Fishing

Man fishes from the grass covered bank of a narrow stream.
Fishing at Valles Caldera
The waters of Valles Caldera National Preserve provide some great fly fishing for beginners and experts. As the rivers meander through lush mountain meadows, they create miles of pools and overhanging banks, which are home to thousands of trout. The views and quiet serenity are well worth the fishing trip.

To fish inside the preserve, anglers must have a fishing permit issued by the preserve as well as a valid New Mexico Fishing License. Due to COVID-19, we now offer an electronic annual fishing special use permit that will be valid through March 31, 2022 in addition to single-day use fishing permits that are issued on site.

Instructions on filling out the electronic annual special use permit:
1. DOWNLOAD the fillable Annual Fishing Special Use Permit (SUP). Your information will not save if you fill it out online - you must DOWNLOAD it to your computer to be able to input your information and save it.
2. Open the file you have downloaded and saved on your computer in Adobe Reader.
3. Type in the required information on pages 1&2, including your NM Fishing License number. (The Preserve will fill in the Permit # and will sign as the Authorizing NPS Official)
4. Read and understand the "Rules and Regulations."
5. Electronically sign the SUP by clicking on the signature block. A window will pop up and lead you through the signing process.
6. Save a copy on your computer.
7. Send an e-mail to vall_info@nps.gov and attach the file that you just saved, as well as a copy of your NM Fishing License (see below for instructions in obtaining one).
8. Allow up to 7-14 business days for Preserve staff to process your request.

To obtain and verify possession of a NM Fishing License, valid April 1 through March 31:
1. Visit the New Mexico Game and Fish website.
2. Fill out the required information by either applying online, calling the phone number listed, or visiting a license vendor.
3. Valles Caldera will need to verify that you have a valid NM Fishing License. To verify possession of a NM Fishing License, include a scan or photo of your license in your email with your special use permit.

Receiving your special use permit:
1. You will receive your permit electronically as soon as your NM Fishing License is verified and Preserve staff processes the application.
2. The special use permit (SUP) will be signed by the Preserve and valid through March 31, 2022.
3. A second document will include the vehicle dash permit and wallet permit card. You will receive this electronically with the SUP from Preserve staff.
a. Sign the wallet permit card and carry it with you while you're fishing.
b. Keep the vehicle dash permit on your vehicle's dash while you're fishing.


For questions and concerns, please contact us at VALL_Info@nps.gov or 575-829-4100 ext 3.

 
 

East Fork of the Jemez River and Jaramillo Creek

East Fork begins its journey in the eastern end of the Valle Grande and flows southwest to be joined by Jaramillo Creek. The narrow Jaramillo also hides many large trout under the grass banks that overhang the crystal-clear water. The confluence of the East Fork and Jaramillo waters provides an ideal feeding area for trout and creates a near perfect fishing hole. The East Fork continues its journey under the main road into the preserve and then into a secluded valley as it exits the preserve. There the river widens, deepens, and slows, creating an excellent habitat for large trout. The East Fork presents the same challenges as the San Antonio and is home to brown and rainbow trout that grow as large at 18".

San Antonio Creek and Rito de los Indios

The San Antonio Creek begins in the northern part of the preserve and runs west. The San Antonio is a tale of two rivers. The northern stretch is only two feet wide in some areas with few trees and shrubs to cover a fisherman's approach. The river widens at the lower end and flows over long, gravel bed shallows. The crystal clear water and lack of cover require stealth and an accurate cast to catch that big brown trout. The Rito de los Indios is a small stream located in the northeast corner of the preserve and flows into San Antonio Creek.

Vehicle Access

Those anglers who want to drive their personal vehicles into the backcountry to fish the San Antonio Creek, Rito de los Indios, or Jaramillo Creek must be able to obtain a free backcountry vehicle permit. Permits are limited and available seasonally as conditions allow. No backcountry vehicle permit is required to fish any preserve waters accessed by foot, bike or horse.

Fishing Rules

  • All anglers are required to have a fishing permit issued by the preserve. Permits can be obtained online here on this page, by email to Vall_Info@nps.gov, or by calling 575-829-4100 ext 3.
  • All anglers are responsible for being familiar with New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) fishing regulations and must have in their possession a valid NMDGF fishing license and a Habitat Management and Access Validation (HMAV) stamp. (Visit NMDGF website for exemptions based on age.)
  • All waters within the preserve fall under NMDGF's designation of "Special Trout Waters."
    • Only artificial flies and lures with single, barbless hooks are permitted.
    • The preserve bag limit is two trout.
  • Live bait is prohibited to prevent the introduction of invasive species. No bait such as worms, grasshoppers, salmon eggs, corn, etc.
  • Recreational and sports fishers can help prevent the spread of parasites by not transporting fish from one body of water to another, not disposing of fish bones or entrails in any body of water, and ensuring boots and shoes are clean before moving between different bodies of water.
  • To minimize the chance of the fatal whirling disease, waders or other footwear intended for wading are prohibited. Additionally, the streams within the preserve are so small that waders are not needed, and the presence of people in the stream muddies up the waters downstream.
  • All nets must be sanitized prior to use in all waters within the park.
  • Remember, safety is your responsibility.
  • Information EVERY visitor needs to know.

Fishing Outfitters and Guides

Valles Caldera National Preserve allows but does not provide outfitter or guide services. Only authorized outfitters or guides are permitted to conduct business within the preserve. To work with a guide, please visit our listing of permitted fishing guides.

To become authorized, outfitters and guides must first obtain a commercial use authorization through the Valles Caldera National Preserve prior to conducting any business within the preserve.

Last updated: September 30, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 359
Jemez Springs, NM 87025

Phone:

(575) 829-4100 x3

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