By Michael Ritterhouse — Staff writer
SANTA FE — Fishing season has begun in New Mexico — time for anglers to get a new license and enjoy all the fun!
Anglers can expect good fishing in many waters this year, with many streams now carrying plenty of spring runoff from the state’s modest mountain snowpack.
“We’re looking a lot better now than we have for years after all this drought,” said Eric Frey, sport fish program manager for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. ”I’d say the fishing is going to be pretty good this season.”
Anglers are reminded to purchase a new fishing license before setting out for their favorite fishing hole. The fishing license year runs from April 1 to March 31 and licenses cost $25 for state residents. Most anglers also are required to purchase a $4 state habitat management and access validation stamp, and anglers intending to fish on Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Forest Service lands also need a $5 federal habitat stamp, which help fund fish habitat improvement projects around the state.
Children younger than 12 do not need a license to fish and anglers age 70 and older qualify for a free license. Disabled military veterans and active-duty members of the armed forces also qualify for free or discounted licenses.
Consult the current fishing rules and information booklet, available online at wildlife.state.nm.us or at local license vendors for more details.
Anglers can purchase their new license at onlinesales.wildlife.state.nm.us, at a participating license vendor or by calling 888-248-6866.
Anglers can expect to find good fishing this spring at many reservoirs and lakes that have filled up after good monsoon rains last summer and fair mountain snowpack this winter, Frey said.
“The Cimarron River is dependent upon dam (water) releases,” said Karl Moffatt, media relations coordinator for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
Fish stocking reports indicate that Eagle Nest Lake is set for a great season with 299,376 triploid rainbow trout stocked from March 30 – April 2. The fish are 3.5 – 5” long and, Moffat says, “keep in mind that this load of fish we just planted in Eagle Nest Lake will take several months to reach catchable size.”
The Red River looks positive, too, with normal stream flows due to a normal snowpack. Also with a project along the Red River completed and others started, Red River’s fishing will just keep getting better. The habitat improvement project on the lower Red River is scheduled for completion by late July according to Frey.
For more information about fishing conditions around the state, consult the fishing and stocking report at www.wildlife.state.nm.us/fishing/weekly-report/.
<em>Editor’s note: This article includes information provided by a New Mexico Department of Game and Fish press release.</em>