As early as 1905, Red River City began gaining notoriety as a pristine fish hatchery and paradise for anglers, boasting some of the finest trout fishing in the nation. Combined with the cool mountain weather, people began to regard the high country of Northern New Mexico as a place to relax and escape the rigors of day-to-day living, as well as the heat. It was also a great place to catch fish. In those early days, there were no bag limits, but as more people made use of the river and the high country lakes, regulations became necessary to keep area waters from being “fished out.”
Today the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish operates fish hatcheries and stocks fish throughout the spring and summer months. The Town of Red River also conducts a trout stocking program, supported by the not-for-profit Texas Hold’em tournaments organized by summer resident and Louisiana native John Pilgreen.
YOU HAVE TO HAVE A LICENSE
Fly fishing tours with experienced local guides are available in town and around the area.
All persons 12 years or older, while fishing in New Mexico, must have on their person a current New Mexico fishing license (exceptions: Indian reservations and private class A lakes). In addition, a Wildlife Habitat Stamp is required by all anglers over age 12 to fish on all US Forest Service and US BLM lands in New Mexico. The regular license year is April 1 to March 31, 24 hours a day, all year long.
There are four locations where a fishing license can be purchased.
The Starr Trading Post located on East Highway 38 – that’s Main Street to most folks – sells rods, reels, lures and a variety of clothing for avid anglers.
Sitzmark Sports, located at the corner of West Main and Mallette Canyon Road, has fishing and outdoor gear, as well as mountain bike rentals and is connected with the Sitzmark Lodge for nightly accommodations.
Williams Trading Post is back in business at the corner of High Street and Bitter Creek Road with everything you need to fish, plus gifts and hardware.
You can also purchase licenses online at https://onlinesales.wildlife.state.nm.us.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO FAR
Most of the lodging in town is located within easy walking distance from the Red River and there are two municipal ponds located in downtown, across the street from the Red River Ski Area. The smaller pond is reserved for children and handicapped anglers, while the larger pond is open to the general public. Licenses are required for the ponds. There are also several lodges in town that offer pond fishing within the boundaries of their property.
Lakes such as Goose Lake, Middlefork, Latir and Lost Lake are available for those who seek the adventure of a high country lake experience.
Eagle Nest Lake is located approximately 18 miles from Red River and offers the challenge of catching kokanee salmon, as well as rainbow trout.