New Mexico is a state filled with natural beauty and a diverse range of landscapes.
From the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the vast deserts of the south, the state offers a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors and locals alike. One such activity that draws many people to New Mexico is fishing, and the state is home to some of the best fishing lakes in the country.
Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice looking to try your hand at fishing, New Mexico’s lakes offer something for everyone. From bass and trout to catfish and crappie, the state’s lakes are teeming with a variety of fish species. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best fishing lakes in New Mexico to help you plan your next fishing trip.
Our list includes some of the most popular and highly rated fishing lakes in the state, as well as some hidden gems that are off the beaten path. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful day on the water or a more adventurous fishing experience, our list has something for everyone. So grab your gear and get ready to explore some of the best fishing lakes that New Mexico has to offer!
Location of Best Fishing Lakes in New Mexico
New Mexico is home to a wide variety of fishing lakes and reservoirs, each with its own unique features and attractions. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful getaway or an exciting adventure, you’re sure to find the perfect fishing spot in New Mexico. Here are some of the best fishing lakes in the state:
|North Central New Mexico
|Walleye, Bass, Catfish, Crappie, Trout
|El Vado Lake
|North Central New Mexico
|Bass, Trout, Kokanee Salmon, Catfish, Walleye
|Elephant Butte Reservoir
|Southwest New Mexico
|Bass, Catfish, Walleye, Crappie, Bluegill, Trout
|North Central New Mexico
|Trout, Kokanee Salmon, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Catfish
|Northwest New Mexico
|Trout, Bass, Salmon, Catfish, Walleye, Northern Pike
Conchas Lake, El Vado, Elephant Butte Reservoir, Heron Lake, and Navajo Lake are some of the most popular fishing spots in New Mexico. These lakes offer a variety of fish species, making them great for both novice and experienced anglers.
North Central New Mexico is known for its excellent fishing lakes. Heron Lake, El Vado Lake, and Conchas Lake are all located in this region. These lakes are surrounded by beautiful scenery and offer a peaceful retreat for those looking to escape the city.
Southwest New Mexico is home to Elephant Butte Reservoir, one of the largest lakes in the state. This lake is a popular destination for fishing, boating, and other water activities. With its warm water and abundance of fish, Elephant Butte Reservoir is a great spot for anglers of all skill levels.
Top 5 Best Fishing Lakes in New Mexico
1. Navajo Lake
Navajo Lake is one of the most popular fishing destinations in New Mexico, located in the northwestern part of the state. The lake is known for its clear waters and abundance of fish species, including rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon, and smallmouth bass. Anglers can fish from the shore or take a boat out on the lake. Navajo Lake also offers camping and hiking opportunities for those who want to make a weekend out of their fishing trip.
2. Elephant Butte Lake
Elephant Butte Lake is the largest lake in New Mexico and offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the state. The lake is located in the southern part of the state and is home to a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, white bass, walleye, crappie, and catfish. Anglers can fish from the shore or take a boat out on the lake. Elephant Butte Lake also offers camping, hiking, and water sports activities for visitors.
3. Caballo Lake
Caballo Lake is a scenic reservoir located in the southwestern part of the state. The lake is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, with species including largemouth bass, catfish, and walleye. Anglers can fish from the shore or take a boat out on the lake. Caballo Lake also offers camping, hiking, and bird watching opportunities for visitors.
4. Lake Maloya
Lake Maloya is a small, picturesque lake located in the northern part of the state. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout and brown trout, making it a popular destination for fly fishing enthusiasts. Anglers can fish from the shore or rent a boat to fish out on the lake. Lake Maloya also offers camping and hiking opportunities for visitors.
5. Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a major river that runs through the heart of New Mexico and offers excellent fishing opportunities for anglers. The river is home to a variety of fish species, including trout, bass, and catfish. Anglers can fish from the shore or take a guided fishing trip down the river. The Rio Grande also offers scenic views and hiking opportunities for visitors.
Other Great Fishing Lakes in New Mexico
Besides the top fishing lakes mentioned earlier, New Mexico has many other great lakes for fishing. Here are a few more worth checking out:
|Popular Fish Species
|North-central New Mexico
|Bass, Walleye, Trout
|Northwestern New Mexico
|Tiger Muskie, Rainbow Trout, Catfish
|Southeastern New Mexico
|Bass, Catfish, Walleye
Abiquiu Reservoir, located in north-central New Mexico, is a great spot for bass, walleye, and trout fishing. The lake is surrounded by red rock cliffs and offers scenic views. Bluewater Lake, in northwestern New Mexico, is known for its tiger muskie, rainbow trout, and catfish. Brantley Lake in southeastern New Mexico is another popular spot for bass, catfish, and walleye fishing.
- Elephant Butte Reservoir – Southern New Mexico
- Navajo Lake – Northwestern New Mexico
- Sumner Lake – Southeastern New Mexico
Elephant Butte Reservoir, located in southern New Mexico, is the largest reservoir in the state and offers a variety of fish species including bass, catfish, and walleye. Navajo Lake, in northwestern New Mexico, is known for its trout and salmon fishing. Sumner Lake, in southeastern New Mexico, is a popular spot for catfish and bass fishing.
With so many great fishing lakes to choose from, New Mexico is a paradise for anglers. Whether you prefer warm-water or cold-water fisheries, there is something for everyone. Don’t forget to get your New Mexico fishing license before you hit the water!
Tips for Fishing in New Mexico
If you’re planning a fishing trip to New Mexico, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make the most of your experience. Here are some tips to help you catch more fish:
- Get a fishing license: Before you hit the water, make sure you have a valid New Mexico fishing license. You can purchase a license online or at many sporting goods stores and bait shops.
- Know the regulations: Be sure to familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations in the area you plan to fish. Different lakes and rivers may have different rules regarding catch limits, bait, and fishing methods.
- Bring the right gear: Make sure you have the appropriate gear for the type of fishing you plan to do. Fly fishing requires different equipment than spin fishing, for example. And if you plan to fish from a boat, be sure to bring life jackets and other safety equipment.
- Be prepared for the weather: New Mexico’s weather can be unpredictable, so be sure to check the forecast before you head out. Bring appropriate clothing and gear for the conditions you may encounter.
- Try different baits and lures: If you’re not having any luck with one type of bait or lure, don’t be afraid to switch it up. Different fish species may be attracted to different colors and types of bait.
- Be patient: Fishing requires patience and persistence. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t catch anything right away. Sometimes it takes time to find the right spot or the right bait.
Following these tips can help you have a successful and enjoyable fishing trip in New Mexico. Remember to always practice good fishing ethics, such as practicing catch-and-release and leaving the area cleaner than you found it.
New Mexico is a great destination for fishing enthusiasts. With its diverse landscape and numerous lakes, rivers, and streams, there is something for everyone. From the world-famous San Juan River to the lesser-known Stone Lake, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a variety of fish species.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike, known for its white and striped bass fishing. Meanwhile, Ute Lake is a great choice for those hoping to catch a quality largemouth bass.
Conchas and Elephant Butte lakes are also great spots for fishing warm water species like smallmouth bass. The New Mexico Department of Game & Fish provides helpful information on fishing regulations and licenses, as well as tips for successful fishing trips.
Before heading out to your fishing adventure, make sure to check local weather conditions and pack accordingly. Remember to always follow fishing regulations and practice responsible fishing practices to help preserve the natural beauty of New Mexico’s waterways for generations to come.