New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Rachel Shockley, (505) 476-8071; cell: (505) 470-6832
Public contact: (888) 248-6866



LAS VEGAS – The department stocked a section of the Pecos River flowing through Villanueva State Park south of Las Vegas with 200 catfish for the first time earlier this week. The large channel catfish range in size from 18 to 20 inches, and larger.

“We are always looking to expand public fishing opportunities,” Department Fisheries Chief Mike Sloane said. “When anglers in the Villanueva area reached out to us to request more opportunities to fish, we were happy to be able to help.”

Villanueva has long been a trout-fishing destination. The department regularly stocks the stretch of river flowing into the park with rainbow trout during the winter. Trout prefer cooler water temperatures, so the department does not stock trout in the area during warm summer months.

Anglers can fish at Villanueva year-round since catfish will now provide an excellent summer fishing opportunity. Catfish tolerate a range of temperatures, but prefer warmer waters. They can be lured easily with bait at water temperatures between 60 and 72 degrees, but they stop feeding when the temperature drops lower than 40 degrees.

The department plans to start stocking this stretch of the Pecos regularly with catfish from April through October, and will continue to stock rainbow trout November through March.

Additional big catfish waters around the state include Bataan, Blue Hole Park Pond, Bosque Rdondo, Carrizozo, Chaparral, Conoco Lake, Corona, Dennis Chavez Pond, Escondida, Estancia Park Lake, Eunice, Grants Riverwalk Pond, Green Acres, Green Meadow, Jal Lake, Lake Van, Ned Houk, Oasis State Park, Perch Lake, Roswell Kids Pond, Tingley Beach and Young Pond.

To fish for cats at Villanueva State Park, or any public waters in the state, anglers ages 12 and older are required to have a fishing license. To purchase a fishing license, and for more information about fishing in New Mexico, please visit the department’s website at