Popular Ice Fishing Lakes In New Mexico
Guide to favorite fish species at top ice fishing lakes in the state.
The best ice fishing lake in NM is Eagle Nest Lake. The most popular species through the ice are rainbow trout and brown trout. See a list of lakes and species below.
Ice fishing is as basic as fishing gets. During winter, it is popular here in the state. Aside from the tools one uses to create a hole in the ice, all other gear is very basic. A simple rod, reel, line and hook or lure is all you need. Lures, live bait and prepared bait are options, depending on the fish species in the lake or pond.
Ice fishing in New Mexico offers a unique and exciting angling experience during the winter months. While not as well-known for ice fishing as some northern states, New Mexico still provides opportunities to catch a variety of fish species through the ice. Common species targeted by ice anglers in New Mexico include rainbow trout, brown trout, yellow perch, and northern pike.
When it comes to ice fishing methods, anglers typically employ techniques such as jigging or using tip-ups. Jigging involves dropping a baited jig or lure through a hole in the ice and enticing fish to strike with a combination of movement and pauses. Tip-ups are devices that suspend baited lines beneath the ice, with a flag signaling when a fish takes the bait. Anglers often use bait such as small minnows, waxworms, or artificial baits specifically designed for ice fishing.
While ice fishing can be a rewarding experience, safety should always be a top priority. Before venturing out onto the ice, it is essential to check the thickness and quality of the ice. A minimum ice thickness of four inches is generally considered safe for ice fishing, but it is crucial to use caution and assess the ice conditions regularly. Wearing appropriate clothing, including warm layers and insulated waterproof boots, is essential to stay comfortable and safe on the ice. It is also recommended to bring safety equipment such as ice picks, a flotation device, and a buddy system to ensure help is available in case of an emergency.
Ice fishing in New Mexico provides a unique opportunity to enjoy angling in a serene winter landscape. While it may require some extra precautions and preparation, the thrill of landing a fish through the ice and the peacefulness of the frozen surroundings make ice fishing a memorable experience for those willing to embrace the cold. Remember to stay informed about ice conditions, follow safety guidelines, and enjoy the adventure of ice fishing in New Mexico responsibly.
Top Ice Fishing Lakes & Species
There are numerous places to go ice fishing in the state. Here are a list of some of the proven, best destinations.
Lake Alice, Sugarite Canyon State Park
Click the images for species details.
This is a great way to get the kids to go outdoors in winter, connect with nature and learn to fish. The first consideration when attempting to go ice fishing, is safety. Make sure the ice is safe, and that you are prepared should an accident occur. Dress to stay warm - it's better to remove extra jackets than be cold and miserable. Be aware that the ice can be slippery, and falls can be dangerous.
Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques Video
Click here for ice fishing basics, including details on finding the best place to fish, tips for cutting a hole, basic tackle, bait, lures, depths to fish, safety, shanty's, tents and huts.
Best ice fishing method for crappie, bluegill, perch and sunfish
Horizontal jigs and spoon-type baits are the go-to baits for crappie, either tipped with a minnow, wax worm or prepared baits often triggers more bites. Jigs work better close to the bottom, spoons tend to work better higher in the water column. If options allow, 15 to 30 feet is the most common depth. Adjust as necessary. See additional info on ice fishing for crappie, perch and sunfish.
Best ice fishing method for trout
Trout focus on small forage fish in winter, so baits that flash silver - jigs or spoons, do well in attracting trout. Dual rods, where legal, are very effective. One rod with a jig/live bait set up on a tip-up, the second with a spoon fished up and down pretty aggressively. See more detail about ice fishing for trout.
Best ice fishing method for pike and musky
Live bait, shiners and sunfish, are a great way to attract these big fellahs, assuming local law allows their use. Heavier line, steel leaders, bigger hooks and stronger tip-ups are in order. See more information on ice fishing for pike and musky.
Click here for a New Mexico Fishing License.
New Mexico Map
States with notable ice fishing.