New Mexico Fishing Licenses
Anglers planning to fish in New Mexico's waters are required to obtain a fishing permit from the state's Department of Game and Fish (DGF). According to the residency status of the applicant, the department offers two general types of NM licenses to fish: resident fishing licenses and non resident fishing licenses. Typically, fishing permits for residents are available in a greater variety and at reduced rates. Furthermore, the NM DGF offers fishing education courses to interested anglers of all ages. Read the below sections to learn more about the types of NM fishing licenses, how to obtain them and other fishing-related topics:
- Types of fishing licenses in New Mexico
- Fishing education in New Mexico
- Fishing organizations in New Mexico
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Types of New Mexico Fishing Licenses
To legally fish in New Mexico, anglers are required to familiarize themselves with the state's fishing regulations and purchase the necessary NM fishing license. Based on your situation, an assortment of fishing permits is available to you through the state's DGF, but the main two categories are as follows:
- Resident fishing licenses
- Non resident fishing licenses
Resident Fishing Licenses in New Mexico
New Mexico residents are eligible to purchase a resident fishing license from the Department of Game and Fish after meeting the state’s residency requirements. An NM resident is a U.S. citizen who has been present within the state of New Mexico for at least 90 days before submitting an application. Students and military members present in the state qualify for resident fishing permits as well. Resident applicants aiming to get an NM fishing license can explore the following options:
- One-day fishing license
- Five-day fishing license
- Junior annual fishing license (12 to 17 years of age)
- Senior annual fishing license (65 to 69 years of age)
- General annual fishing license
- Disabled veterans free fishing license
- 70 years and older free annual fishing license
- General fishing and hunting license
- Junior fishing and hunting license
- Handicapped annual fishing license
- Military fishing and hunting license
- Disabled veteran fishing and hunting license
- Senior and handicapped fishing and hunting license
Anglers younger than 12 years of age are exempt from getting a fishing license in New Mexico.
Non Resident Fishing Licenses in New Mexico
Visiting anglers who intend to fish in New Mexico are required to purchase the appropriate non resident fishing license, such as:
- Junior annual fishing license
- Annual fishing license
- One-day fishing license
- Five-day fishing license
A prerequisite for buying a fishing license in New Mexico (both resident and non-resident) is obtaining habitat management, access validation and habitat improvement stamps on an annual basis. Anglers who are younger than 18 years of age, older than 70 years of age or who are disabled veterans are not required to buy the aforementioned permits.
Applicants interested in where to buy a fishing license can choose from several purchasing options. The most practical method is to buy a fishing permit online via the department's website. However, licenses to fish can also be obtained in person from NMDGF offices and local vendors or by phone at: 1-888-248-6866.
Note: Certain free licenses, such as the disabled veteran license, are only obtainable by mailing an application to the NMDGF Santa Fe headquarters.
New Mexico Fishing Education
Developed by the Department of Game and Fish, the New Mexico Aquatic Resources Education Program offers a variety of educational opportunities to both kids and adults. The program's main focus is providing lessons in fishing, angling ethics and the management of fisheries. Taught by fishing professionals from the DGF, the program’s fishing classes offer an outdoor family-centered fishing experience. Equipped with the necessary fishing equipment, the free clinics teach students of all ages the following lessons:
- How to cast a fishing rod
- How to identify fish and their habitats
- How to handle and prepare fish
- How to follow the state's fishing rules and regulations
- How to respect the ethics of the sport
Another program, the Watershed Watch program, has incorporated the monitoring of fish in their natural habitats by the following means into the New Mexico high school curricula:
- Water analysis
- Stream condition assessment
- Fish habitat restoration
New Mexico Fishing Organizations
For a well-rounded fishing experience, New Mexico anglers have the option to join one or more state-based fishing clubs and associations. These organizations offer everything from specialized fly-fishing courses to general instruction on fishing. Fishing organizations, such as the ones below, are open to members of any age and adhere to the ethics of the sport:
- Mesilla Valley Flyfishers, Inc.
- New Mexico Trout
Mesilla Valley Flyfishers, Inc.
Founded by local anglers with an interest in fly fishing, the mission of the Mesilla Valley Flyfishers is to promote the conservation of state fisheries through the sport of fly fishing. To achieve this goal, the MVF organizes the following activities:
- Casting clinics and fly-tying classes
- Informational monthly meetings
- Fishing trips
- Annual awards banquets
- College scholarships
New Mexico Trout
A non-profit organization, the New Mexico Trout club strives to preserve and enhance the state’s trout fisheries through various educational projects. Potential members will benefit from the club's varied resources:
- Online fishing education tools
- Youth-centered educational programs
- Monthly meetings
- Online newsletter and blog