Fishing

 

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Fly Fishing, Angler, Water
An angler fly fishing on the Pecos River in the Summer.

NPS Photo

Fishing in Pecos National Historical Park

Pecos National Historical Park allows fishing as a means of providing for public enjoyment, and customary and traditional use, and regulates fishing to ensure that it is managed in a manner that avoids unacceptable impacts to park resources.

Reservations are required and may only be obtained at recreation.gov

For more information on how fishing regulations work in national parks, go to the NPS Fish and Fishing website.

Licenses

Visitors fishing within Pecos National Historical Park must follow the fishing license requirements in accordance with the laws and regulations of the State of New Mexico.

Fishing Regulations

Except as provided below, fishing shall be in accordance with the laws and regulations of the State of New Mexico (36CFR2.3).

For the New Mexico State fishing regulations go to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish website.

The fishing regulations apply to all “finfish” found in the park. Other taxa, including amphibians, mollusks and crustaceans (e.g. waterdogs, crayfish) are not considered “fish” for the purpose of NPS fishing regulations and addressed by NPS regulations governing wildlife (36CFR2.2).

These fishing regulations apply, regardless of land ownership, on all lands and waters within the park that are under the legislative jurisdiction of the United States.

The following are prohibited:

  • Fishing in fresh waters in any manner other than by hook and line, with the rod or line being closely attended.

  • Possessing or using as bait for fishing in freshwaters, live or dead minnows or other bait fish, amphibians, non-preserved fish eggs or fish roe, except in designated waters.

  • Chumming or placing preserved or fresh fish eggs, fish roe, food, fish parts, chemicals, or other foreign substances in fresh waters for the purpose of feeding or attracting fish in order that they may be taken.

  • Commercial fishing, except where specifically authorized by Federal statutory law.

  • Fishing by the use of drugs, poisons, explosives, or electricity.

  • Digging for bait, except in privately owned lands.

  • Failing to return carefully and immediately to the water from which it was taken a fish that does not meet size or species restrictions or that the person chooses not to keep. Fish so released shall not be included in the catch or possession limit: Provided, that at the time of catching the person did not possess the legal limit of fish.

  • Fishing from motor road bridges, from or within 200 feet of a public raft or float designated for water sports, or within the limits of locations designated as swimming beaches, surfing areas, or public boat docks, except in designated areas.

  • Introducing wildlife, fish or plants, including their reproductive bodies, into a park area ecosystem. This includes the discarding and/or dumping of bait and bait buckets.

  • The use or possession of fish, wildlife or plants for ceremonial or religious purposes, except where specifically authorized by Federal statutory law, or treaty rights.

The following regulations apply only within Pecos National Historical Park

Fishing is allowed only as part of a permitted fishing program and shall be authorized and managed through the issuance of a special use permit. The following Federal conditions and restrictions apply to the fishing program within Pecos National Historical Park, in addition to State of New Mexico general fishing regulations. Where State and Federal regulations conflict, Federal regulations take precedence.

1. CONDITIONS AND RESTRICTIONS:

The superintendent may impose closures and establish conditions or restrictions, in accordance with the criteria and procedures of 36 Code of Federal Regulations, Sec. 1.5 and 1.7, on any activity pertaining to fishing, including, but not limited to, seasons and hours during which fishing may take place, size, creel and possession limits, species of fish that may be taken and methods of taking.

2. FISHING LICENSE:

As per State law, all anglers must possess a valid New Mexico One Day, Five Day, or Annual Fishing License and a Habitat Management and Access Validation.

3. SEASON DATES:

The Superintendent shall annually determine specific dates that the Pecos River within Pecos National Historical Park shall be open for fishing.

4. DAYS OF FISHING:

The Pecos River within Pecos National Historical Park shall be open for fishing Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the effective season.

5. HOURS OF FISHING:

a. With the exception of paragraph “b” below, during the effective days of the defined season (see above) the Pecos River within Pecos National Historical Park shall be open for fishing between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

b. When the effective days of the defined season (see above) encompass any days between the Saturday before Memorial Day and Labor Day inclusive, the Pecos River within Pecos National Historical Park shall be open for fishing between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on those days.

6. LIMITS:

a. Catch and Keep “Non-Native” Species to include, Brown Trout, Brook Trout and Rainbow Trout

1) Anglers are allowed to keep a total of 5 fish per day, and may only have a total 5 fish in their possession per day.

b. Catch-and-release of all “Native Species of Fish”

c. ALL Native Species fish caught must be immediately returned to the water

7. FISHING METHOD, EQUIPMENT and BAIT:

a. Fishing is permitted only by use of one handheld rod and line

b. Only artificial flies or lures with a single barbless hook or Barbed hook may be used
c. Only one fly or lure per line is permitted. The use of multiple flies or lures per line is prohibited.
d. The possession of any bait other than artificial flies or lures is prohibited.

8. RELEASING AND HANDLING FISH:

Anglers will make every reasonable effort to follow the guidelines below pertaining to releasing and handling native fish:

a) Land the fish as quickly as possible to minimize the fish’s fatigue.
b) Use a landing net whenever possible and leave the fish in the water while removing the hook.
c) Wet your hands and do not squeeze or hold the fish by the eyes or gills.
d) Minimize time out of water for photos.
e) If the fish is hooked deeply, cut the line and leave the hook in.
f) Safely release fish in quiet water, near point of capture.

9. CLOSED WATERS: The following waters within Pecos National Historical Park are closed to fishing;

a. Glorieta Creek
b. Galisteo Creek

10. Fishing in closed waters or violating a condition or restriction established by the superintendent is prohibited.

Determination Statement: The 1997 General Management Plan for Pecos National Historical Park states “Fishing would be allowed by permit only and would be strictly managed to preserve and protect the sensitive riparian habitat, cultural resources, and public health.” Park staff is currently working on a long-term plan which will allow fishing activities while protecting both visitors and sensitive resources. Considering the hazardous nature of the Pecos River (rocks, snags, fences, etc.) and the need to protect public health and sensitive riparian habitat throughout the park, all park waters are closed to boating, swimming, bathing and other water sports.

Fish Consumption Advisories in National Park Waters


The Environmental Protection Agency, states, territories, and tribes provide advice on fish and shellfish caught in the waters in their jurisdiction to help people make informed decisions about eating fish. Advisories are recommendations to limit your consumption of, or avoid eating entirely, certain species of fish or shellfish from specific bodies of water due to chemical or biological contamination.

Fish is part of a healthy balanced diet, but eating wild fish and shellfish caught in park waters is not risk free. Parks are “islands”, but the much larger “ocean” that surrounds them affects the natural resources inside a park. Other aquatic toxins are the result of natural biological processes. Also, chemical contaminants that originate outside of park boundaries can come into parks.

Mercury is an example of a toxin originating outside a park that can find its way into a park. Mercury exists naturally in some rocks, including coal. When power plants burn coal, mercury can travel in the air long distances before falling to the ground, usually in low concentrations. Once on the ground, microorganisms can change this elemental mercury to methyl mercury. This type of mercury can build up in animal tissues, and it can increase in concentration to harmful levels. This high concentration can occur in large predatory fish - those often pursued and eaten by anglers. Studies have shown that fish in some National Park System waters have mercury levels that may be a concern to people who regularly eat a lot of fish.

To learn more about this topic, the National Park Service maintains information about Fish Consumption Advisories and Mercury and Toxins in Nature.

Aquatic Invasive Species


Imagine your favorite fishing spot and the wonderful memories. Things may look fine but underneath the surface there is a serious threat. Everything you remembered is now cemented together in a sharp, smelly mess. Invaders have wiped out the fish species you used to catch.

Aquatic invasive species are not native to an ecosystem. Their introduction causes, or is likely to cause, harm to the economy, the environment, or to human health. Aquatic invasive species are a growing risk to parks and their values. In the United States alone, there are more than 250 non-native aquatic species.

For many centuries, humans have contributed to spreading non-native species around the globe. You can make a difference. To learn more about Aquatic Invasive Species in the National Park Service, visit the Fish & Fishing website.

Fishing Throughout the National Park Service

We invite you to visit the Fish and Fishing website for more information about fish and fishing in the National Park Service. You will learn about conservation, different fish species, and parks that offer fishing.

Last updated: October 19, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Pecos National Historical Park
P.O. Box 418

Pecos, NM 87552

Phone:

(505) 757-7241

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