Legal and Safety Advisories
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Prohibited and Illegal
Laws of the State of New Mexico prohibit: polluting streams, lakes, banks and other waters; leaving a fire unattended or improperly handling fire; littering; and to recklessly or carelessly handle a firearm.
It is illegal to . . .
• Fish, hunt or trap on private land without possessing valid written permission from the landowner. See Criminal Trespass.
• Fish without a license in your possession if 12 years of age or older. Need a license? Click Here to buy one online.
• Use a license that has been issued to another person.
• Fish with more than one pole without a Second Rod Validation if 12 years of age or older, or fish with more than two rods at any time.
• Release baitfish into fishing waters.
• Sell, offer for sale, or purchase game fish or parts taken in New Mexico.
• Possess game fish without a valid license, donation certificate (see below), or other evidence the fish were legally taken.
• Stock fish or fish eggs in any waters without a permit from the NMDGF. (See special use permits).
• Import live fish or fish eggs into New Mexico without a permit from NMDGF. (See special use permits).
• Take game fish by net, seine, trap, grappling or other means not permitted by regulations. (See Fish Conservation).
• Use mechanical or electrical devices capable of catching or killing game fish, except as permitted by regulation.
• Take game fish by snagging, except kokanee salmon during Special Kokanee Snagging Season.
• Fish in any Class A lake without possessing written consent from the owner.
• Fish with more than two flies on a single line when fishing the Special Trout Water of the San Juan River (see New Mexico Fishing Maps).
• Anglers must return and release immediately all threatened and endangered species of fish except for Gila
trout in waters where designated (pages 14–19).
Further information and complete Laws of New Mexico for hunting and fishing are available online: http://www.nmcpr.state.nm.us/nmac/_title19/title19.htm
Bow Fishing and Spearfishing
Game-fish species can be taken legally by bow fishing and spearfishing in lakes and reservoirs open to angling. Bag and length limits for bow fishing and spearfishing are the same as angling. Bow fishing and spearfishing are not allowed in any Special Trout Water, Trophy Bass Water (for largemouth bass), river, or stream. Arrows for bow fishing must be attached by string, line or rope to facilitate fish retrieval. Crossbows may not be used. For spearfishing, legal means of taking include spears, gigs and spears with barbs discharged under the surface of the water. Local ordinances or prohibitions may apply at a specific location or water, and the local managing agency should be contacted prior to bow fishing or spearfishing. Snorkelers and SCUBA divers should consult New Mexico State Park regulations prior to spearfishing.