Fishing at the the Elephant Butte and Caballo lakes on the other hand, is extremely popular, and probably the biggest sport in the County, with quite a variety of good species to be had. Bass fishing competitions take place at ‘the Butte’, where many varieties are to be found, including the ‘Striper’. The record Striper weighing over 50 lbs was caught at Elephant Butte Lake.
Fishing for Crappie, Bluegill, Catfish and Walleye is also popular, while the Rio Grande south of Elephant Butte, through Caballo Lake is designated ‘Special Trout Water’.
More, and detailed information is avaiable at the website of the State Game and Fish, at www.wildlife.state.nm.us
A list of related businesses, including Outfitters can be found under Hunting in our Business Listings at the back of this Guide.
A Fisherman’s Paradise
Anglers will find numerous opportunities for fishing at Elephant Butte Lake, Caballo Lake, Percha Dam, and the Rio Grande.
Elephant Butte Lake, the largest body of water in New Mexico, is known for record-breaking bass, walleye, catfish, crappie, white and black bass, and stripers. In June 2007, Field & Stream Magazine named Elephant Butte Lake as one of their 150 Best Fishing Spots Near You.
Caballo Lake is also good for boat fishing, yielding bass, crappie, catfish, and walleye, while Percha Dam and the Rio Grande (which runs north-to-south through the center of the county) offer excellent shore fishing.
Fishing licenses must be renewed annually on April 1, and cost $35 per year.
See the legends on the Caballo Lake Map, Percha Dam Map, and Elephant Butte Lake Map for fishing spots recommended by NM State Parks (as well as park entrances, marina and boat dock locations, picnic facilities, and more)…
Fishing Reports / What’s Biting
Thousands of visitors come to the lakes each year. During summer weekends, both lakes—but especially Elephant Butte—turn into hubs of activity. Otherwise, the lakes offer plenty of wide open water and relative privacy.
Kayaking, canoeing and floating the river is a popular activity in summer, when the river is flowing and the weather is especially hot. The 5 1/2 hour passage from Elephant Butte State Park to Caballo Reservoir is easy—two 18″ drops in 17 miles, on a course that winds from Elephant Butte to Truth or Consequences / Williamsburg then through BLM land for the remainder of the trip.
Several organizations make use of Sierra County’s lakes and river. Check out the Las Cruces Paddling Meetup Group for info on group kayak and canoe outings. The Rio Grande Yacht Club holds regattas at the lake during winter months. In the summer, the Southwest Drag Boat Association hosts races for every kind of watercraft imaginable.
FREE BOAT TRAINING is offered by New Mexico State Parks. The training is required for anyone operating a boat and completion of the course earns participants a free night of camping.
Boat Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Houseboat Rentals and More:
Dam Site Marina, Elephant Butte
paddle boats and sit-on kayaks
Marina del Sur, Elephant Butte
kayaks, pontoon boats and ski boats
Rock Canyon Marina, Elephant Butte
pontoon boats and aqualodges
Sports Adventure, Elephant Butte
pontoon boats, ski boats, and Sea-Doos
White Water Weekends
inner tubes, inflatable kayaks, and 16′ catarafts for use at Elephant Butte, Caballo, Rio Grande
Zia Kayak Outfitters
310 Rock Canyon Road
single kayaks, tandem kayaks, standup paddleboards, kayak demos
Elephant Butte, NM 87935
Note: The list that follows may not be complete. For more information on local Fishing Guides, Hunting Guides, and Outfitters, see the websites of our two local Chambers of Commerce: Elephant Butte and T or C / Sierra County.
Land of Enchantment Fishing Adventures
Rio Grande Guide Service
Matt’s Guide Service