As the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost extension of the Rockies, rise from the desert floor, and elevations start to exceed 8,000 feet or so, average temperatures drop sufficiently to support trout. Historically, in the Rio Grande Valley, these were a distinctive sub-species of Cutthroat. The original range extended into the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque, and even further south. Today, the most southerly streams are found in high elevation headwaters streams near Santa Fe.
Data on this map was collected from a variety of sources: mostly particularly the 2008 Range-Wide Assessment of Rio Grande Cutthroat (See Dowloads) supplemented by a host of other sources. We’ve mapped every stream documented by any reliable sources to hold Rio Grande Cutthroat. We’ve also extracted useful information about population abundance, stream width, and habitat. It’s not available for all streams, but for many of them.
Note that abundance information is cyclical and will vary for the same stream year to year. Note too that higher fish counts don’t necessarily mean it’s a better fishing stream: it could mean a small stream with lots of tiny trout.
Finally, be sure to check fire conditions. The 2013 fires destroyed at least one established RGCT population in NM, and severely damaged several others. It can take several years to a decade or longer for a stream to recover from a major fire.
This is an essential tool if you’re planning a trip for Rio Grande Cutts. NOTE: you MUST check state or tribal regulations. Many of these streams are managed under special regulations, and some are closed to fishing.