The 8 Best Fishing Spots in New Mexico This Summer

New Mexico
© Pavone

Written by Crystal

Updated: July 20, 2023

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New Mexico is home to over 1,200 lakes.

Anglers can try their luck at catching all sorts of warm water species. You’ll find catfish, white bass, walleye, bluegills, and large and smallmouth bass.

The year-round fishing season makes it a great place to visit anytime, but summer’s extra special. Runoff conditions have usually subsided at the start of June. That means there’s excellent fishing throughout the entire state.

Where will you have the best experience? Keep reading to discover the 10 best fishing spots in New Mexico this summer.

1. Ute Lake

Lake Ute, New Mexico, covers 8,200 surface acres of water.

©Timthefinn at English Wikipedia / This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Timthefinn at English Wikipedia. This applies worldwide. – Original / License

First, on our list of the best fishing spots in New Mexico this summer, we have Ute Lake State Park. Ute Lake sits on the Eastern plains of New Mexico and offers an 8,200-acre reservoir. The reservoir is abundant in largemouth bass, crappie, walleye, catfish, and more! There are 45 miles of pristine shoreline where anglers can search for the perfect spot to cast their line.

As long as you don’t mind taking a short hike through the wilderness, you’ll be able to find plenty of places with access. For safety, pack plenty of water and a wide-brimmed hat. Grab a pair of high-quality sunglasses too. The sun is bright, and the glare on the water is no joke.

2. Pecos River

Experience a medium-sized keystone river when you visit the Pecos River. Have fun fishing for brown and rainbow trout as well as largemouth bass. The river sits right within Pecos National Historical Park, and it’s available for fishing Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The summer season runs from June 9th through August 1st. The spring season resumes in March and runs until April. It’s a wonderful location for regular cast and fly fishing.

3. San Juan River

San Juan River and Farmington, New Mexico

The San Juan River which originates in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, spans about 355 miles in length.

©MonaMakela/ via Getty Images

Are you looking for a world-class fly fishing spot where you can catch trophy-sized trout? Then head over to the San Juan River. The river is available 365 days a year, but the summer is the best time to catch trophy-sized fish. The river just recently reopened to out-of-state visitors. You can expect a water flow of 400 CFS and about 12 in visibility. When’s the best time to fish here? Anytime! This river is active all day long. The fish in this river are active all day long.

4. Conchas Lake

Have an adventure and head over to Conchas lake! It has a surface area of 9,600 acres and is 25 miles long. There’s an elevation of 4200 ft, and the water temperatures during the summer range around 80° f. Since the lake is stocked by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, you’ll be able to enjoy regular catches.

Channel catfish, bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass, walleye, and more species are all abundant here. The walleye fishing this summer is particularly great. Anglers are having a lot of luck out there. The waters are warm, and there are 60 miles of shoreline for you to fish from.

5. Bill Evans Lake

Catch elusive golden carp and bass at Bill Evans lake. It’s tucked away in the canyons of southwestern New Mexico, right by the Gila River valley. The shorelines are rocky, so make sure you wear good hiking shoes (and watch out for snakes).

The most popular fish here include channel catfish, rainbow trout, and largemouth bass. There are also primitive campsites available if you want to stay a day or two. The lake is only 4 MI off us 180. It’ll be easy for you to access it using the paved roads.

Keep your eyes open for wildlife while you’re there. Deer are known to frequent the lake and a wide variety of birds. All sorts of birds. New Mexico, in the summer, is home to doves, eastern kingbirds, hummingbirds, sparrows, and northern flickers.

6. King Lake

Mount Hubbard Alaska

A glacier formed Lake King in New Mexico.


Did you know that glaciers sometimes form lakes? Now you can visit an Ice Age lake, King Lake! Formed by glacial activity, the entire lake basin is a fish haven.

Less than 25 miles from Raton, the lake is in Colfax County. Your chances of getting regular bites here are great. You can try your hand at fly fishing, baitcasting, and spinning.

During the summer months, you’ll have the best luck during dawn. Try fishing between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. for the best results.

You’ll find King Lake offers a leisurely fishing experience with gorgeous views. The waters are high quality, the fish abundant, and the scenery is nothing short of inspiring. You’re going to want to bring a camera!

7. Heron Lake

As a part of the San-Juan Chama Project, Heron Lake has earned its spot on our list of the best fishing spots in New Mexico this summer. The lake has legendary fish, the type that reaches monstrous sizes! There are legends of trout reaching 20lbs in these waters. Can you imagine how exhilarating it’d feel to catch a fish that big? You’d definitely need a few photos to frame up.

The lake has more than you’d expect. There’s also a park that has picnic areas, boat ramps, and camping sites. Along with trout, this lake is a salmon hot spot. Since it’s only 2 hours from Santa Fe, it’s a great spot to get you out in nature. This lake allows anglers to soak in the sun and make great memories. It’s definitely a family friendly spot too.

8. Brantley Lake

Striped bass

You can catch striped bass in New Mexico.

©Steve Brigman/

Hop off US 285 and travel 12 short miles north of Carlsbad. Soon, you’ll come across Brantley Lake. The reservoir is right on the Pecos River, and it’s a great place to catch largemouth, white, and spotted bass. You can also go kayaking, canoeing, and hiking at this location. Did you want to catch gar? Try using cut bait. For the musky out here, try using crankbait. Finally, for white bass, white grubs work well.

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About the Author

Crystal is a dedicated writer at A-Z Animals, focusing on topics related to mammals, insects, and travel. With over a decade of experience in the world of research and writing, she also fulfills the role of a skilled video and audio engineer. Residing in sunny Florida, alligators are Crystal's favorite animal.

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