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.
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
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
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,
and Bonito Hollow RV Park & Campground.