New Mexico Wildlife

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

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Hunting Information  

Last Updated: 4/14/2014

Open Gate Logo

Please check the Open Gate Participating Property’s page

before using the property to make sure that it is available for the current license year.

Open Gate properties are private lands leased by NMDGF to provide access to the public for hunting, fishing and trapping. 

They are available to us only as long as we treat them with respect and keep them clean.

Landowner participation is voluntary.


OG.128 (Bonito Lake)



Bonito Lake is Closed until further notice due to Little Bear Fire.



Directions: From Ruidoso, NM head north on NM-48, then west on NM-37, then turn left on Bonito Lake Rd/Forest Service Rd 107. 


Description:  Fed by Bonito Creek this alpine reservoir stays cold year round.  It is located high in the Sierra Blanca Mountains at an elevation of 7,000 ft., approximately 15 miles northwest of Ruidoso, NM.  The lake covers about 46 acres with a maximum depth of 70 feet.  Bonito Lake is owned by the City of Alamogordo, NM.  Public access to the lake is provided by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Open Gate Program through a memorandum of understanding between the department and the City of Alamogordo, NM. 


Open Dates: Closedd


Camping: Westlake and South Fork are on-site paid campgrounds with facilities and drinking water; there are no electrical or water hookups for RV's at any of the campgrounds.  No reservations are made on holidays for less than 10 vehicles in a party.  Free, primitive camping is allowed on the Lincoln National Forest surrounding the lake. 


CAUTION: This is bear country. Practice safe food storage techniques.


Activities Allowed: Fishing, camping and hiking.  Fishing is allowed from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Fishing is allowed only from the shore.  Common fish species include: rainbow trout and brook trout. 


Restrictions: Boating, floating devices, wading, and swimming are not allowed.  Picnicking, camping and fires are not permitted on the shores around the lake.


Licenses Required: All persons 12 years or older, while fishing in New Mexico, must have on their person a current New Mexico fishing license.  Anglers 11 years of age and younger do not need a fishing license.  Resident anglers 70 years of age and older need a Free Fishing License available at any department office or license vendor. License vendors in the Ruidoso area include: Wal-Mart, Western Auto and Bonito Lou's.  Licenses may also be purchased at Gunsmith Works in Capitan, NM.


Please visit for additional information on Bonito Lake.