N.M. FISHING LICENSE YEAR BEGINS APRIL 1 WITH SEVERAL NEW RULES
New Mexico anglers are reminded to acquire a new fishing license and review several new rules for the 2010-2011 license year, which begins April 1 at public waters statewide.
Licenses are available at vendors statewide, on the Department of Game and Fish Web site, www.wildlife.state.nm.us, and at Department offices in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Raton, Roswell and Las Cruces. Discount combination hunting and fishing licenses also are available.
Anglers will encounter some new rules this season, many of them designed to provide more opportunities to catch fish.
The State Game Commission approved the new rules at its Feb. 25 meeting in Santa Fe. The rule changes were recommended by the Department of Game and Fish based on suggestions from anglers and from Department efforts to improve and protect the state’s fishing resources.
Complete information about New Mexico fishing rules is available in the Fishing Rules and Information booklet, available at all license vendors, Department offices and on the Department Web site.
Fishing rule changes beginning April 1, 2010, include:
- Reducing the bag limit on striped bass to two fish. The limit was increased to three fish during the drought of 2004 because surveys showed poor overall health of the fish, likely due to overpopulation. Elephant Butte Lake’s water level has increased and fish health has improved. Reducing the bag limit will allow more fish to grow to trophy size.
- Allowing unlimited take of brown trout in the Rio Cebolla from McKinney Pond near Seven Springs Fish Hatchery to the headwaters. Removing brown trout from the stream will help protect native Rio Grande cutthroat trout.
- Changing the age restriction at Grants Riverwalk Pond to allow youths ages 17 and younger to fish. The city of Grants requested the change to provide more angling opportunities.
- Reopening Capulin Creek on Bandelier National Monument and U.S. Forest Service property to catch-and-release fishing. Capulin Creek was devoid of fish after the 1996 Dome Fire near Los Alamos. In 2006, the Department, working with the U.S. National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service, reintroduced Rio Grande cutthroat trout to the stream and closed the stream to fishing. Natural reproduction occurred shortly after stocking and the population has taken hold.
- Designating Cabresto Creek from Cabresto Canyon to the headwaters as a Special Trout Water, requiring catch-and-release fishing for Rio Grande cutthroat trout and unlimited take for other trout species.
- Allowing unlimited take of brook trout in the Vermejo River system on Vermejo Park Ranch and in Leandro Creek on public lands. The rule change will aid the project to restore native Rio Grande cutthroat trout to the watershed.
- Opening the Pine River to kokanee salmon snagging during the time Navajo Lake is open for snagging (Oct. 1 to Dec. 31). The Pine River was closed while the Department tried to develop a kokanee spawning run. The run was successful, but the Department was unable to consistently capture the fish for egg harvesting. Other methods at Heron Lake have proven successful and there is no longer a need to pursue egg harvesting in the Pine River.
- Changing regulations at the two city ponds in Red River so the larger pond is open to all anglers and the smaller pond is open only to children. The Town of Red River requested the change to increase fishing opportunities because of crowding at the smaller pond.
- Allowing unlimited take of rainbow, brown and brook trout above the fish migration barrier in Black Canyon in the Gila National Forest. Catch-and-release restrictions will remain for native Gila trout.
- Reducing the length of the Special Trout Water on the upper Pecos River by approximately ½-mile to create more consistent regulations and create more family fishing opportunities near Cowles Pond.
- Allowing a bag limit of one tiger muskie longer than 40 inches at Bluewater and Quemado Lakes. Surveys indicated that non-reproducing tiger muskies are effectively controlling undesirable fish in the lakes and limited take can be allowed.