Find Great Fishing In New Mexico
Guide To fishing in the Land of Enchantment
New Mexico offers a rich and diverse fishing experience with its variety of species and abundant fishing opportunities in warm water fisheries, cold water fisheries, ponds, lakes, and rivers. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake. Anglers can explore the state's vast landscapes and waterways to pursue their favorite fish species.
In the warm water fisheries of New Mexico, anglers can target species such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and various types of catfish. Popular warm water destinations include Elephant Butte Lake, Ute Lake, and Navajo Lake, where anglers can enjoy thrilling bass fishing action and the challenge of reeling in sizable catfish. These warm water fisheries provide excellent angling opportunities for those seeking exciting battles and the chance to catch trophy-sized fish.
For anglers who prefer the tranquility of cold water fisheries, New Mexico offers numerous lakes and rivers that are home to thriving populations of trout. Rivers like the San Juan River, Rio Grande, and Red River are renowned for their superb trout fishing, including rainbow trout and brown trout. The state's cold water lakes, such as Heron Lake and Eagle Nest Lake, also provide excellent trout fishing experiences. These cold water fisheries attract anglers with their scenic beauty, pristine waters, and the opportunity to land feisty and elusive trout.
In addition to warm water and cold water fisheries, New Mexico boasts a variety of ponds, lakes, and rivers that offer unique angling opportunities. Many of these smaller bodies of water are stocked with fish species such as rainbow trout, bass, sunfish, and catfish, providing excellent fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. These ponds and lakes often offer a more intimate and peaceful fishing experience, making them ideal for family outings or for anglers looking to escape the crowds.
The rivers of New Mexico also provide exceptional fishing opportunities, not only for trout but also for species such as bass, pike, and catfish. Anglers can float or wade along the rivers and enjoy the challenge of casting to fish in diverse habitats, including rapids, pools, and riffles.
Overall, New Mexico's fishing scene offers a wide variety of fish species and fishing environments, catering to anglers of all interests and skill levels. Whether it's pursuing bass in warm water fisheries, casting for trout in cold water fisheries, or exploring the peaceful ponds, lakes, and rivers, anglers can find abundant opportunities to enjoy the beauty of New Mexico's landscapes while experiencing the thrill of the catch.
The state of New Mexico offers fishing at a variety of elevations delivering a broad range of fishing from trout and salmon to bass, crappie, catfish, walleyes and more. While we focus here on the major fishing lakes in New Mexico the state also offers pond, stream and river fishing as well.
Here, you can fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, white crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, brown trout, lake trout, bluegill, green sunfish, longear sunfish, white bass, yellow perch, coho salmon, stripers, longnose gar and northern pike in local lakes, rivers, ponds and/or streams. Ice fishing is available at several lakes, most winters.
Major New Mexico Lakes & Species
Lake & Fish Chart
This chart shows the major angling destinations, cross referencing these waters with the major species to be found in each of the lakes or impoundments. For a detailed list of primary fish species in NM, plus state fish records, see the list below.
Fishing lake sizes and locations in the state.
Abiquiu Lake is a 5,200-acre lake in the northwestern part of the state, 2 miles north of Canones.
Brantley Lake is a 4,000-acre lake in the southeast of the state, 15 miles south of Artesia.
Caballo Lake is a 11,400-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, at Caballo.
Clayton Lake is a 176-acre lake in the northeast corner of the state, 12 miles northwest of the town of Clayton.
Conchas Lake is a 9,600-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, 20 miles northwest of Tucumcari.
Eagle Nest Lake is a 2,400-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, at Eagle Nest.
El Vado Lake is a 3,200-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, 8 miles southwest of Tierra Amarilla.
Elephant Butte Lake is a 36,000-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, at Truth or Consequences.
Farmington Lake is a 215-acre lake in the northwest corner of the state, on the northeast outskirts of Farmington.
Heron Lake is a 5,900-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, at Tierra Amarilla.
Navajo Lake is a 15,000-acre lake on the northern border of the state, 15 miles northeast of Bloomfield.
Red Bluff Reservoir is an 11,000-acre lake on the southern border of the state, 15 miles south of Malaga.
Santa Rosa Lake is a 3,800-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, at Santa Rosa.
Springer Lake is a 450-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, 5 miles northwest of the town of Springer.
Stone Lake is a 450-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, 15 miles south of Amargo.
Sumner Lake is a 4,500-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, 15 miles northwest of Fort Sumner.
Ute Lake is a 8,200-acre lake in the eastern-central part of the state, at Logan.
Fish Species & State Records in New Mexico
World record: 22 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 15 lbs 13 oz
World record: 11 lbs 15 oz
State Record: 7 lbs 3 oz
World record: 9 lbs 8 oz
State Record: 4 lbs 8 oz
World record: 58 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 36 lbs 8 oz
World record: 123 lbs 9 oz
State Record: 78 lbs 0 oz
World record: 143 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 54 lbs .25 oz
World record: 5 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 4 lbs 9 oz
World record: 25 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 16 lbs 9 oz
World record: 42 lbs 2 oz
State Record: 31 lbs 12.5 oz
World record: 41 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 10 lbs 2 oz
World record: 14 lbs 8 oz
State Record: 5 lbs 0 oz
World record: 40 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 20 lbs 4 oz
World record: 72 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 31 lbs 6 oz
World record: 4 lbs 12 oz
State Record: 3 lbs 1.5 oz
World record: 2.2 lbs
State Record: 1 lbs 6 oz
World record: 1.75 lbs
State Record: 1 lbs 12 oz
World record: 6.8 lbs
State Record: 4 lbs 13 oz
World record: 4 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 2 lbs 5.3 oz
World record: 33 lbs 7 oz
State Record: 4 lbs 6 oz
World record: 9 lbs 10 oz
State Record: 4 lbs 0 oz
World record: 81 lbs 14 oz
State Record: 54 lbs 8 oz
World record: 50 lbs 5 oz
State Record: 12 lbs 8 oz
World record: 55 lbs 1 oz
State Record: 36 lbs 0 oz
World record: 51 lbs 2 oz
State Record: 38 lbs 2 oz
Click the images and links above for species details.
Visit AA-Boats-Boating.com to find information about fishing boats in New Mexico and other boating information.
New Mexico Fishing Guide Services. You can find a listing of New Mexico fishing guides here. If you are a fishing guide in New Mexico or know of a good resource, please send us information for consideration.
Fish for big bass
Excellent largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass fishing opportunities are available to anglers.
Fishing in all states