Fishing Glossary

Search and sort this fishing glossary of popular terms found on the New Mexico Game & Fish website and in our Fishing Rules & Information booklet (available in print and PDF format).

Active Duty Military (N.M. Resident)Current active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard for a minimum period of 90 days. Members of the National Guard or Military Reserve Component and commissioned officers of the U.S. Public Health Service or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who have completed a minimum of six years of continuous honorable service.
Angling To take or attempt to take fish by using hook and line with the line either held by hand or attached to a pole, rod or other device that is held in the hand or attended.
Artificial Fly or Lure A lure is made of wood, metal, or plastic. A fly is made with fur, feathers or man-made materials to resemble or simulate insects, baitfish or other foods. Live or dead arthropods and annelids are not included.
Artificial Light Artificial light may be used to take all species of game fish. However, it is illegal to shine light where game or livestock may be while in possession of a sporting arm which includes bows. Violators face loss of license privileges as well as criminal prosecution. Therefore, if lights are used the possession of a firearm or bow is not recommended.
Aquatic Invasive Species Nonnative harmful and undesirable plants, animals, insects or organisms (page 35).
Bag Limit Number of fish that may be caught and kept in one day.
Baitfish Live or dead nongame fish species used as bait. Nongame fish species include common carp, fathead minnow, golden shiner, shad, red shiner, and white sucker. Goldfish, dead or alive, cannot not be used as bait in any water. Commercially packaged and processed fish that are dead are not considered baitfish.
Bow Includes compound, recurve and longbows. Sights on bows may magnify targets but cannot project light. No drugs may be used on arrows. Arrows cannot be driven by explosives.
Bow Fishing Taking or attempting to take game fish with barbed arrows discharged by a bow or crossbow from above the surface of the water. Arrows must be attached by string, line or rope to facilitate the retrieval of fish. Game fish may be taken by bow fishing only in lakes and reservoirs open to fishing. Bag and length limits for bow fishing and angling are the same. Bow fishing is not allowed in any Special Trout Water, river, stream or Trophy Bass Water (for largemouth bass). Local ordinances or prohibitions may apply at a specific location or water, and the local managing agency should be contacted prior to bow fishing.
Chumming Attracting fish with organic materials that will not injure aquatic life. Chumming is allowed in all waters, except Special Trout Waters. In any Special Trout Water it is illegal to disturb aquatic plants, rocks or sediment to attract fish or to angle in the immediate vicinity of such disturbance.
Dead Bait Sometimes called 'cutbait,' portions of some species may be used only in designated waters (see page 7).
Disabled Veteran License Annual reduced-fee game hunting and fishing licenses or lifetime free privileges are available to residents who are disabled veterans of the armed services (page 5).
Game Fish Bass (largemouth, smallmouth, striped, white), bluegills, catfish, crappie, perch, pike, salmon, sunfish, tiger muskie, trout and walleye.
Game-hunting & Fishing License An annual combination Game-hunting & Fishing License is valid for fishing in addition to hunting small game. Licenses may be purchased at license vendors statewide, including all NMDGF offices, toll-free 1-888-248-6866and online
Habitat Management & Access Validation Habitat Management & Access Validation must be purchased and possessed by anglers, trappers and hunters. This once-per-license-year fee is used to ease private lands for public use; provide public access to landlocked public land; and provide improvement, maintenance, development and operation of property for fish and wildlife habitat management. This fee is not required for anglers, hunters and trappers 17 years of age and younger or in conjunction with any free fishing license or privilege.
Habitat Stamp All anglers and trappers 12 years of age and older and all hunters must have a current Habitat Stamp to use U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service (where fishing is allowed), and BLM lands in New Mexico. Only one stamp is required each license year (April 1–March 31) to fish, trap or hunt on these lands. The stamp is not required on other public property (such as state, county or municipal lands and parks), other federal lands (such as the Bureau of Reclamation, Army Corps of Engineers and military reservations) or on private property. Funds from the stamp are used to maintain and improve wildlife habitat. This fee is not required for anglers and trappers 11 years of age or younger, or in conjunction with any free fishing license or privilege.
Handicapped (Handicapped Fishing Licenses) See License Information, page 3.
Ice Fishing Ice fishing is allowed on all lakes during open-season hours, except Monastery Lake, Santa Cruz Lake and Springer Lake. Commission-owned or managed lakes may be closed to ice fishing during unsafe conditions. For conditions and information, visit online
License Year April 1, 2019 and ending March 31, 2020. A new license is required every April 1.
Landowner Permission It is illegal to fish on private land without possession of valid written permission from the landowner whose property the angler is fishing, unless otherwise allowed by rule. The landowner’s signature including date and telephone number on a valid license, landowner authorization or other paper shall constitute valid written permission.
Native American Lands Permission from the tribal government for each reservation must be obtained before fishing. A New Mexico fishing license is not required on reservation waters (Cochiti Lake requires a fishing license). However, official tribal documentation showing lawful possession must accompany all fish or game taken on a reservation.
NMDGF New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) License A license available from vendors, NMDGF offices and online
Possession Limit Total number of fish an individual may possess while in camp, vehicle or home.
Resident See New Mexico Residency Requirements, page 4.
Second Rod Validation Allows anglers to use two fishing rods in all waters. Bag and possession limits remain the same (page 3).
SingleBarbless Hook A single hook manufactured without barbs or which has any or all barbs removed or bent completely closed.
Snagging Taking fish by hooking the body rather than the mouth. Kokanee salmon are the only fish that may be legally snagged, and only during Special Kokanee Snagging Season (page 17). If another species is caught by snagging, it must be immediately returned to the water.
Spearfishing Bag and length limits for spearfishing and angling are the same. Legal means of taking include spears, gigs and arrows with barbs. Scuba divers and snorkelers may spear fish only in impoundments (reservoirs, lakes and ponds) open to fishing. Spearfishing is not allowed in any Special Trout Water, river, stream or Trophy Bass Water (for largemouth bass).
U. S. Military (N.M. Resident) Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, or their Reserve Components, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and commissioned members of the U.S. Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Veteran (N.M. Resident)New Mexico resident veteran with a minimum of 90 days active duty service in the U.S. Military, or six continuous years in the National Guard, Military Reserve Component, or U.S. Public Health Service or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Veterans must have been honorably discharged from military service.
Reference (NM Fishing Rules & Info 2019-20 pgs. 44-46)