The Complete Guide to Getting a New Mexico Fishing License

Last Updated on June 2, 2023

With fishing becoming an increasingly popular activity in New Mexico, it’s important to understand the state’s regulations when it comes to getting a license. 

Whether you’re a resident or a visitor coming for a one-time outing, understanding the specifics of licensing requirements is key if you’re planning on casting your line. 

Learn more about why you need a New Mexico fishing license and how to get yours with this guide.

Who Needs a Fishing License in New Mexico

NM Fishing License Requirements
On Tribal LandsNot Required
Class-A LakesNot Required
Residents 12+Required
Non-residents 12+Required

New Mexico fishing licenses are not required for those fishing on tribal lands or Class-A lakes. 

New Mexico fishing regulations require anglers aged 12 and older must possess a valid New Mexico Fishing License or Game-hunting & Fishing License, which are valid from April 1 to March 31 of the following year.

Gila Trout Fishing Permit 

Anglers need a Gila Trout Fishing Permit if planning to fish for trout in any of the following locations:

  • Black Canyon
  • Gilita Creek
  • Mineral Creek
  • Mogollon Creek
  • Sapillo Creek
  • West Fork Gila River (headwaters to East Fork confluence)
  • Whitewater Creek and Willow Creek (including tributaries) 

This permit is free and can be obtained online at, by phone or from any license vendors or NMDGF offices.

Habitat Improvement Stamp

Anglers aged 12 and older must purchase a Habitat Management & Access Validation (HMAV) and a Habitat Stamp each license year (April 1 to March 31) in addition to their hunting and fishing license. 

The HMAV is not required for anglers 17 years of age or younger, nor when purchasing any free fishing license.

The Habitat Stamp is necessary for anglers 12 years of age or older fishing on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands in New Mexico. 

These funds are put towards improvement projects

Second Rod Validation

Fishing in New Mexico with two rods requires more than just a valid New Mexico Fishing License or Game-hunting & Fishing License. Anglers 12 and older must also purchase a Second Rod Validation. 

This is not required for any free fishing license, and three rods cannot be used at any time. 

All other license regulations such as bag and possession limits remain the same.

What age do you need a fishing license in New Mexico

The state of New Mexico requires that all anglers 12+ need a fishing license.


To be considered a resident in New Mexico, individuals must have been:

  • Domiciled in the state for 90 days prior to the license application
  • Temporary or seasonal residents from outside of New Mexico are not eligible
  • Citizens of other countries legally present in the U.S. who can verify residence for 90 days preceding their license application may also qualify
  • U.S. Armed Forces personnel assigned permanently to a military installation in New Mexico, as well as their spouses or dependents living with them, may also qualify if certified by their commanding officer

New Mexico residents who are not required to have a license, or are eligible for a free license. 

  • Resident and nonresident anglers 11 years of age or younger
  • Junior Fishing Licenses are available to residents and nonresidents aged 12-17
  • Senior Fishing Licenses are available to New Mexico residents 65-69 years of age
  • Free Licenses for New Mexico residents 70+ years old are available online, by phone and at vendors/offices. Non-residents are not eligible
  • Free licenses for 100%-disabled resident veterans are available by application through NMDGF Headquarters in Santa Fe, NM. No Habitat Stamp or Validation is required
  • Handicapped Fishing Licenses for qualifying New Mexico residents with permanent disabilities require Habitat Stamp, if applicable, and Habitat Management & Access Validation


Any of the special or free licenses offered by the state are not available to non-residents.

The non-resident fishing license New Mexico offers will be listed at a higher price than that of residents as well.

How to Buy a New Mexico Fishing License 

If you’re looking to purchase a license for fishing in New Mexico, you can do so online, over the phone (888-248-6866), or in person at a license vendor, or from an NMDG office.


Licenses are available from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish website. Once your license is purchased, you can save your fishing license from your NMDGF account.

New Mexico Department of Game Office

You can also obtain a license in person from a local NMDG office. Special licenses that can’t be bought online, such as those for disabled anglers and veterans, are also available at these offices. 

Local Retailers

Many New Mexico grocery stores and sports retail stores sell fishing licenses in person if purchasing and printing it is not an option.  

A list of vendors can be found on the NMDG website. 

How Much is a New Mexico Fishing License

Fishing license prices vary between resident licenses and New Mexico out-of-state fishing licenses. 

Fishing License New Mexico Resident &  Non-resident License Fees
License TypeResidentNon-resident
Annual License$25.00$56.00
One-day Fishing$12.00$12.00
Five-day Fishing$24.00$24.00
Junior Annual Fishing (age 12–17)$5.00$15.00
Senior Annual Fishing Age 65–69 (Resident Only)$8.00N/A
70 Years and Older Annual Fishing (Resident Only)FreeN/A
Handicapped Annual Fishing (Resident Only)$8.00N/A
Second Rod Validation$4.00$4.00
Game hunting License & Fishing License (Resident Only)$30.00N/A
Junior Game hunting License & Fishing License (Resident Only)$15.00N/A
Senior and Handicapped Game-hunting & Fishing (Resident Only)$20.00N/A
Disabled Veteran Game-hunting & Fishing (Resident Only)$10.00N/A
Habitat Stamp$10.00$10.00
Habitat Management & Access Validation (HMAV)$4.00$4.00
Gila Trout Fishing PermitFreeFree

Additional New Mexico Fishing Regulations

trout fish underwater
  • Shad approved as baitfish species in the Pecos River drainage.
  • Trout daily bag limit increased to the statewide limit (5) at select waters. Cutthroat trout limit increased at Seven Springs Kid’s Pond.
  • New or altered Kokanee salmon snagging seasons dates for Heron Lake and Willow Creek. Abiquiu Lake is closed to snagging.
  • Waters open to trotlines defined by river drainage.
  • Harris Pond and Trees Lake added as Catfish Waters, Estancia Pond is now open to all anglers, and new youth fishing opportunities at Rock Lake Hatchery Ponds and Alto Kid’s Pond.
  • It is illegal to possess, transport or stock live game fish into any water without a permit from NMDGF. Processed and packaged fish are not considered baitfish and may be used where legal statewide. Bullfrogs cannot be used as bait.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a fishing license in New Mexico?

Yes, you need a fishing license in New Mexico if you are a resident between the ages of 12 and 69. All non-residents need a fishing license if they are over the age of 12. 

How much is a one-day Fishing License in New Mexico

A one-day fishing license in New Mexico is $12 for both residents and non-residents.

How much is a ticket for fishing without a license in New Mexico?

A ticket for fishing without a license in New Mexico is $75.

Final Thoughts

Getting your fishing license is an easy and quick way to ensure that you are following the guidelines to maintain a healthy ecosystem. 

Not only are these regulations in place for the protection of beloved natural areas, but they also safeguard native wildlife and help to keep anglers safe. 

Furthermore, obtaining one of these licenses is not expensive and demonstrates respect for environmental stewardship on the part of each fisherman. 

Once you’ve got your New Mexico fishing license, if you’re planning to fish for bass, be sure to download our free bass fishing lures cheat sheet.

So you always know the right lure to throw no matter where you’re fishing.