Mescalero Tribal Lands

Near the village of Ruidoso, NM are the tribal controlled lands of the Mescalero Reservation. From May to September the tribe opens certain areas for recreation use with a fee. No license is required to fish in designated waters because it’s on tribal land. They also open up the land to primitive car camping. The fees are nominal. They stock these water with rainbow trout from their own hatchery but there’s few if any people who fish Tenkara. Most are bait fisherman. I have ran into a total of two western fly fisherman last year who were camping but they weren’t catching anything. I doubt anyone has had the success I have when fishing here. I catch mostly browns and sometimes the stocked rainbows. The browns aren’t stocked and are wild. This last trip, I had the place to myself. No one was camping or fishing. The Ruidoso River has two forks, north and south, with the confluence located on the tribal land. I generally fish the north fork because there’s a higher flow. I have fished the south fork as well. I’ll also hike farther up the canyon than anyone else would to get away from the camp area. I’m actually in what would be the headwaters zone. Most of the browns I catch are in the 4 to 8 inch range. That one brown is a rarity for this river. I have caught browns larger than that one.


Looks like a blast. Any RGCT up there, or all extirpated?

I have not come across any. I have heard rumors of RGCT in Indian Creek on the west side of Sierra Blanca. The creek is not open to fishing and it’s on tribal land. I have not been able to confirm that information.

It looks wonderful. I wish I could try it someday.

Sacred land.

I would love to fish here.

Thanks for the words and photos.

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Well that looks 7 kinds of beautiful! What’s the elevation round those parts, if I may ask?

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Anywhere from about 7k to 9k.

Rob, this is amazing. I am pleased that you had such a great time.

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