Explained: Fishing License Requirements for Kids in New Mexico – Know the Rules!

Do Kids Need a Fishing License in New Mexico?

Fishing is a popular recreational activity that allows individuals to connect with nature and create lasting memories. If you are planning a fishing trip with your child in New Mexico, one question that may arise is whether or not kids need a fishing license. In this blog post, we will explore the regulations regarding fishing licenses for children in New Mexico.

The General Rule

In general, all anglers aged 12 and above are required to have a valid fishing license when fishing in public waters of New Mexico. However, there are some exceptions when it comes to younger anglers.

Age Exemptions

New Mexico offers certain exemptions for young anglers who do not need to obtain their own fishing license:

1. Under 12 Years Old

If your child is under the age of 12, they generally do not require a fishing license while angling on public waters within the state of New Mexico. This exemption aims at encouraging family bonding and introducing younger generations to the joys of outdoor activities like fishing.

2. Special Events

Additionally, special events organized by non-profit organizations or local authorities often provide opportunities for kids without licenses to experience the joy of casting a line without needing their own permit.

Youth License Requirements

New Mexico also recognizes that many young anglers want more independence as they grow older and develop an increasing interest in pursuing this pastime more seriously. To cater to these aspiring enthusiasts between the ages of 12-17 years old, youth licenses are available at reduced rates compared to adult permits.

Purchasing Youth Licenses

To purchase a youth fishing license (for those aged 12-17), you can visit any authorized license vendor across the state or apply online through the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish website. The process is simple, ensuring that young anglers have easy access to this valuable document.

Reduced Rate Benefits

A youth fishing license not only allows young anglers to fish legally but also ensures they receive certain benefits:

  • Opportunity to fish in a wider range of waters
  • Promotes responsible angling practices from an early age
  • Participate in special youth-only events and fishing clinics

The Importance of Fishing Licenses for Kids

Fishing licenses play a vital role in conservation efforts and maintaining healthy fish populations within New Mexico’s waterways. By introducing children to licensing requirements at a young age, we instill crucial values such as respect for nature, understanding wildlife management principles, and supporting sustainable fisheries.


In summary, kids under 12 years old generally do not need a fishing license while angling on public waters in New Mexico. However, as children grow older and wish to pursue fishing more seriously, obtaining a youth fishing license becomes essential. These licenses offer numerous benefits while promoting responsible angling practices among our future generations. So why wait? Grab your gear and take your child on an exciting fishing adventure today!