New Mexico Trout Challenge

To promote trout fishing opportunities in New Mexico and encourage anglers to branch out and discover new fishing waters and trout species, anglers can now participate in the New Mexico Trout Challenge.

Still thinking about trying the Trout Challenge?
Check out some of the pictures we have already received from anglers participating so far.

Take the Challenge!

New Mexico is a state where the Rocky Mountains meet the desert. New Mexico is also a state that is rich in diversity from its many different climates to the fish and wildlife. Sportsmen and women of New Mexico are very fortunate to have such a diverse fishing opportunity, especially when it comes to trout.

New Mexico’s winter trout stocking program allows anglers across the state the opportunity to catch a trout in places that might not have them on a regular basis due to weather and water conditions. The best part about trout fishing in New Mexico, is that anglers have the opportunity to catch trout from one end of the state to the other whether stream or lake.

Find out more about the Trout Challenge by listening to Northwest Regional Public Information Specialist, Ross Morgan, in a January 2020 radio interview requested by 98.3 KXDJ in the Texas Panhandle.


Hall of Fame

Congratulations to Nicolas Villescas for being the first person to complete the New Mexico Trout Challenge.

  1. Nicolas Villescas

How to Enter

Catch 5 trout (Rio Grande Cutthroat, Gila, Brown, Brook and Rainbow Trout) within New Mexico lakes & streams. Anglers who complete the challenge in New Mexico waters receive special awards & appear on this page.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has partnered with Powderhook to allow anglers to record and share their catches for the New Mexico Trout Challenge. Upon completing the challenge, the Department will be notified and you will be sent a New Mexico Trout Challenge coin, sticker, certificate of completion and you will be listed in the Trout Challenge Hall of Fame.

Installation: Search for “Powerderhook” in the App Store or click the icon below. Download the Powderhook application.

App Store

Google Play

Helpful Links

Catch & Release Video


Official Rules

  1. No fee or registration. No time limit.
  2. Open to residents & non-residents.
  3. Catch & Release encouraged.
  4. Excludes Class A and privately stocked water.
  5. No catch before 1-1-2020 allowed.
  6. Only one (1) trout species per entry.
  7. New submission required each new catch.
  8. No limit to challenge completion per year.
  9. Have a Customer Identification Number (CIN).
  10. Have a valid New Mexico fishing license and abide by fishing rules and regulations.***
  11. Download free Powderhook app, or contact 888-248-6866 for paper submissions.
  12. Submission must include angler’s:
    • Full name, phone, email, mail address.
    • Current NM fishing license number.***
    • Customer Identification Number (CIN).
    • Date, catch, county, and body of water.
    • Catch photo. Photo becomes property of NMDGF for promotional media.
  13. Must check completion box on final submission.
  14. Upon verification, angler receives:
    • Certification of achievement
    • New Mexico Trout Challenge coin & sticker
    • Addition to Trout Challenge hall of fame

*** Licenses not required for anglers 11 or younger.
Official Rules (PDF)

Using Powderhook

Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout

Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Cold Water Fish Illustration - New Mexico Game & Fish

Rio Grande Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii virginalis; RGCT) is the southernmost occurring subspecies of Cutthroat Trout and is designated as New Mexico’s State fish. RGCT are brilliantly colored, with brass colored sides transitioning to green and bronze toned backs complete with sparse spotting patterns. Many fish commonly display vibrant red coloration along their lower flanks and all RGCT possess a distinctive red-orange slash along their jaw line.

Gila Trout

Gila Trout Cold Water Fish Illustration - New Mexico Game & Fish

Gila trout (Oncorhynchus gilae) have been described as “taking their colors from the New Mexico sunset,” an apt description. Their iridescent gold sides blend to a darker shade of copper on the gill covers. Small, profuse spots cover the upper half of the body and a faint, salmon-pink band is present on most larger fish and parr marks are commonly found on adults. Because Gila trout are often found in small streams, they rarely grow larger than 12 inches.

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout Cold Water Fish Illustration - New Mexico Game & Fish

The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is a species of salmonid native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean. Adult freshwater stream rainbow trout average between 1 and 5 pounds, while lake dwelling and anadromous forms may reach 20 pounds. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish stocks rainbow trout in a number of waters to provide angling opportunity. They have numerous black spots on a silvery body with a pink streak along the sides.

Brown Trout

Brown Trout Cold Water Fish Illustration - New Mexico Game & Fish

The brown trout (Salmo trutta) is a European species of salmonid fish that has been widely introduced into suitable environments globally. Several wild populations of brown trout occur throughout New Mexico. Their abdomen is usually yellow and they have large black spots and smaller re-orange spots with halos on their sides.

Brook Trout

Brook Trout Cold Water Fish Illustration - New Mexico Game & Fish

Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is a species of fish in the char genus of the salmon family Salmonidae. It is native to Eastern North America in the United States and Canada. Most brook trout populations occur in smaller am more difficult to access streams around the state. Brook trout have wavy lines on their backs, white edges on the front of their lower fins and a dark body with yellow spots and red spots with halos on their sides.