Before You Go
The road to Elk City leads directly past the small, picturesque Red River WMA. Easy access to the WMA makes it a destination for hunting and fishing. A sheltered viewing platform makes it a perfect place for observing wildlife. At the right time of day, a visitor is likely to see white-tailed deer, elk, and moose grazing along the timbered edges of the meadow. The WMA is open year-round to the public.
Clearwater Regional Office
Primary Purpose: Protect and enhance elk calving habitat; provide spring and summer habitat for big game; restore and enhance spring Chinook salmon spawning habitat; provide wildlife-based recreation and education opportunities.
Habitat: Riparian and meadow landscape, conifer forest
- 314 acres
- Idaho County
- Established in 1993
things to know
The ranch house on the Red River WMA is available to the public and other agencies for conservation-related meetings, organization gatherings, education, and training sessions. User fees are charged and used for maintaining and improving the facilities.
The Red River flows through the WMA property and has been a high priority for restoration activities since 1997. The restoration target is spawning habitat for spring Chinook salmon as the watershed has an extremely high potential for salmon habitat within the South Fork Clearwater sub-basin. Federal, state, tribal, non-profit and private organizations have all contributed to restoring salmon spawning habitat in the Red River watershed.
Improving spawning salmon also improved fish habitat. Today anglers will find easy access to a local cutthroat trout fishery on this picturesque, meandering stream.
The WMA also provides important calving habitat for elk and moose, and fawning habitat for white-tailed deer. From late March to late May, 100 to 200 elk can be seen in the meadow. A variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, sandhill cranes, bald eagles, osprey and northern goshawks frequent the meadow and river.
The previous owner of the property, then called Little Ponderosa Ranch, offered to sell the ranch to Fish and Game to protect the area's fish and wildlife resources. The purchase was made possible by grant donations from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Trout Unlimited, and mitigation funds from Bonneville Power.
The WMA and surrounding Nez Perce National Forest are popular destinations for elk and white-tailed deer hunters.
Be sure to check Idaho’s Seasons and Rules for up-to-date hunting information.
River restoration of the Red River has revived the westslope cutthroat population and once again provides an alpine fishing opportunity.
Three federally listed fish species also occur on the WMA - steelhead trout, Chinook salmon and bull trout.
A sheltered viewing platform allows the public a unique opportunity to watch wildlife moving about on the large alpine meadow, especially elk, deer, and moose. Waterfowl, shorebirds, and birds of prey frequent the stream running through the property.