Fishing

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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 park, you must have:

  • a fishing permit issued by the park
  • a valid New Mexico Fishing License

We offer an annual fishing special use permit valid through March 31 of the next year and a single-day use fishing permit that is issued on-site.

 

Fishing Rules and Regulations

  • 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
    • a Habitat Management and Access Validation (HMAV) stamp
    Visit NMDGF website for exemptions based on age.
  • All anglers are required to have a fishing permit issued by the park. Annual permits can be obtained online here on this page. Single-day permits can be obtain in-person at the park.
  • All waters within the park fall under NMDGF's designation of "Special Trout Waters."
    • Only artificial flies and lures with single, barbless hooks are permitted.
    • The park 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 park 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.
  • Review information every visitor needs to know.
 

New Mexico Fishing License

Follow these steps to obtain and verify possession of a New Mexico 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

Remember, we need to verify that you have a valid New Mexico Fishing License, so include a scan or photo of your license in your email with your special use permit.

 

Annual Fishing Special Use Permit

We are offering the ability to receive a free annual fishing special use permit ahead of your visit. Follow the steps below to 1) fill out an application, 2) receive and finalize your permit, and 3) Use your permit in the park.

Step One: Apply for a Special Use Permit

Here is how to obtain your annual fishing permit. Note: Every individual in a fishing party must have their own permit.

  1. Download and digitally fill out the Special Use Permit Application.
    NOTE: Your information will not save if you fill it out online. You must download the form to your computer to be able to input your information and save it.
  2. Open the file in Adobe Reader.
  3. Type in your information on page 1.
    1. Applicant Information: All of the applicable fields
    2. Activity Details: Enter "Annual Fishing Permit"
    3. Preferred Date: Enter "Annual"
    4. Location: Fill out where you think you will fish (just as an FYI)
    5. Participants, Vehicles, and Equipment: Fill out as best you can
    6. Equipment: Fill out as best you can
    7. Individual in Charge: Enter "Self"
  4. Type in your information on page 2.
    1. Name should fill in automatically
    2. Title: If applicable.
    3. Signature: Please digitally sign
    4. Date: The date you will send the application to us
  5. Read and understand the notices.
  6. Save the document.
  7. Make a copy of your New Mexico fishing license.
  8. Email the completed application and copy of your license to VALL_Info@nps.gov.

Allow 7-14 business days for a park employee to process your application.

Step Two: Receive Your Permit

Once you receive your permit, you have to finalize the permit in order for it to be valid.

  1. Download the attachment you receive from VALL_Info@nps.gov.
  2. Verify that your information is correct on page 1.
  3. Fill out the information on page 2.
    1. Emergency contact information
    2. Sign as the permittee
  4. Initial pages 3 through 7 to signify that you've read the rules and regulations.

Step Three: Use Your Annual Fishing Permit

Once you have filled out and signed the permit fields in step two, the permit will be valid through March 31. Here is how to use your permit in the park.

  1. Print out the complete permit.
  2. Sign the wallet card and vehicle dash card on page 8.
  3. Bring your complete permit and your New Mexico Fishing License to the park.
  4. Show your permit to the ranger on duty at the Entrance Station. If heading further into the park, request a backcountry vehicle permit.
  5. Carry the wallet permit card while you're fishing.
  6. 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.

 

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 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 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 park. 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 Valles Caldera National Preserve prior to conducting any business within the park.

 

Fishing Locations

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    Last updated: September 23, 2022

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    Contact Info

    Mailing Address:

    PO Box 359
    Jemez Springs , NM 87025

    Phone:

    575 829-4100 x3

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