Enjoy great, year-round fishing opportunities during your stay in our Ruidoso cabins.
Fishing In and Around Ruidoso
The Ruidoso area offers great year-round fishing opportunities. Most waters are stocked with rainbow trout to supplement the native population of brown trout. Different fishing locations in the area are listed below. Remember to always practice catch-and-release unless you are really catching your next meal. The bag limit is three fish on the Rio Ruidoso and five fish at the lakes, but check local regulations to confirm. Also, consider using barbless hooks, as they allow minimal damage to fish and allow the populations to grow bigger for the next angler.
* Fishing licenses and equipment are available at Napa Western Auto on Mechem Drive and Walmart, across from the racetrack on Hwy. 70. New Mexico issues one-day, five-day, and annual licenses.
* Visit the New Mexico Game & Fish Department’s web page to access weekly fishing and stocking reports, posted on Friday afternoons.
* Bonito Lake is currently closed for fishing and camping due to the Little Bear Fire. The city of Alamogordo hopes to re-open Bonito Lake in April of 2017. Please call 575-336-4157 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and updates.
Where to Go Fishing
The Rio Ruidoso winds all the way through the villages of Ruidoso and Ruidoso Downs. Starting in Upper Canyon and flowing east, the river is public in most areas unless posted otherwise. Depending on the water level, the river is generally stocked year-round with rainbow trout. The daily limit is 3 fish.
From the dam at Lake Mescalero, the Carrizo Creek runs through a two-mile canyon to join the Rio Ruidoso near Funtrackers and Pizza Hut, on Sudderth Drive. The creek is not stocked but is sometimes a good spot for brown trout. Please handle these native fish with care and practice catch-and-release, here.
This mountain stream runs parallel to Hwy. 532, also known as Ski Run Road. These waters are not stocked but can contain a good number of brown and brook trout.
The Rio Bonito below Bonito Lake is sometimes stocked with rainbow trout and offers picturesque and easily accessible hiking trails and picnic areas teeming with wildlife. To get there, take Hwy. 48 north from Ruidoso and turn left (west) on Hwy. 37. The road follows the creek all the way to Bonito Lake (about 4-5 miles).
One of the largest and deepest lakes in the area, Grindstone is less than 2 miles from downtown Ruidoso and fishing is allowed all year long. The state Fish & Game Department stocks trout here on a regular basis. You may fish from sunrise to sunset and even use a non-motorized boat if you like. Boating is allowed between April 1 and October 31 with a permit obtained from the Ruidoso Parks and Recreation office, just down the road from the dam. You might get lucky here and catch a big one! In addition to trout, anglers can sometime land smallmouth bass and catfish. The daily limit at Grindstone Lake is 5 fish.
Sleeping Springs Trout Lake
Sleeping Springs is a privately-operated trout pond located in Ruidoso Downs where anglers can pay to fish on a price-per-inch basis (no fishing license required). Fees include gear, bait, and the cleaning of any fish that are caught. Sleeping Springs is good for young children and beginning anglers. A duck pond and paddle boats are also available. Visit their website for more information.
Fishing on the Mescalero Apache Reservation
A state-issued fishing license is not required on the reservation but daily permits must be purchased on location.
Gaze at beautiful Sierra Blanca peak from the shores of this lake at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino. The lake is stocked with trout and can be fished daily from sunrise to sunset. You can purchase fishing permits, buy or rent fishing gear, and even rent paddle boats by the hour at the boat docks. Visit their website for more information.
Drive on Hwy. 532 (Ski Run Road) about 3.5 miles and look for the turn-off to the left. This campground offers two lakes that are stocked and open from late May through mid-September. Daily permits may be purchased at the entrance.
Before the Rio Ruidoso winds through Upper Canyon, it descends from the Apache Mescalero Reservation at the western end of Main Road. It is open in the summer months and is stocked with rainbow trout. Permits can be purchased at the reservation entrance.
This peaceful lake is situated just off the road to Cloudcroft, on Hwy 244. It is open in the summer months and stocked with trout. Permits may be purchased on-site.
Fishing Regulations for State and Federal Waters
A current New Mexico fishing license is required of all persons age 12 years or older who fish in New Mexico. Fishing licenses are issued from the period of April 1 through March 31 of each year. Fishing licenses are not required to fish on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation; however, daily permits must be purchased.