trespassing or entering upon the property, without permission of the owner, lessee, person in lawful possession or his agent. The notices shall: 1). be printed legibly in English; 2). be at least one hundred forty-four square inches in size; 3). contain the name and address of the person under whose authority the property is posted or the name and address of the person who is authorized to grant permission to enter the property; 4). be placed at each roadway or apparent way of access onto the property, in addition to the posting of the boundaries; and 5). where applicable, state any specific prohibition that the posting is directed against, such as “no trespassing,” “no hunting,” “no fishing,” “no digging” or any other specific prohibition.

C. Any person who posts public lands contrary to state or federal law or regulation is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

Operation Game Thief

What is poaching? Poaching is any illegal act relating to the taking of fish or wildlife. It can be as simple as using bait in a Red Chile Water or as egregiousas killing an endangered species. Game wardens depend on honest, ethical people like you to report any suspected illegal activity as soon as you can.

What should be reported? Any activity you believe or suspect is illegal that relates to fish or wildlife can be reported to Operation Game Thief (OGT), and all crimes will be investigated. Many cases are solved each year because someone cared enough about wildlife and ethical fishing, hunting or trapping to report something they didn’t think was right. Most of these cases would never have been solved, if someone hadn’t cared enough to report them.

Who reports poaching? Nearly all poaching is reported by other hunters, anglers or trappers, though everyone enjoying New Mexico’s outdoors is encouraged to report suspicious activity.

What is Operation Game Thief? OGT is a reporting hotline to help stop poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking. OGT is funded strictly through donations from individuals and organizations (not from tax or license dollars). To contribute a tax-deductible donation please call 1-800-432-4263. Rewards of up to $750 are paid for information leading to the arrest of poachers. OGT’s toll-free hotline, 1-800-432-4263, is available 24–7–365. You can remain anonymous, and every call or report will be investigated. Violations can also be reported online at:

Open Gate Program

More Places to Fish and Hunt

Open Gate is a voluntary access program available to landowners statewide. It provides sportsmen/women more places to fish and hunt. Fishing and hunting is only allowed on leased lands during the seasons and dates that the landowner specifies in his/her lease agreement. Information and locations of Open Gate leases can be found online: Some properties may have special rules for certain activities. These rules will be posted on the property. It is the responsibility of the sportsman/woman to know and obey posted rules. Citations can be issued for violation of any rules orregulations.

Landowners Can Earn Extra Cash

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is interested in leasing more lands with good habitat for fishing or hunting. Landowners can sign an agreement with NMDGF and receive a per-acre payment. Under some circumstances, NMDGF will pay for right-of-way across the property of a landowner, so anglers and hunters can access larger tracts of State Trust and Federal lands. The State of New Mexico provides liability protectionto landowners who participate. Funding for Open Gate is provided from a portion of annual Habitat Management & Access Validation sales. To learn more about the Open Gate program, visit: or telephone: (505) 476-8043.

Boating Regulations

Basic Boating Regulations

  • All motorized and sail-powered vessels 10 feet or longer in length require a title. All motorized vessels of any length must be registered. Title and registration must be obtained from the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division online:, by telephone: 1-888-683-4636 or by visiting a New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division office.
  • The vessel registration number must be affixed permanently to both sides of the vessel’s bow with block letters that measure 3 inches in height and are clearly visible. A valid registration decal must be placed on the port side 6 inches behind (aft) the registration number.
  • Proof of boater education must be carried by all operators born on or after January 1, 1989.
  • All persons in canoes, kayaks or rafts must wear a personal flotation device at all times.
  • Children 12 years and younger, must wear a personal flotation device while the vessel is underway.
  • Vessels while operating must carry: a personal floatation device of good condition for each person on board; one USCG approved throwable device; oar/paddle, bailing bucket and stout rope at least one boat length; whistle/horn, fire extinguisher and navigation lights if operating at night. Vessels may be inspected for required equipment.
  • Boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited and strictly enforced. For additional information and boating-safety classes offered statewide by the New Mexico State Parks Division visit online: or telephone: 1-888-667-2757.
    1. Wear your personal flotation device! The majority of anglers who drown were not.
    2. Use caution when a red flag is displayed above a stopped boat! It indicates a water skier is down in that area.
    3. Clean, drain and dry your boat and gear to stop aquatic invasive species (see page 35).

Waters with Special Restrictions

Waters restricted to boats without motors include: Alto Lake, Bernardo Waterfowl Area, Jackson Lake, La Joya Waterfowl Area, McGaffey Lake,San Gregorio Lake and Shuree Ponds.

Waters restricted to boats with oars or electric motors include: Bear Canyon Lake, Bill Evans Lake, Conoco Lake, Fenton Lake, Green Meadow Lake, Grindstone Lake, Hopewell Lake, Lake Maloya, Lake Roberts, Morphy Lake, Quemado Lake, Snow Lake and Tucumcari Wildlife Area.

Waters where no boats or flotation devices are allowed include: Bonito Lake, Laguna del Campo, Monastery Lake, Oasis State Park, Red River Hatchery Pond, Tingley Beach and Trees Lake.

Waters restricted to boats at trolling speeds only include: Charette Lakes, Cochiti Lake, Clayton Lake, Heron Lake, Maxwell Lakes 13 & 14, and Springer Lake when water level is less than 1,000 acre feet.

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Personnel NMDGF personnel and persons authorized by the NMDGF Director may use motor boats while performing duties on lakes where use may be prohibited otherwise.

Aquatic Invasive Species

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are any nonnative plants, animals or pathogens that can harm our aquatic environment and the economy. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish works with state, federal and private partners to stop the spread of AIS, and you can help.

How You Can Help:

  • Remove all mud and aquatic plants from boats, trailers and gear, including waders and wading boots.
  • Pull all drain plugs and empty live wells.
  • Air and sun dry boat compartments and equipment.
  • Do not transfer live gamefish from one waterbody to another (see page 7).
  • Do not transfer water from one location to another when using live bait. Make a water change.
  • Report suspicious watercraft or AIS sighting immediately to the AIS Coordinator: (505) 629-9867, Operation Game Thief: 1-800-432-4263 or the NMDGF Information Center: 1-888-248-6866.

For information about rules and regulations, watercraft inspections, the voluntary watercraft seal program and more, visit:

Catch and Release or . . . Catch and Eat?

Are My Fish Safe to Eat?

Tests have shown many of New Mexico’s waters are contaminated with mercury, PCBs and in some instances DDT. To help anglers make informed choices about what can be safely eaten, the following consumption advisories by region are provided on the pages 36–40. Occasional consumption of fish from these waters does not constitute a substantial health risk, however higher consumption over a longer period of time could result in health problems. These advisories are guidelines only and do not suggest any health risks from camping, swimming or boating in these waters. Also, handling fish will not result in exposure to dangerous contaminants.

How To Use the Consumption Advisory Chart

Determine the species and length (inches) of the fish and find the lake or river where it was caught. Match the species (row) and size (column) of your fish to determine the number of meals (8 ounces) that can be safely eaten each month. No advisory (NA) indicates an advisory is unnecessary, and 0 (zero) indicates it is recommended not to eat that species and size of fish. If blank, the species and size of fish at that location has not been analyzed.

For questions about these advisories, contact the New Mexico Environment Department–Surface Water Quality Bureau at: (505) 827-2470. For questions about health concerns relating to consumption of contaminants, contact the New Mexico Department of Health–Environmental Health Epidemiology Bureau at:

1-888-878-8992. Further information is also available online at:

The following table is a consumption advisory only. Some listings may be under the legal minimum length limit (such as walleye and largemouth and smallmouth bass). Legal length limits for all species apply when fishing.

Northwest Consumption Advisory



<10"10–14" 14–18" 18–22" 22–26"26-30" 30"+CONTAMINANT
Abiquiu LakeBrown trout 442 Mercury
Carp 11 Mercury
Channel catfish 3221 Mercury
Rainbow trout NA* 3 Mercury
Smallmouth bass 21 Mercury
Walleye 21 Mercury
Crappie2 Mercury
Bluewater LakeTiger muskie 3Mercury
Canjilon LakesBrook troutNA*NA* Mercury
Rainbow troutNA*NA* Mercury
Cochiti LakeBluegill3 Mercury
Carp 22 Mercury, PCBs
Channel catfish 4311 Mercury
Crappie2 Mercury
Northern pike 321Mercury
Walleye 1½½ Mercury
White bass 1 Mercury
El Vado LakeBrown trout NA*NA* Mercury
Kokanee salmonNA*NA*NA* Mercury
Rainbow trout NA* Mercury
White sucker 4 Mercury
Heron LakeKokanee salmonNA*NA*NA* Mercury, DDT, PCBs
Lake trout NA*NA*NA* 4 Mercury
White sucker 44 Mercury
Lake Farmington (Beeline Lake)Channel catfish 3 Mercury
Carp NA4 Mercury
Largemouth bass 4 NA* Mercury
Navajo LakeBluegill3 Mercury
Channel catfish 442 ½ Mercury
Crappie441 Mercury
Kokanee salmon NA*NA* Mercury
Largemouth bass 2 ½ Mercury
Northern pike 11½Mercury
Rainbow trout 4 Mercury
Smallmouth bass321 Mercury
White sucker NA* Mercury
Rio GrandeChannel catfish 44 Mercury
(Otowi Bridge to Rio Chama)River carpsucker 3 Mercury
Rio Grande (Cochiti LakeCarp 444 Mercury
to Otowi Bridge)Channel catfish 44 Mercury
Rio GrandeChannel catfish NA* Mercury, PCBs
(US I-25 to 550)White bass11 Mercury, PCBs
San Juan River (Cañon Largo to Navajo Dam)Rainbow troutNA*NA*NA*Mercury
Cabresto LakeBrook trout4 Mercury
Cutthroat trout4 Mercury
Charette LakesBlack bullhead 1 Mercury
Rainbow trout NA* Mercury
White sucker 44 Mercury
Yellow perch 11 Mercury
Clayton LakeBluegill1 Mercury
Channel catfish 4 1 Mercury
Walleye 22½ Mercury
Conchas LakeBluegill3 Mercury
Channel catfish 21 Mercury
Largemouth bass 321 Mercury
Smallmouth bass 32 Mercury
Walleye 4411½ Mercury
Eagle Nest LakeKokanee salmon NA*NA* Mercury
Northern pike 4 Mercury
Rainbow trout NA*NA*4 Mercury
White sucker 4 Mercury
Yellow perch 3 Mercury
Lake MaloyaRainbow troutNA*NA* Mercury
White suckerNA*4 Mercury
Maxwell LakesChannel catfish NA* Mercury
Rainbow trout NA*NA* Mercury
Pecos RiverBrown troutNA*NA*4 Mercury
(Pecos NH Park to Headwaters)White suckerNA* Mercury
Rio Grande (Rio Chama to Embudo Creek)Carp 33 DDT
Channel catfish NA*NA* Mercury, DDT, PCBs
White sucker 4 Mercury
Shuree PondsRainbow trout NA*NA*NA* Mercury
Springer LakeBlack bullhead4 Mercury, PCBs
Carp NA*NA*
Channel catfish NA*NA*NA*2½Mercury
Northern pike 422Mercury
Yellow perch44 Mercury
Storrie LakeCarp NANA*NA*1 Mercury
Channel catfish NA111 Mercury, PCBs
White Crappie 1 Mercury
White sucker NA*4 Mercury

NA*: No Advisory

Southwest Consumption Advisory

WATERSPECIES<10" 10–14" 14–18" 18–22" 22–26" 26-30" 30"+CONTAMINANT
Bear Canyon DamBluegill4 Mercury
Channel catfish 44 Mercury
Crappie½ Mercury
Largemouth bass 43 Mercury
Bill Evans LakeBluegill4 Mercury
Largemouth bass 2 Mercury
Caballo LakeBlue catfish 433 Mercury
Channel catfish 322 Mercury
Crappie 3 Mercury
River carpsucker 44 Mercury
Smallmouth buffalo 221Mercury
Walleye 42111Mercury
White bass 1½ Mercury
Elephant Butte LakeCarp 43 Mercury, PCBs
Channel catfish 11½ Mercury
Crappie 2 Mercury
Largemouth bass 211 Mercury
Smallmouth bass 21 Mercury
Striped bass 1½Mercury
White bass 1½ Mercury
Lake RobertsBluegillNA* Mercury
Largemouth bass32Mercury
Brantley LakeChannel catfish 442½ Mercury, DDT
Largemouth bass 22 Mercury, DDT
White bass½½1 Mercury, DDT
Carlsbad Municipal LakesCarp 44 DDT, PCBs
(Lake Carlsbad and Bataan Lake)Channel catfish Spotted bass 14 DDT
NA*Mercury, DDT, PCBs
Pecos River (North boundaryCarp NA*NA* DDT, PCBs
of Brantley WMA to US 70)Channel catfish NA*NA*NA* DDT, PCBs
Pecos River (Brantley WMA)Channel catfish 442½ Mercury, DDT
Largemouth bass 22 Mercury, DDT
White bass½½1 Mercury, DDT
Pecos River (Texas border to CarlsbadCarp NA*NA*NA* DDT, PCBs
Municipal Lakes)Channel catfish 4 DDT, PCBs
Santa Rosa LakeBluegill3 Mercury
Channel catfish 32221 Mercury
Crappie33 Mercury
Smallmouth bass 2 Mercury
Walleye 3111 Mercury
Sumner LakeCarp 444 Mercury
Channel catfish4332 Mercury
Flathead catfish 4 2 Mercury
Walleye 31½0 Mercury
White bass32 Mercury

A* No Advisory

Off-Highway Vehicles

Know the Laws, Operate Safely and Enjoy!

New Mexico laws for off-highway vehicles (OHV) are designed to protect all citizens, while ensuring responsible and safe OHV use. OHVs includeall-terrain vehicles (ATVs),

recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), motorcycles and snowmobiles. Anglers who use an OHV must ensure their vehicle is properly registered orpermitted and equipped with a U.S. Forest Service-approved spark arrestor. Nonresidents may register an OHV in their home state or purchase a NewMexico nonresident permit at

All youth operators and passengers 17 years of age or younger must wear a DOT approved helmet and goggles or safety glasses. Whether young or old, it’severy rider’s responsibility to know and observe the laws. Before riding on public land, visit

New Mexico OHV Code of Ethics

  • Learn about the area in which you will ride. Contact public-land managers or private- property landowners to understand area restrictions and receive permission before you ride. Get maps of the area(s) and stay on trails and/or areas designated for OHV use.
  • Be courteous on the trail. Allow right-of-way to hikers and horseback riders, and when encountering horses—pull off of the trail on the low side, stop your engine, remove your helmet, and speak to the rider. Wait until all horses have passed and moved beyond 50 feet before restarting your engine.
  • Minimize your impact on other hunters and anglers using the trail. Respect seasonal closures and avoid operating at peak-hunting hours. If retrieving game with an OHV, do it at midday to minimize disturbance to others. Cross streams where designated and at a 90-degree angle wherever possible.
  • Leave gates and fences as you found them, and remember it’s illegal to travel or fish on private property without the owner’s permission.
  • Leave areas cleaner than found. A plastic trash bag and bungee cords can be helpful tools to keep land clean.
  • Obey trail markers and closure signs. If it’s posted closed, stay out!
  • Keep your OHV quiet. Excessive sound stresses wildlife and annoys property owners and other recreational users. It also contributes to your own riding fatigue. Less sound allows you to ride more comfortably and others to enjoy their outdoor experience.
  • Approach livestock or wildlife on the trail slowly. Sometimes, range cattle will pass the afternoon under shade trees along the trail. If you startle them, they may run directly into your path. Give them time to react and as wide a berth as possible, and remember, it is illegal to pursue or harass livestock.
  • Never mix riding with alcohol or drugs. It’s not only illegal, it’s dangerous.
  • Familiarize yourself with all of New Mexico’s laws and requirements for OHV use by visiting: or telephoning: (505) 222-4728.

Glossary of Terms

Active Duty Military (N.M. Resident): Current active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard for a minimum period of 90 days Members of the National Guard or Military Reserve Component and commissioned officers of the U.S. Public Health Service or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who have completed a minimum of six years of continuous honorable service

Angling: To take or attempt to take fish by using hook and line with the line either held by hand or attached to a pole, rod or other device that is held in the hand or attended

Artificial Fly or Lure: A lure is made of wood, metal, or plastic. A fly is made with fur, feathers or man-made materials to resemble or simulate insects, baitfish or other foods Live or dead arthropods and annelids are not included

Artificial Light: Artificial light may be used to take all species of game fish. However, it is illegal to shine light where game or livestock may be while in possession of a sporting arm which includes bows Violators face loss of license privileges as well as

criminal prosecution. Therefore, if lights are used the possession of a firearm or bow is not recommended

Aquatic Invasive Species: Nonnative harmful and undesirable plants, animals, insects or organisms

Bag Limit: Number of fish that may be caught and kept in one day.

Baitfish: Live or dead nongame fish species used as bait. Nongame fish species include: common carp, fathead minnow, golden shiner, shad, red shiner, and white sucker. Goldfish, dead or alive, cannot not be used as bait in any water. Commercially packaged and processed fish that are dead are not considered baitfish.

Bow Fishing: Taking or attempting to take game fish with barbed arrows discharged by a bow or crossbow from above the surface of the water Arrows must be attached by string, line or rope to facilitate the retrieval of fish. Game fish may be taken by bow fishing only in lakes and reservoirs open to fishing. Bag and length limits for bow fishing and angling are the same. Bow fishing is not allowed in any Special Trout Water, river, stream or Trophy Bass Water (for largemouth bass) Local ordinances or prohibitions may apply at a specific location or water, and the local managing agency should be contacted prior to bow fishing.

Chumming: Attracting fish with organic materials that will not injure aquatic life. Chumming is allowed in all waters, except Special Trout Waters In any Special Trout Water it is illegal to disturb aquatic plants, rocks or sediment to attract fish or to angle in the immediate vicinity of such disturbance

Dead Bait: Sometimes called 'cutbait,' portions of some species may be used only in designated waters

Disabled Veteran License: Annual reduced-fee game hunting and fishing licenses or lifetime free privileges are available to residents who are disabled veterans of the armed services

Drainage: All waters within a watershed including tributaries, headwaters, lakes, ponds, and other water bodies

Game Fish: Bass (largemouth, smallmouth, striped, white), bluegills, catfish, crappie, perch, pike, salmon, sunfish, tiger muskie, trout and walleye.

Game-hunting & Fishing License: An annual combination Game-hunting & Fishing License is valid for fishing in addition to hunting small game. Licenses may be purchased at license vendors statewide, including all NMDGF offices,

toll-free: 1-888-248-6866 and online:

Habitat Management & Access Validation: A Habitat Management & Access Validation must be purchased and possessed each license year by anglers, trappers and hunters. This fee is used to: lease private lands for public use; provide public access to landlocked public land and provide improvement, maintenance, development and operation of property for fish and wildlife habitat management. This fee is

not required for anglers, hunters and trappers 17 years of age and younger or in conjunction with any free fishing license or privilege.

Habitat Stamp: All anglers 12 years of age and older and all hunters must have a current Habitat Stamp to use U S Forest Service, National Park Service (where fishing is allowed), and BLM lands in New Mexico. Only one stamp is required each license year (April 1–March 31) to fish or hunt on these lands. The stamp is not required on other public property (such as state, county or municipal lands and parks), other federal lands (such as the Bureau of Reclamation, Army Corps of Engineers and military reservations) or on private property Funds from the stamp are used to maintain and improve wildlife habitat This fee is not required for anglers 11 years of age or younger, or in conjunction with any free fishing license or privilege.

Handicapped (Handicapped Fishing Licenses): See License Information

Ice Fishing: Ice fishing is allowed on all lakes during open-season hours, except Monastery Lake, Santa Cruz Lake and Springer Lake Commission-owned or managed lakes may be closed to ice fishing during unsafe conditions. For conditions and information, visit

License Year: April 1, 2023 and ending March 31, 2024 A new license is required every April 1

Landowner Permission: It is illegal to fish on private land without possession of valid written permission from the landowner whose property the angler is fishing, unless otherwise allowed by rule The landowner’s signature including date and telephone number on a valid license, landowner authorization or other paper shall constitute valid written permission

Native American Lands: Permission from the tribal government for each reservation must be obtained before fishing. A New Mexico fishing license is not required on reservation waters (Cochiti Lake requires a fishing license). However, official tribal documentation showing lawful possession must accompany all fish or game taken on a reservation

NMDGF: New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

Over-the-Counter (OTC) License: A license available from vendors, NMDGF offices and online:

Possession Limit: Total number of fish an individual may possess while in camp, vehicle or home

Resident: See New Mexico Residency Requirements,

Second Rod Validation: Allows anglers to use two fishing rods in all waters. Bag and possession limits remain the same

Single Barbless Hook: A single hook manufactured without barbs or which has any or all barbs removed or bent completely closed

Snagging: Taking fish by hooking the body rather than the mouth. Kokanee salmon are the only fish that may be legally snagged, and only during Special Kokanee Snagging Season If another species is caught by snagging, it must be immediately returned to the water

Spearfishing: Bag and length limits for spearfishing and angling are the same.

Legal means of taking include spears, gigs and arrows with barbs Scuba divers and snorkelers may spear fish only in impoundments (reservoirs, lakes and ponds) open to fishing. Spearfishing is not allowed in any Special Trout Water, river, stream or Trophy Bass Water (for largemouth bass)

U. S. Military (N.M. Resident): Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, or their Reserve Components, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and commissioned members of the U S Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Veteran (N.M. Resident): New Mexico resident veteran with a minimum of 90 days active duty service in the U S Military, or six continuous years in the National Guard, Military Reserve Component, or U S Public Health Service or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Veterans must have been honorably discharged from military service