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The Best Fishing Spots For Catfish In New Mexico

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Guide to fishing for flathead, blue and channel catfish in NM.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

New Mexico provides excellent opportunities for catfish fishing, with its rivers, lakes, and reservoirs hosting various catfish species. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about catfish fishing and catfish waters in the state.

New Mexico catfish fishing video.

In this video Kris Flores and his daughter Isa, fish for catfish at Elephant Butte Lake.

Catfish Fishing Video

One of the most sought-after catfish species is the channel catfish. Known for its voracious appetite and hard-fighting nature, the channel catfish is a popular target for anglers. Anglers can find channel catfish in New Mexico's rivers and reservoirs, where they inhabit deep pools, channels, and areas with ample cover. Techniques such as bottom fishing with stink baits, chicken liver, or cut bait can entice these whiskered predators and lead to exciting catches.

Another notable catfish species found in New Mexico is the flathead catfish. Flathead catfish are known for their large size and strength, making them an exciting challenge for anglers. They tend to inhabit deep, slow-moving sections of rivers and reservoirs, often hiding among submerged structures or along the riverbanks. Anglers targeting flathead catfish often use live bait such as sunfish, shad, or large nightcrawlers to tempt these powerful fish. Catching a trophy-sized flathead catfish can be a thrilling accomplishment for any angler.

Blue catfish are another species that anglers can encounter while catfish fishing in New Mexico. Although less common than channel or flathead catfish, blue catfish can still be found in select reservoirs and rivers. These large and formidable fish can reach impressive sizes and offer a thrilling fight when hooked. Anglers often use similar techniques as for channel and flathead catfish, employing bottom fishing methods with natural baits to entice blue catfish.

Whether anglers are targeting channel catfish, flathead catfish, or blue catfish, New Mexico's diverse waterways provide ample opportunities to pursue these whiskered predators. From the winding rivers to the tranquil reservoirs, catfish enthusiasts can enjoy the thrill of the chase and the satisfaction of landing a trophy-sized catfish. With their strength, size, and tasty fillets, catfish make for memorable fishing experiences and delicious meals for those who seek them in the waters of New Mexico.

Catfish fishing in New Mexico

You can find catfish in the vast majority of waters throughout New Mexico. Rivers, ponds and small lakes are likely places to locate catfish. The major lakes with healthy populations of catfish include Abiquiu Reservoir, Brantley Lake, Caballo Lake, Clayton Lake, Conchas Lake, Elephant Butte Lake, Farmington Lake, Navajo Lake, Red Bluff Reservoir, Santa Rosa Lake, Sumner Lake and Ute Lake.

Fishing Boats For Rent In New Mexico

Fishing for catfish in New Mexico

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 36 lbs 8 oz

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 78 lbs 0 oz

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 54 lbs .25 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

What's the best bait for catfish in New Mexico?

Choose from the top 5 all-time catfish baits and try them on local waters. Appealing to the keen sense of smell and taste could turn a so-so day into a memorable event.

New Mexico State Record Catfish

The state record channel catfish was caught from Stubblefield Lake.

The state record flathead catfish came from Elephant Butte Lake.

The state record blue catfish came out of Elephant Butte Lake.

Catfish fishing from the bank

There are many species of catfish and even more ways to catch them. Adults range in size from less than a pound to hundreds of pounds. Catfish are found in all types of water including ponds, streams, lakes and rivers throughout New Mexico. There are even species which spend a limited amount of time on dry land. Big giant catfish put up a very noble fight once hooked.

Most catfish are considered bottom feeders to one extent or another. They will generally eat anything that can get in their mouth. Their strongest sense is smell which they use to locate potential food sources. Capitalizing on this sense is the primary weapon in your search for these creatures. Aggressive catfish have been caught on most types of fast moving bass lures so don't under estimate their ability to catch live bait.

Additional catfishing information resources.

Catfish Conservation Group

U.S. Catfish Anglers Tournaments

Planet Catfish


Information for states with catfish.

AL Catfish Fishing AR Catfish Fishing AZ Catfish Fishing CA Catfish Fishing CO Catfish Fishing CT Catfish Fishing DE Catfish Fishing FL Catfish Fishing GA Catfish Fishing HI Catfish Fishing IA Catfish Fishing ID Catfish Fishing IL Catfish Fishing
IN Catfish Fishing KS Catfish Fishing KY Catfish Fishing LA Catfish Fishing MA Catfish Fishing MD Catfish Fishing ME Catfish Fishing MI Catfish Fishing MN Catfish Fishing MO Catfish Fishing MS Catfish Fishing MT Catfish Fishing
NC Catfish Fishing ND Catfish Fishing NE Catfish Fishing NH Catfish Fishing NJ Catfish Fishing NM Catfish Fishing NV Catfish Fishing NY Catfish Fishing OH Catfish Fishing OK Catfish Fishing OR Catfish Fishing PA Catfish Fishing
RI Catfish Fishing SC Catfish Fishing SD Catfish Fishing TN Catfish Fishing TX Catfish Fishing UT Catfish Fishing VA Catfish Fishing VT Catfish Fishing WA Catfish Fishing WI Catfish Fishing WV Catfish Fishing WY Catfish Fishing