Discover the Top Spots for License-Free Fishing in New Mexico: Your Go-To Guide!

Where can you go fishing without a license in New Mexico


New Mexico is known for its stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife, making it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re an avid angler or someone looking to try their hand at fishing, you may be wondering if it’s possible to fish without a license in this beautiful state. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different options available for fishing without a license in New Mexico.

Fishing Regulations in New Mexico:

Before diving into where you can fish without a license, let’s first understand the general fishing regulations that apply throughout most of the state. In New Mexico, both residents and non-residents aged 12 or older are required to possess a valid fishing license unless exempted by law. Fishing licenses are typically issued by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and can be purchased either online or from authorized vendors across the state.

No License Needed Areas:

While having a valid fishing license is generally mandatory in New Mexico, there are certain places where you can enjoy freshwater angling without one:


New Mexico Free Fishing Day:

Every year, usually during National Fishing Week (June 5-6), anglers get the opportunity to fish without needing a permit or license on designated “Free Fishing Days” established by the state government. This special event aims to encourage more people to experience the joys of recreational fishing while promoting conservation efforts.


Public Ponds and Lakes:

Several public ponds and lakes scattered across New Mexico offer free access for anglers who don’t possess a valid fishing permit or have purchased daily fishing permits specific to those locations. Examples include Tingley Beach in Albuquerque and Clayton Lake State Park near Clayton.

Catch-and-Release and Native Tribal Lands:

While a fishing license may be required in these areas, certain exceptions exist for catch-and-release waters or native tribal lands:


Catch-and-Release Waters:

In some locations, such as the Rio Grande River and its tributaries within Taos County, anglers can fish without purchasing a license if they strictly practice catch-and-release fishing. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations governing each designated catch-and-release area.


Native Tribal Lands:

If you plan to fish on native tribal lands in New Mexico, separate permits might be required as governed by individual tribes’ regulations. It’s essential to seek permission and acquire any necessary permits directly from the respective tribe authorities before engaging in recreational fishing activities.


While most anglers are required to possess a valid fishing license in New Mexico, there are certain instances where you can enjoy this popular outdoor activity without one. Keep an eye out for “Free Fishing Days” organized by the state government or explore public ponds and lakes that offer free access or require daily permits specific to those locations. Additionally, consider researching catch-and-release waters or native tribal lands where special exceptions may apply regarding licensing requirements. Remember always to follow local rules and regulations while respecting nature for an enjoyable and responsible fishing experience in beautiful New Mexico!