New Mexico 

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Top 10 Fishing Destinations in New Mexico

New Mexico has a thriving fishing community which might not be too obvious due to its bone-dry desert regions in the south. From trout to catfish,  many species are stocked if an angler is visiting the right spot. One thing that anglers have is a fishing license when fishing in New Mexico. Anglers who are older than 12 years must possess a New Mexico fishing license or game hunting and fishing license. People who are not looking to fish very long can also acquire one-day fishing passes. New Mexico also arranges free fishing days throughout the state once a year to facilitate non-license holders.

Ice-fishing, night fishing, and fly fishing are some of the popular fishing types available within New Mexico. It is enriched with multiple fish species across the state. Anglers can get their hands on some of the best Gila trout, cutthroat trout, catfish including both blue and flathead catfish, suckers, chub, walleye, bluegill, largemouth/smallmouth bass, and rainbow trout.

Types of Catch Available

Freshwater

raindbow trout

Rainbow Trout

cutthroat trout

Cutthroat Trout

brook trout

Brook Trout

brown trout

Brown Trout

Striped Bass

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

smallmouth bass

Smallmouth Bass

spotted bass

Spotted Bass

Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish

White Bass

White Bass

northern pike

Northern Pike

walleye

Walleye

Crappie

Crappie

yellow perch

Yellow Perch

Bluegill

Bluegill

State Fishing Records

Top 10 Fishing Spots Across New Mexico

Along with the rich fish species, New Mexico possesses some of the more serene fishing spots for anglers. Here are the ten best destinations for the visitors to visit when planning on fishing in New Mexico.

Chamma River

Chamma River

Flowing for 42 miles through northern New Mexico, this river rises in the Tusas Mountains which is a subrange of the San Juan Mountains.

One of the most undiscovered but diverse rivers of the north, Chamma River is a haven for catching trophy-sized trout. It is a remote area with lots of wildlife, which makes it even more attractive for travelers. It flows through some of the most beautiful mountain forests and meadows in the state. 

Wild browns, rainbows, and brown trout can be found in the rivers and private mountain lakes alongside and near the Chamma river.


Navajo Lake State Park

Navajo Lake State Park

Navajo Lake State Park is a reservoir located in San Juan and Rio Arriba Counties in Northwestern New Mexico.  Portions of this wonderful reservoir also extend into Archuleta County in Southern Colorado.

Navajo Lake is an irrigation impoundment which has a lot of rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill. Smallmouth bass is the best bet when fishing in New Mexico.

 This lake is deep, with plentiful rocks, ledges, and cliffs.  Boat rentals are numerous and easily accessed.


Caballo Lake

Caballo Lake

The Caballo Mountains make this county beautiful and worth visiting. The views, fishing, water skiing, swimming, windsurfing, and boating is what makes this lake attractive for the visitors. The lake offers plenty of facilities for camping, RVs, tent camping - even camping on the beach.

Caballo Lake is best known for record-breaking bass, walleye, catfish, crappie, white/black bass and stripers.


Ute Lake State Park

Ute Lake State Park

Located 2 miles west of the town of Logan, New Mexico,  this lake can also be accessed by New Mexico State Road 540. Ute Lake State Park offers fishers good access to shore and public access areas.

Lake Ute has a solid population of sunfish, crayfish and smallmouth bass. Canyons come out into rocky points, and there is a lot of fish amongst the huge boulders in the water. New Mexico anglers who are hoping to catch quality largemouth should visit Ute Lake State Park.

Catfish, largemouth bass, crappies, walleye are some of the prize catches at this spot.


San Juan River

San Jaun River

The San Juan River begins in Archuleta County, Colorado at the confluence of its East and West Forks. Both forks originate above elevations of 10,000 feet in the eastern San Juan Mountains in the San Juan National Forest. The river flows southwest through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains through the town of Pagosa Springs and then empties at the Navajo Lake reservoir just north of the New Mexico border, near Arboles, Colorado.

The San Juan River is famous as a quality trout stream, as the water below the dam is consistently cold. Average fish size is quite big due to rich waters with spawn and abundant flora, which in turn creates an opportunity for insect proliferation, which in turn creates one of the most prolific trout populations in any large river. Families and those individuals seeking outdoor adventures are sure to find everything they’re looking for.

Apart from trout; bluehead sucker, round tail chub, speckled dace, mottled sculpin, and Colorado pikeminnow are some of the species that can be found in this river.


Cochiti Lake

Cochiti Lake

Cochiti Lake is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-managed lake, 50 miles north of Albuquerque and about 10 miles west of Interstate 25. It is one of the ten largest earth fill dams in the U.S..

The lake has some rich stocks of black bass, bluegill, crappie, walleye, catfish and northern pike.

The area is really popular and family friendly. It has beaches, swimming  and recreational areas. Along with fishing, there are some excellent campsites to sleep under the stars.


Heron Lake

Heron Lake

Located on the Rio Grande River in Sandoval County, New Mexico, it’s approximately 50 miles north of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The beautiful views and mountains are a few attractions at Heron Lake.

Heron Lake is a local favorite cold water-lake which offers good trout fishing and kokanee salmon fishing. Rainbow/Brown trout, lake trout, and sockeye salmon are a few other species found in this lake.


Conchas Lake

Conchas Lake

This lake is famous for its quiet beaches and serene locations with peaceful areas for anglers who are looking to fish without a lot of crowds. Apart from fishing, the spot is great for hiking, bird watching, and boat camping.  So, travelers on their trips can explore more than just fishing when coming to this destination. The lake has an abundance of bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, and walleye.

Conchas Lake is a 25-mile (40 km) long reservoir in northeastern New Mexico, behind Conchas Dam on the Rio Chama River.


Fenton Lake

Fenton Lake

Fenton Lake is one of the most picturesque lakes around due to its surrounding areas. It is surrounded by Fenton Lake park, which makes it even more beautiful. In the winter months, skiing is also popular as well as ice-fishing. Rainbow trout, Rio Grande cutthroat, and brown trout are some of the species found at this spot.


Snow Lake

Snow Lake

Gila National Forest, located in the White Mountains, features Snow lake. One of the most serene spots in New Mexico for anglers. With camping grounds on the west shore, the site has more than just fishing when it comes to recreational activities for travelers. An ideal time to visit is in April-November, as one will be able to observe  some of the best wildlife that New Mexico has to offer. The lake is enriched with several fish species which make it a perfect spot for cold water fishing. Rainbow/cutthroat trout, catfish, tiger, muskie and smallmouth bass are some of the resources that this lake possesses.

Which one is your favorite destination? Have we missed a spot? Let us know in the comments below.


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