New Mexico Bass Challenge

NEW! Anglers now submit their catches for this challenge by email to dgf-fishingchallenges@state.nm.us. Please see #10 of the official rules on what information is required when submitting fish for this challenge.

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

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

Take the Challenge!

New Mexico Bass Challenge Flier

Most fishermen have considered New Mexico a quality trout destination, but it’s the dedication and careful work of the Department’s fisheries team that has made it a distinctive bass fishery as well. From Elephant Butte to Conchas Lake, bass fishing is just as popular as trout fishing.

Although the state of New Mexico may never have the numbers and sizes of bass like other states, New Mexico does offer some surprising opportunities for catching largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass and spotted bass.

With the state’s record largemouth bass coming in just under 16 pounds and the smallmouth record coming in at seven pounds, it’s easy to see why New Mexico isn’t overlooked when it comes to bass fishing. The best part about bass fishing in New Mexico is that anglers not only have the opportunity to catch bass from one end of the state to the other, anglers can fish year-round due to the state’s accommodating climate.

Hall of Fame

Congratulations Rick Torres, first to complete the challenge

2020 (scroll to view)

  1. Rick Torres
  2. Stephen Dail
  3. Ensley Aguilar
  4. Korey Davidson
  5. Corey Hardwick
  6. Cheyenne Stice
  7. David Turrietta
  8. Anthony Dupree
  9. Jose Hernandez
  10. La Nez
  11. Matthew Gonzales
  12. Taylor Burgett
  13. Wayne Garcia
  14. Bryan Davis
  15. Gary Mills
  16. Kimberly Caputo

How to Enter

Catch the four bass species listed below that are found in and inhabit lakes within New Mexico (Spotted Bass, White Bass, Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass).

Anglers submitting a catch for this challenge can do so by emailing them to dgf-fishingchallenges@state.nm.us. Anglers must submit all catches at once when they have completed the challenge. All submissions must include the following information:

  1. The angler’s current New Mexico fishing license number. Licenses are not required for New Mexico resident and non-resident anglers 11 years of age or younger.
  2. The angler’s Customer Identification Number (CIN). This is required of all participants in the challenge.
  3. What body of water the fish was caught in.
  4. A photo of the fish. These photos will become the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s property to share on social media, promoting fishing in the state of New Mexico, the New Mexico Bass Challenge, and any other agency publications.

Anglers who don’t have access to email can mail them to DGF Fishing Challenges, 7816 Alamo Road NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120.

Helpful Links

Catch & Release Video

 

Official Rules

The New Mexico Bass Challenge: Catch the four bass species listed below that are found in and inhabit lakes within New Mexico (Spotted Bass, White Bass, Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass).

Anglers who complete the challenge in New Mexico waters will be eligible to receive a special reward and be included in the online records of successful New Mexico Bass Challenge Anglers.

1. There is no fee or pre-registration required for this program.
2. There is no time limit on completing the challenge.
3. The challenge is open to anyone, including residents and non-residents.
4. Catch and Release is encouraged in this challenge.
5. Class A lakes and other waters that are privately stocked are excluded from this
challenge.
6. No Bass caught prior to September 16, 2020, the start date of this challenge,
can be used as a part of this challenge.
7. Participants are not limited to the number of challenges they complete each
year.
8. All anglers participating in this challenge are required to obtain a Customer
Identification Number (CIN).
9. All anglers participating in the New Mexico Bass Challenge must have a valid
New Mexico fishing license and abide by all rules and regulations for waters in
which they are fishing. Licenses are not required for New Mexico resident and
nonresident anglers 11 years of age or younger.
10. Anglers submitting a catch for this challenge can do so by emailing them to
dgf-fishingchallenges@state.nm.us. Anglers must submit all catches at once they have completed the challenge. All submissions must include the following information:
a. The angler’s current New Mexico fishing license number. Licenses are not required for New Mexico resident and non-resident anglers 11 years of age or younger.
b. The angler’s Customer Identification Number (CIN). This is required of all participants in the challenge.
c. What body of water the fish was caught in.
d. A photo of the fish. These photos will become the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s property to share on social media, promoting fishing in the state of New Mexico, the New Mexico Bass Challenge, and any other agency publications.
11. Anglers who don’t have access to email can mail them to DGF Fishing Challenges, 7816 Alamo Road NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120.
12. Upon verification of achievement of the New Mexico Bass Challenge by department staff, the angler will be provided with:
a. A certification of achievement.
b. A New Mexico Bass Challenge coin to advertise their brag-worthy achievement.
c. Their name added to the NM Bass Challenge Hall of Fame.

Complete List of Official Rules (PDF)

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass - Fish Illustration - New Mexico Game & Fish

The largemouth bass is a sturdy, greenish-colored fish with a horizontal dark stripe along its side. Its upper jaw is big in proportion to its body, extending beyond the eye. The largemouth spends most of its time in its home range– a small, concealed area of deep cover– quietly waiting for food to come its way. Elephant Butte, Ute, Conchas are our best largemouth reservoirs.

Pound for pound, black bass are the most aggressive game fish in New Mexico. Originally found east of the Mississippi, black bass (which include primarily the largemouth and smallmouth species, but also spotted bass in a few reservoirs) have been transplanted throughout the West.

With voracious appetites and short tempers, black bass readily feed on small fish, crayfish, worms, lizards, insects, mice, small birds and frogs. They also strike on lures. Black bass and their food are usually found in and around cover, called “structure.” Black bass typically hide next to logs, docks, underwater ridges, submerged brush and rocks or near an abrupt drop-off.

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass Fish Illustration - New Mexico Game & Fish

Smallmouth bass are typically bronze-colored, with dark, vertical stripes or blotches. The upper jaw is small and does not extend beyond the eye. In New Mexico, ‘bronzebacks’ are found in cool-water reservoirs, as well as in portions of the Gila River. They prefer rocky underwater habitat. Ute, Conchas, Navajo, Elephant Butte and Abiquiu are our best smallmouth reservoirs.

White Bass

White Bass Illustration - New Mexico Game & Fish

Also known as sand bass, sandies and silvers, white bass were first stocked in New Mexico in 1959. Smaller and chunkier than their striper cousins, white bass typically weigh about 1 to 1.5 pounds; a white bass weighing more than 2.5 pounds is highly unusual. Other white bass characteristics include silvery-white sides, marked by a series of horizontal stripes, only one of which extends to the tail. Except during spawning, white bass stay on the move in a continual search for food, along shorelines in open water.

Spotted Bass

Smallmouth Bass Fish Illustration - New Mexico Game & Fish

The scales on cheeks of spotted bass are smaller than on body, they have a hallow notch between dorsal fins, the upper jaw extends to eye, they have dark spots in rows, and they have dark horizontal irregular splotches on side. The state record, caught at Lake Carlsbad weighed in at 5 pounds 14 ounces.