Red River (New Mexico)

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Red River
Red River of New Mexico Picture 2010.jpg
The Red River of New Mexico
CountryUnited States
StateNew Mexico
Physical characteristics
SourceMount Wheeler
 ⁃ locationTaos County
 ⁃ coordinates36°37′16″N 105°23′41″W / 36.62111°N 105.39472°W / 36.62111; -105.39472[1]
 ⁃ elevation13,161 ft (4,011 m)
MouthRio Grande
 ⁃ location
Taos County
 ⁃ coordinates
36°38′52″N 105°41′36″W / 36.64778°N 105.69333°W / 36.64778; -105.69333Coordinates: 36°38′52″N 105°41′36″W / 36.64778°N 105.69333°W / 36.64778; -105.69333[1]
 ⁃ elevation
6,578 ft (2,005 m)
Basin size187 sq mi (480 km2)

The Red River of New Mexico, USA, is a short, perennial river that flows down the north slope of Mount Wheeler in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, flows west past the towns of Red River and Questa and then south into the Rio Grande just south of the La Junta Campground.[2] The Red River is Taos’s winter fishery with prime time being from October through early April. The Red provides visitors the unique opportunity to fish and ski on the same trip to Taos. A myriad of springs flow into the river greatly increasing the flows and keeping the water temperatures in the optimum trout fishing range of between 45 and 60 degrees making the Red an ideal winter trout fishery.

As the summer monsoon season comes to an end and afternoon showers begin to taper off, the river settles down and clears nicely, allowing the fun to begin.

In the fall, towards the middle to end of October, larger rainbow trout begin staging in the lower reaches of the river near the confluence with the Rio Grande and start pushing up the river to spawn, creating a great opportunity for a shot at some big Browns through November as they migrate up river and back again. The Red River is noted for its trout fishery[3] and its lower portion is part of the Wild Rivers Recreation Area.[2] Located below Questa on the river is the New Mexico Red River Fish Hatchery.[2]

The Red River derives its water from snowmelt and summer season convective storms and due to the relatively consistent patterns of orographic precipitation it is a perennial stream.[4]

The Red River Valley historic marker west of the town of Red River, New Mexico.
The Red River at Fawn Lakes Campground, Carson National Forest, New Mexico.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Red River
  2. ^ a b c "Wild Rivers Recreation Area"
  3. ^ Adams, Ed "Red River Fly Fishing"
  4. ^ Staff (17 March 2006) "Chapter 2: Red River Watershed Background" Final-approved Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Red River Watershed Surface Water Quality Bureau, New Mexico Environment Department