Fishing Licenses & Permits

Licenses, Stamps and Validations

While fishing in New Mexico, persons 12 years and older must possess a valid New Mexico Fishing License or Game Hunting & Fishing License. (Need a license? Click Here to buy one online.) The license years begins April 1 and ends March 31 the following year. Licenses are valid for one license year only. A New Mexico Fishing License is not required on tribal reservations and private Class-A lakes.

  • Licenses not required for New Mexico resident and nonresident anglers 11 years of age or younger.
  • Junior Fishing Licenses are available to New Mexico resident and nonresident anglers 12–17 years of age.
  • Senior Fishing Licenses are available to New Mexico residents anglers 65–69 years of age.
  • Free Licenses for New Mexico residents 70 years and older are available at all NMDGF offices and license vendors. Free Fishing Licenses are not available to nonresidents. Free licenses for 100%-disabled veterans are available by application at the NMDGF Headquarters in Santa Fe, NM. These fishing licenses do not require a Habitat Stamp, Habitat Management & Access Validation or a Second Rod Validation.
  • Handicapped Fishing Licenses are available to New Mexico residents with severe physical or developmental disabilities. These fishing licenses require a Habitat Stamp, if applicable, and Habitat Management & Access Validation.

Habitat Management & Access Validation

In addition to a New Mexico Fishing License or Game-hunting & Fishing License, once each license year (April 1–March 31) anglers must purchase a Habitat Management & Access Validation. The HMAV is not required for anglers under 18 years of age, residents 70 years and older or 100%-disabled veteran cardholders in conjunction with their free fishing license.

Habitat Stamp

To fish U.S. Forest Service and BLM lands in New Mexico, anglers 12 years of age and older must purchase a Habitat Stamp. Stamps are valid for one license year (April 1–March 31). This stamp is not required for anglers under 12 years of age and New Mexico resident anglers 70 years and older or 100%-disabled veteran cardholders. Funds from the sale of the Habitat Stamp are used for improvement projects, including building fish cover, removing sediment from reservoirs and ponds, monitoring and improving water quality, preventing erosion and restoring lakes and trout streams.

Second Rod Validation

To fish with two rods, anglers 12–69 years of age must purchase a Second Rod Validation. This validation is not required for New Mexico residents 70 years and older or 100%-disabled veteran cardholders. All other license regulations, such as bag and possession limits, remain the same.

Gila Trout Fishing Permit Free for Select Locations

A Gila Trout Fishing Permit is required to fish Black Canyon, Gilita Creek, Mineral Creek, Mogollon Creek, Sapillo Creek, West Fork Gila River (headwaters to East Fork confluence), Whitewater Creek, and Willow Creek (including tributaries). This permit is free and available online: www.wildlife.state.nm.us and at local NMDGF offices.