Fishing & Frogging

An American bullfrog sits on algae-covered mud next to an image of two anglers on the edge of a wetland.

At Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, anglers can enjoy the opportunity to catch catfish, carp, and bullfrogs between April 1 and September 30.


Fishing & Frogging General Information

Fishing and frogging regulations are designed to provide safe recreational opportunities through wise use of renewable wildlife resources. Fishing and frogging are allowed in accordance with Federal regulations governing public use on National Wildlife Refuges as set forth in Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations.   

Fishing will be in accordance with applicable State of New Mexico regulations, bag limits and license requirements, subject to the conditions stated below. The most restrictive regulation will apply. For more information, visit the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish website at www.wildlife.state.nm.us/home/publications/ or call: 888-248-6866.  

You may only enter the fishing and frogging area from the Tour Loop and you must pay the entrance fee or have a valid pass.     

Fish may only be taken by hook and line.    

New to fishing the refuge? After reviewing State of New Mexico fishing regulations and refuge-specific regulations, we recommend starting along the Elmendorf Canal. Use caution along steep banks and stay away from water control structures.    

Dates & Hours

Fishing and Frogging Information Sheet and Map (pdf 300KB)  

WHEN: We allow fishing and frogging from April 1 through September 30. You may only be on the refuge one hour before legal sunrise until one hour after legal sunset. Fishing and frogging are allowed from one-half hour before legal sunrise to one-half hour after legal sunset.  

WHERE: We allow fishing and frogging on certain canals in areas normally open to the public (including Elmendorf/Interior Drain and the Bike Trail - east side of the Low Flow Conveyance Channel), and the wetland unit that the Boardwalk spans. Check out our Alert page to learn of relevant closures.  

HOW: In the fishing and frogging area, we allow the use of bicycles only on designated roads and the Bike Trail. We do not allow the driving of motor vehicles off-road.   

Frogging

We only allow American bullfrogs to be taken and no other frog species. We only allow the use of hook and line, spears, gigs, and archery equipment to take bullfrogs. Bullfrogs are non-native, voracious predators of many native insects, reptiles, birds, and small mammals. Removing bullfrogs from the refuge helps protect native species including the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse that swims and climbs through plants growing near water.

Prohibited activities

  • We do not allow bow fishing, spear fishing, seining, dip netting, traps or the use of trotlines. 
  • We do not allow disturbing, injuring, spearing, poisoning, destroying, or attempting to disturb, injure, spear, poison, or destroy any plant or animal not expressly authorized for take. 
  • We do not allow camping or being on the refuge between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise.
  • We do not allow the introduction or placement of plants and animals or their parts to or on the refuge. 
  • We do not allow littering, abandoning, discarding, or otherwise leaving any personal property.
  • We do not allow searching for, disturbing, defacing, or unauthorized removal of any items such as historic or archaeological features.
  • We do not allow the cutting of vegetation or the collecting of any plant, rock, animal parts or animals, such as turtles or salamanders, not expressly authorized for take.
  • We do not allow boating, floating, swimming or wading in any arroyos, wetlands, water delivery ditches, canals, drains, or channels.  
  • We do not allow open fires. 

Learn about other regulations that may apply to your visit.

Fishing in New Mexico (link to New Mexico Department of Game and Fish website)  

Fishing on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lands and Waters (link to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fishing website)  


  A map of Bosque del Apache with highlights indicating public fishing and frogging areas. Highlighted areas include the Boardwalk, Elmendorf/Interior Drain, and Low Flow Conveyance Channel.

 

A map of Bosque del Apache with highlights indicating public fishing and frogging areas. Highlighted areas include the Boardwalk, Elmendorf/Interior Drain, and Low Flow Conveyance Channel. On the Low Flow Conveyance Channel, fishing and frogging are allowed only from the east side (Bike Trail side). On the Elmendorf/Interior Drain, fishing and frogging are allowed only from the North Loop and South Loop, Marsh Overlook Trail, and Elmendorf Trail. On the Boardwalk, fishing and frogging are allowed only from the Boardwalk Trail and Elmendorf Trail.