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

Here is how to obtain your annual fishing permit.

  1. Download and digitally fill out the Annual Fishing Special Use Permit
    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 you in Adobe Reader
  3. Type in your information on pages 1 and 2, including your NM Fishing License number
    NOTE: A park ranger will fill in the permit # and sign as the Authorizing NPS Official.
  4. Read and understand the rules and regulations
  5. Initial pages 3 through 7 to signify that you've read the rules and regulations
  6. Digitally sign the form by clicking on the signature block
    NOTE: A window will pop up and lead you through the signing process
  7. Save the filled-out form
  8. Send an e-mail to vall_info@nps.gov with
    • the filled-out form
    • a scan or photo of your New Mexico Fishing License

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

Receiving and Using Your Annual Fishing Permit

You will receive your annual fishing permit digitally as soon as your New Mexico Fishing License is verified and park staff process the permit. The permit will be valid through March 31.

  1. Print out the permit
  2. Sign the wallet permit card (on page 8) and carry it while you're fishing
  3. Keep the vehicle dash permit (on page 8) 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.

 

Fishing Locations

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 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.

Last updated: April 13, 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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