What You Need to Know About Fishing in the Gila National Forest

Gila is thought to be derived from a Yuma Indian word meaning “running water which is salty.” So, it’s no wonder the Gila National Forest is a great place to fish! Whether you choose to cast your line in a lake, pond, river, or stream, you’re sure to enjoy your afternoon outdoors. Keep reading for tips on how to have the best Gila National Forest fishing experience.

If you need assistance planning your next fishing trip, including a stay at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch, we can help! Simply send us your ideal travel dates, and within 72 hours, we’ll send you a customized itinerary for your vacation in The Land of Enchantment.

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Your Guide to Gila National Forest Fishing

Lake Fishing

The Gila National Forest offers three manmade lakes for anglers: Quemado Lake, Snow Lake, and Lake Roberts. Each is stocked with rainbow trout in the fall, winter, and spring. If you’re visiting during the summer months, head to Lake Roberts where you can catch channel catfish and small-mouth bass. This is a great place to sit back and take in the natural beauty around you — from the rugged mountains and deep canyons to the semi-desert country.

Adjacent to the forest, Bear Canyon Reservoir and Bill Evans Lake also offer fishing to the public.

Note: Fishing licenses are required in New Mexico. Anglers must also purchase a Habitat Improvement Stamp when fishing on National Forest lands. You can get one from a vendor within the Gila National Forest or from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

River & Stream Fishing

The Gila has miles of streams that provide a serene setting for both cold and warm water fishing. The Gila River and the San Francisco River are located within the forest, and the upper reaches and tributaries of both rivers offer trout fishing. The lower reaches of both rivers provide warm water fishing opportunities. 

Did you know? Native fish are also found in the streams on the Gila, including the rare Gila Trout. This species is considered endangered, and recovery efforts are underway to help establish more fishable populations.


Apache Trout caught at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch, Taylor Creek, Gila National Forest, New Mexico

Fishing at the Ranch

Our guest ranch is surrounded by the beautiful and diverse Gila National Forest, which means you can fish in the spring-fed creeks right near our property. If you’d like to fish during your stay at the ranch, you must bring your own gear and purchase a fishing license. The creeks near the ranch are warm and spring-fed, and you will find mostly bass and catfish. However, keep your eye out for the rare Gila or Apache Trout as our guests have been known to catch one on occasion!  


End Your Adventure at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch

After a long day of fishing, there’s nothing more rewarding than a hearty, home-cooked meal. Our New Mexico guest ranch offers three meals a day as well as evening activities like campfires, s’mores, line dancing, and board games. Plus, our private cabins have all the amenities you need to feel at home. 

Ready to book your next fishing trip and visit to Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch? Check our availability and make your reservations now. We can’t wait to host you at the ranch!