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 . . .
• Pollute streams, lakes, banks and other waters.
• Fish, hunt or trap on private land without possessing valid written permission from the landowner. See Criminal Trespass.
• Fish without possessing a license 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.
• Sell, offer for sale, or purchase game fish or parts taken in New Mexico.
• Possess game fish without a valid license, possession (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).
• Fail to return and release immediately all threatened and endangered species of fish, except Gila trout, in waters where designated (pages 18–21).
• Leave a fire unattended or improperly handle fire.
• Handle a firearm recklessly or carelessly.
Further information and complete Laws of New Mexico for hunting and fishing are available online: http://188.8.131.52/nmac/title19
Bow Fishing and Spearfishing
Bow fishing and spearfishing are legal means of take for game fish species and unprotected species 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 for game fish are not allowed in any river, stream, Special Trout Water or Trophy Bass Water (for largemouth bass). Arrows for bow fishing must be attached by a line, string or rope to enable retrieval of fish. Crossbows can be used for bow fishing. Legal means of take for spearfishing include spears, gigs and arrows with barbs. Spears can be discharged above or below the water surface. Local ordinances and/or prohibitions may apply at specific locations or waters, 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.