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Conchas Lake stretches 11 miles southwest along the Conchas River, and about 14 miles along the South Canadian River in eastern New Mexico. Located northwest of Tucumcari, Conchas Lake offers varied shoreline, secluded coves, canyons, and sandy beaches. Although most of the 88 miles of shoreline is privately owned, the 14% owned and maintained by the U.S. Corps of Engineers provides excellent opportunity for fishing, swimming, camping, boating, hiking, and more.
Conchas Lake was created by impounding two rivers, the South Canadian and the Conchas Rivers. Constructed in 1940 as a project of the New Deal, Conchas Dam was built for flood control, irrigation and recreation purposes. The dam stretches 19,500 feet and is 235 feet tall.
The eastern portion of Conchas Lake is owned and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The shoreline in this area is designated for public recreation. The Corps offers a free group shelter in the Day Use Area that includes picnic tables, BBQ, horseshoe pits, disc golf and volley ball courts. Unless reserved, the group shelter is first come first serve. Camping is also available at developed campgrounds. Conchas Lake State Park has 100+ developed campsites and is a popular destination spot for camping, hiking and fishing. The Southside Recreation Area is no longer a part of the State Park, and is being reconstructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Once completed, it will include about 50 campsites and restrooms with shower facilities. Several of the campsites will have RV hook ups.
Conchas Lake is great for boating, sailing, and water skiing. Boat launching ramps are available in the North and South Recreation Areas. Plans are in order to extend the lower ramps in the South Recreation Area to accommodate low water use. The South side ramps are packed soil and sloping rock, while the north side ramps are two lanes made with concrete. Boaters should check current lake levels before heading out. Conchas Lake is closed to boating at 4,155 feet.
Geocaching, the treasure hunting game using a GPS to hide and seek containers with other participants, is permitted at Conchas Lake, but only with prior authorization from the lake manager. Visitors must remain on the established paths and trails.
Open year-around, Conchas Lake is stocked with bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, and walleye, and provides excellent fishing. American Bass Anglers American Fishing Tour is one of the special fishing events held at Conchas Lake. Although there are no park fishing docks, the North Dock Marina allows fishing from its docks after hours.
Although rather hot, Conchas Lake offers a fun and relaxing setting. Like an oasis in the dessert, visitors flock to Conchas Lake each year bringing their boats, camping gear, and picnic baskets.
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