New Mexico is a haven for anglers of all experience levels and, particularly for ice fishers because of its abundance of lakes, reservoirs, and slow flowing rivers! This is a hidden gem of a spot for your fishing experience and home to some of the best quality waters in the United States.
The fishing experience and breathtaking views New Mexico offers really puts it in contention for one of the best states for fishing. During the spring season when all the ice melts and fish stocks of those lakes and ponds are through the skies, the odds of you catching multiple fish each and every day are remarkable. We are going to convince you in this article that New Mexico is a fishing spot that should be at the top of your bucket list, as there is no better alternative place that offers such diverse layout of lakes and landscape for one person to experience.
We scoured the internet to provide you a list of the best of the best places to fish in New Mexico, with the top cities to give you a base camp if you’re not camping alongside the lake. Fishing in New Mexico is truly a hidden gem of all the amazing places you can fish in the United States, but it is not one to be overlooked!
San Juan River Fishing
Located northwest in New Mexico, the San Juan River directly below the Navajo Dam in the Navajo Lake State Park. This river is not only appreciated locally but also is a world-wide recognized fishing spot for the brown and Rainbow Trout that are found in plenty along the river.
It is the most major tributary of the Colorado River and has connections to four corners of the region, i.e.; it receives drainage from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. The San Juan river has topped our list of best locations to fish in New Mexico because of the quality of fish and experience it offers to new and young anglers.
It has maintained its position on top because of the consistent and clean water given off by the Navajo Dam that boosts the production of flora, which attracts insects and, in turn, supports the best trout populations in the northwest region both in terms of quantity and quality. The San Juan river expands from rocky-mountains, so apart from being a great fishing spot is also a very beautiful sight for people just looking to take in the amazing views.
San Juan River Fishing Tips
- Fishing fluorocarbon tippets when you are nymph fishing has been found to get you more strikes even when the river is cloudy
- When fly fishing in the evening, streamers are a great choice and have seen a lot of success with trout in the San Jaun
Types of Fish in San Juan River
Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout
Santa Cruz Lake Fishing
Santa Cruz Lake is located in the northcentral region in Chimayo, New Mexico. It is one of the many recreational lakes founded for fly fishing, anglers, and ice fishing.
Its riparian habitat is solely responsible for conserving the lake by protecting against excessive sedimentation and providing a source of nutrition for fishes to feed on and flourish. This 90 feet deep lake is second on our list because of its diverse aquatic habitat, anglers can find not only brown, and rainbow trout here, but tons of other species of fish. You can easily fish from a small boat or float tubes in this incredibly eye catching lake, and there is plenty of shoreline to do some casing as well!
Santa Cruz Lake Fishing Tips
- The Santa Cruz wharf is a great place to cast a baited line in the water and just relax, spinning lures are the perfect choice for this kind of fishing
- The Loch Lomond recreational area offers boat rentals and plenty of shoreline to fish, the waters are calm and great for fly fishing nymphs
Types of Fish in Santa Cruz Lake
Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Walley
Rio Grande Fishing
The Rio Grande river flows from the Southwest US through New Mexico along the US-Mexican border. It is the fifth-longest river in North America and provides water and life to approximately six million people. It is also known as Rio Bravo in Mexican, and more informally, it is known to host some of the best fishing in New Mexico.
This 1800-mile-long river crosses the Sangre de Cristo mountains to Rio Grande Rift in New Mexico and cuts through the canyons at higher altitudes. Enough with geography, the Rio Bravo del Norte is home to fishermen’s favorite ‘Truchas Grandes’ id est large trout.
The 20 mile stretch between del Norte and south fork is the sweetest spot for anglers to find a hit, but Pass creek, La Garita Creel, and Carnero creek work just as well for fishing. Due to its vast coverage, the fish it holds varies from place to place, but brown and rainbow trout are consistent finds for anglers all along the river!
Rio Grande River Fishing Tips
- For fly fishing, the upper parts of the Rio Grande river offer great wading opportunities and the dry fly fishing in the summer is some of the best in New Mexico
- When fishing for Brown trout, they typically lie close to cut banks in the river and also tend to like the faster moving waters around these areas
- Since 2001, bait fishing on the Rio Grande river has been removed so you must be prepared to fish with lures and flies
Types of Fish in Rio Grande River
Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Walley, Small / Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Bluegill
Bill Evans Lake Fishing
The Bill Evans Lake lies three hundred feet above the river that supplies it, and since it is at such a high altitude the temperature around here usually remains colder. This lake harbors cold temperature and clear waters, which, although are perfect for trout to proliferate, the largemouth bass do not have as high of a population in this lake comparatively.
Believe it or not, the trout is not the biggest attraction for fishermen at this spot; the channel catfish and bluegill are the true presents of this lake. This southwest New Mexico lake is a prolific haven for anglers and offers some of the best fishing in New Mexico. The lake offers opportunities to fish from the shore or in a boat and have tons of success using either method!
Bill Evans Lake Fishing Tips
- With the variety of fish you can catch in this lake, you’ll want to keep stocked with both flies and lures in case you have better luck with one or the other
- This lake has some steep drop offs, and trolling or fishing with a down rigger along these ledges offer a great chance to grab one of the bigger fish in the lake
Types of Fish in Bill Evans Lake
Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, Rainbow Trout
Tingley Beach Fishing
The Tingley beach is actually a series of ponds in Albuquerque’s’ biological park complex; they were created by diverting water from river Rio Bravo del Norte to create a friendly space for everyone to have a chance at fishing, and is extremely popular with families and younger children. The fish limit for these particular lakes are four trout per day and two catfish per day.
The ponds vary in-depth and the types and sizes of fishes to cater to different needs of anglers. These ponds supplied by river Rio Grande are filled with trout in the winter and if you are lucky enough you can even enjoy ice fishing here under the right circumstances, through the course of the summer season the ponds are stocked with channel catfish as well!
Tingley Beach Fishing Tips
- There is bait fishing allowed at the central pond at Tingley Beach so you must be prepared to fish with lures and flies if you’re at the other ponds
- There are designated age ranges for each pond, for example the northern pond is for anglers 12 and under only and adults are not allowed to fish this pond. This is to keep the easier fishing opportunities available to the younger children to further grow the sport!
- The south most pond is purposed for catch and release only, so you must use barbless hooks and ensure to release any fish you catch humanely back into the pond
Types of Fish at Tingley Beach
Lake Trout, Yellow Perch, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Kokanee Salmon
Best Cities for Fishing in New Mexico
1. Sante Fe, New Mexico Fishing
Sante Fe is the capital of New Mexico and is one of the largest cities at just under 100,000 people. Tourism is a massive element of the city, as skiing is very popular in the winter and summer sports such as fishing, hiking, and biking draw people from all over the world. The landscape around Sante Fe and the quick access to multiple national parks make this a great spot to start your trip, or base your trip around.
New Mexico is home to some of the best fishing in the western United States, and there are some great options for guided tours to take you to the top spots and increase your chances of getting a ton of action!
Fishing Spots near Sante Fe
- Rio Grande River
- Chama River
- Vallecitos River
2. Albuquerque, New Mexico Fishing
Albuquerque is New Mexico’s most populous city and is perfectly located in the high desert. Its most unique trait is the contrast between the old town Albuquerque representing the Spanish culture dating back to 1706 and the modern downtown, which resonates with the modern age and its needs. And for all the breaking bad fans out there, it gives you a chance to check out some of the popular Walter White sites when your taking some time off enjoying the best fishing in New Mexico.
Some of its main tourist attractions are; Petroglyph National Monument- which is a volcanic basalt escarpment that lies in the western horizon of the Albuquerque, the Sandia peak tramway is the worlds third-longest aerial tramway that spans from northeast edge of the city to Sandia mountains and San Felipe de Neri Church which is proven to date back to Spanish colonial times is located in old town Albuquerque.
The main fishing spot around the city that attract the most anglers is Tingley Beach because the accommodation of different level of fishing experience it offers through its different ponds. This is a huge family attraction, and if you’re looking to introduce your young kids to fishing this is a great place to start. Other places to fish are Shady Lakes Trout Fishing and Isleta Lakes.
Fishing Spots near Albuquerque
- Tingley Beach
- Shady Lakes
- Isleta Lakes
3. Silver City, New Mexico Fishing
The beautiful silver city lies in the foothills of Pinos Altos Range of the Mogollon Mountains near the center of Grant county. Silver city is famous around the world for its silver, ivory, and brass filigree works, and this is where it gets its name from.
Silver city was founded as a mining town in the 1860s when silver ore deposits were found in the land, but it has grown tremendously since then to prove that it entails more than silver mining. Now, the city boasts a ton of outfitters for making all your outdoor dreams come true to fishing and hunting.
Silver City, by far, offers the most versatile options for fishing ranging from lakes to rivers and creeks in and around the city. The most famous for fishing brown trout and rainbow trout are Bill Evans Lake and Lake Roberts, but the options don’t end there as Snow lake, Wall lake and Bear Canyon Dam are all viable options for fishing. The Gila River, San Francisco River, and Willow Creek are also famous for attracting brown and rainbow trout with largemouth bass also being present.
Fishing Spots near Silver City
- Lake Clayton
- Lake Roberts
- Bill Evans Lake
- Rio Grande River
- Bear Canyon Dam
4. Bloomfield, New Mexico Fishing
Bloom Field is most famous for its connections to past cultures in many forms; the ruins of the 12th-century village of Anasazi are a major attraction as well as Aztec ruins, which depict a story on their own. The story now, is fishing and Bloom Field offers a great spot to start if you’re looking to take in some of the best fishing in New Mexico.
Moreover, the Chaco Culture National Historical Park contains the remains of past native American people and historically represent the Pueblo culture in its true essence. Diving into the topic of fishing, if you are looking for trophy brown trout, the best time to catch it in this place is throughout the fall season.
The Navajo state park takes a hit over every spot here offering the best quality Trout; the Navajo Dam creates the most favorable circumstances in the San Juan River for trout proliferation even in the offseason.
Fishing Spots near Loa, Utah
- Tiger Park
- Cutter Reservoir
- Navajo Lake State Park
- Heron Lake State Park
5. Taos, New Mexico Fishing
Taos is a smaller, more remote location in northern New Mexico with a population of only 5,000. This may not be your usual fishing town recommendation but it offers a great chance to take in some of the fascinating culture that is New Mexico! The landscape of the Sangre de Cristo mountains hugging the valley will literally take your breath away, not to mention the flowing Rio Grande river right below. The fishing in this river is unparalleled to anything else in New Mexico, and offers some of the best opportunities to fish catfish in New Mexico!
There is a vibrant art culture in Taos and also some authentic old school pubs and pool halls for those that want a bit more liveliness in their nightlife. Taos also offers world class skiing in the winter and gets an average snowfall of 305 inches per year! For the anglers, this is some of the best fishing in new mexico with access to a number of world class rivers including the Rio Grande!
Fishing Spots near Taos
- Rio Grande River
- Rio Hondo River
- Cimarron River
- Red River
Wrapping Up The Best Fishing in New Mexico
We have given you all the basics you need to know when going fishing in New Mexico, for young and ambitious anglers and for the pro fishermen. New Mexico not only offers a world class fishing experience, but it will also provide you an opportunity to learn about the diverse and amazing Hispanic and Native American culture that is incorporated in every bit of it, let it be food, language, or architecture.
New Mexico attracts anglers from all over to experience the fast flowing rivers in the deep canyons cut throughout the state. A truly remarkable landscape that mimicks Utah and Nevada, fishing in New Mexico is something you need to look into! All in all, New Mexico is one of the best places in the country to fish for Brown and Rainbow trout as well as multiple species of bass.