Please see this short video on our Rio Grande Cutthroat
HISTORY, PROJECTS & ACTIVITIES
TROUT UNLIMITED, ENCHANTED CIRCLE CHAPTER
Trout Unlimited (TU) founded July 1959
Enchanted Circle Chapter (ECTU) founded 2007
Mission carried out at grassroots level:
- Protect (native & wild trout watersheds)
- Reconnect (watersheds by removal of migratory barriers)
- Restore (habitat, flows and water quality)
- Sustain (by land conservancy, youth education & membership development)
Trout Conservation Projects
Native Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Projects: ECTU has raised and funded various RGCT projects throughout the Enchanted Circle area including the Costilla, Columbine Creek, Rio Hondo Tributaries, Rio San Antonio and others with over $40,000 of investments from fundraising efforts.
Cimarron River Trout Habitat Project: This trout habitat improvement project is the entire 8.5+ miles of the Cimarron flowing through the public Cimarron Canyon State Park and Colin Neblett Wildlife Area. Three phases over several years make up the $900,000+ project. ECTU raised approximately $24,000 for this project. Estimated completion date December 2024. Project partners include Cimarron Watershed Alliance, Enchanted Circle Trout Unlimited, New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish and New Mexico Environment Dept River Stewardship Program. Engineering by Oxbow Ecological Engineering LLC and primary construction services by KC-MC Services in Raton, NM. This trout habitat improvement project includes the entirety of the approximate 8.5-9 miles of the Cimarron River on public lands in the Colin Neblett Wildlife Area and Cimarron Canyon State Park. Three phases make up the entire Cimarron River Trout Habitat Project. Phase 1 was one mile of trout habitat improvements through the Cimarron Watershed Alliance (CWA). Phase 1.5 added an additional .75 approximate miles of trout habitat improvements also managed by the CWA with hands on involvement from ECTU. Phase 2 includes the remaining approximate 7 miles with direct project partnership between CWA and ECTU. Phase 2 completion date is November 2024. ECTU raised approximately $24,000 for this project. Total project cost exceeds $900,000+. Grant funding from New Mexico Environment Dept River Stewardship Program. Other project partners are New Mexico Dept of Game and Fish. Engineering services from Oxbow Ecological Engineering LLC. Primary construction services by KC-MC services of Raton, NM. Additional consulting by American Waters and Land LLC.
Red River Trout Project and Fishing Park: ECTU started with the idea to improve trout habitat on the Lower Red River. ECTU took the idea and $5,000 to New Mexico Game and Fish, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, Questa Economic Development, Truchas Chapter Trout Unlimited and others to leverage $800,000 for the Red River Trout Project. The end result was improved trout habitat around the Red River Fish Hatchery, improved trout habitat on the Red River immediately south of Eagle Rock Lake.
Cimarron Gravel Pits Project: This ECTU project focuses on two layers related to the 3 gravel pit ponds in the Cimarron Canyon State Park. 1) Adding mobility impaired angler access trails along the gravel pit ponds and along a stretch of Cimarron River. 2) Improving the ponds to include better trout habitat. As of December 2023 ECTU has received the go ahead from New Mexico Game and Fish and Cimarron Canyon State Park to proceed with preliminary design plans. Primary project partners include ECTU, Friends of the Cimarron Canyon State Park, New Mexico Game and Fish, New Mexico State Parks.
To make a financial donation to directly help ECTU’s conservation efforts please make payment to Trout Unlimited Enchanted Circle Chapter and in the memo line or reference line please indicate a specific project such ast RGCT or Cimarron or Gravel Pits or general conservation.
Trout in the Classroom (TIC): TIC is a trout related experiential education program under the auspices of Trout Unlimited. ECTU volunteers work closely with area teachers and classrooms, typically 5th through 8th grade, to provide classroom sized trout hatcheries. These mini-hatcheries are used by the classroom to learn about the trout life cycle and the importance of healthy watersheds by raising trout from eggs to fingerling (baby) trout. The TIC curriculum guides teachers and students through STEM, Language Arts and Outdoor Field Trip lesson plans. ECTU pays for the equipment including aquariums, water chillers, water filter systems, water testing kits, and other ancillary items. The trout eggs are donated by our friends at the Red River Fish Hatchery and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. ECTU volunteers delivers the eggs to each class and provides the tools needed for the classes to raise their eggs into fingerling trout. Usually in early May the TIC classes take a field trip to release their trout into a prior approved area trout stream or pond.
- 14 TIC classrooms supported by ECTU in school year 2023-2024 impacting over 350 students in Taos and Colfax Counties. Tremendous growth from 2017 when ECTU had 5 TIC classes.
- 4 classrooms in school year 2023-2024 are raising native Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout, the indigenous trout in the Enchanted Circle plus New Mexico’s state fish.
- It costs ECTU approximately $1,300 to set up a new classroom with Trout in the Classroom. It costs ECTU upwards of $250 a year on average to maintain a classroom with TIC each year after initial setup.
To make a financial donation to directly help ECTU’s Trout in the Classroom please make payment to Trout Unlimited Enchanted Circle Chapter and in the memo line or reference line please indicate Trout in the Classroom.
Trout Warriors: Trout Warriors is ECTU’s new Service Partnership program dedicated to disabled veterans. Trout Warriors uses fly fishing and fly tying as a form of physical and emotional healing for disabled military veterans. Many disabled veterans find themselves “lost” after coming out of the military with a disability. The physical muscle memory aspect of fly fishing and fly tying rebuilds motor skills. Fly fishing’s ability to clear the mind, reset the brain and block out trauma is vital to the emotional healing with the camaraderie of other disabled veterans. ECTU provides volunteers and financial support for our Trout Warriors. This ECTU’s way of giving back to those that served our country.
- ECTU provides monthly fly fishing outings during the fishing season.
- ECTU provides monthly fly tying sessions during the winter months.
- ECTU provides an annual disabled veterans fly fishing healing retreat each year
- Trout Warriors has 20 disabled veteran participants with 9 that have fully embraced the benefits of fly fishing, fly tying and the outdoors as an important aspect of their healing.
- For year 2023, ECTU’s annual budget for Trout Warriors was $17,500.
To make a financial donation to directly help ECTU’s efforts with Trout Warriors please make payment to Trout Unlimited Enchanted Circle Chapter and in the memo line or reference line please indicate Trout Warriors.
Casting for Recovery (CfR): Casting for Recovery (CfR) is a national non-profit organization that connects survivors of breast cancer to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with other women and nature. A yearly retreat is held in northern New Mexico with participants from New Mexico, Texas Panhandle and Southern Colorado. This two-and-a-half day retreat is to focus on emotional support and fly fishing instruction. All participants are provided with fly fishing gear to wear during their half day guided catch-and-release adventure. Did you know fly fishing is good physical therapy for breast cancer survivors? Participants that have had surgery and/or radiation; fly casting helps increase mobility in the upper body and arm. All participants walk away from this retreat with a new look on life, a new support group within their area and basic fly fishing skills.
ECTU provides financial support and volunteers for the annual retreat.
- CfR NM annual retreat serves 14 breast cancer survivors each year at no cost to the participants.
- ECTU provides volunteer guides for the half day guided catch-and-release adventure.
- ECTU provides fishing vests, leaders/tippet and other fly fishing items for retreat participants
- ECTU strives to sponsor one Casting for Recovery participant each year at a cost of approximately $1,700.
To make a financial donation to directly help ECTU’s efforts with Casting for Recovery please make payment to Trout Unlimited Enchanted Circle Chapter and in the memo line or reference line please indicate Casting for Recovery NM.
Events and Meetings
Board Meetings: Currently the ECTU board regularly meets on the second Wednesday on even months throughout the year, these months are February, April, July, August, October, December. Board meeting location alternates between Taos and Eagle Nest. Sometimes we meet via video conference. Board meetings are open to all members.
Spring Social Party: ECTU has transitioned away from a traditional annual sit-down banquet to a more relaxed fun Spring Social Party. We have found that heavy hors d’oeuvres, live music, cash bar and an auction provides more socializing. Our next Spring Social is scheduled for Apirl 19, 2024.
Fly Fishing Tournament Turned Fish-A-Thon: In 2024 ECTU will be hosting our 11th annual tournament now turned into a fish-a-thon on April 20-21, 2024. . This for fun fish-a-thon is the major fundraiser for ECTU. Teams of 2 fly fishers compete to score fish points and raise money for the chapter. The winning team is the team with the combined highest fish points scored plus dollar amounts raised. The annual fish-a-thon is now held on the third weekend of April each year.
River Cleanups: In 2023 ECTU partnered with Friends of the State Parks, New Mexico State Parks and Tractor Supply Co to do a spring cleanup day on Cimarron River and Eagle Nest Lake. This is one of a couple annual cleanup days ECTU organizes. Our next river cleanup day is schduled for May 4, 2024 on the Cimarron River and Eagle Nest Lake.
Fly Fishing 101 Clinic: ECTU partners with New Mexico Game and Fish and New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division to host an novices fly fishing 101 clinic for a nominal cost. Fly Fishing 101 covers the basics of fly fishing equipment, fly casting, basic knots and basics of reading the water. The format is a mix of classroom and time on the water. The class is held at Eagle Nest Lake State Park and Cimarron Canyon State Park. We strive to hold this the second Saturday in August each year.