Year around (except Bonito Lake which is April 1 – November 30).
Where to go Fishing:
The Ruidoso area offers some great fishing opportunities year around. Only at Bonito Lake is the fishing season restricted to eight months of the year. Most waters are stocked with rainbow trout to supplement the native population of brown trout. Fishing equipment is available from Western Auto on Mechem Drive, Wal-Mart across from the race track and Fly’s Etc in midtown on Sudderth Drive. Find below a listing of all the different fishing locations in the area. Remember to always practice catch and release unless you are really catching your next meal. The bag limit is three fish on the river and six fish at the lakes. Consider using barbless hooks as they allow minimal damage to fish, allowing the populations to grow bigger for the next angler.
April 1st opens the fishing season here each year and it continues through November 30. This beautiful lake surrounded by forest and mountains is actually a reservoir for the City of Alamogordo, so there are no boats allowed. Drive north on Hwy 48 to the Hwy 37 turn off at Angus. Take Hwy 37 towards Nogal for about 1 mile and look for the left turn to Bonito Lake. There are some beautiful picnic spots along the way.
This creek meanders down from high mountain terrain feeding Bonito Lake. Beyond the Bonito Lake dam it continues on to Fort Stanton. It can have light amounts of water depending upon the time of year, but the deeper holes support a healthy stock of rainbow and brook trout.
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 boasts a good supply of native brown trout. Please handle the 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 contain a good number of brown and brook trout.
This lake is less than 2 miles from midtown 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 one of the “big ones” over 5 pounds in weight and 30 inches in length.
Fishing on the Mescalero Apache Reservation:
A state fishing license is not needed, but daily permits may 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 may be fished daily from sunrise to sunset. Purchase your permit for $18 at the swimming pool at the Inn or at the boat docks in the summer months.
Drive on Hwy 532 (ski run road) about 31/2 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. Call (505) 336-4668 for information.
Before the Rio Ruidoso winds through Upper Canyon, it descends from the Reservation at the end of Main Road. It is open in the summer months and is stocked with rainbow trout. Permits may be purchased at the reservation line on Main Road.
This peaceful lake is about halfway from Hwy 70 to Cloudcroft on Hwy 244. It is open in the summer months and well stocked with trout. Permits may be purchased at the office 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.
New Mexico issues one day, five day, and annual licenses.
In the Ruidoso area fishing licenses may be purchased at Wal-Mart and Western Auto. Near Bonito Lake, on Hwy 37, licenses may be purchased at Bonito Hollow RV Park and Campground. Call 575-336-4325.