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Fishing

HIGH MOUNTAIN LAKES: Numerous scenic small lakes above 10,000 feet in elevation provide excellent fishing for cutthroat, rainbow and brook trout. Trout in these pristine waters can be temperamental when feeding conditions are favorable. Most lakes require uphill hiking from 1-12 miles. Some better high mountain lakes are: Sand Creek, Deadman and Cotton lakes in the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness; Ute, Squaw and Twin lakes in the Weminuche Wilderness; and Blue, Green and Bear lakes in the South San Juan Wilderness. Flies and small lures fished with light lines in the morning and evening is usually best. Location: Rio Grande National Forest and Wilderness Areas surrounding the San Luis Valley. Inquire at the Division of Wildlife area offices or USFS in Monte Vista.

RIO GRANDE: The mighty Rio Grande begins its long journey to the Gulf of Mexico high in the San Juan. Look for good brown and rainbow trout fishing from Rio Grande Reservoir downstream to Del Norte. Fly-fishing is best June through July when stonefly and mayfly hatches dominate fish diets. The Gold Medal section from South Fork to Del Norte provides trophy brown trout. Location: West of Del Norte and north of South Fork to Creede. There is easy access to the river via highways 160 and 149. Much of the river is privately owned, but public access is excellent through numerous state leases.

ARKANSAS RIVER
With 150 miles of fishable water, much of it accessible to the public, and wild brown trout reproducing naturally in its upper reaches, the Arkansas River provides some of the best fly fishing in Colorado. This is a freestone river from Leadville all the way to Pueblo. It contains mostly browns averaging 12 to 14 inches, with trophy fish up to 22 inches. Rainbows are a rare treat with average sizes from 14 to 18 inches.

Pueblo Reservoir - Summer fishing has been somewhat disappointing here, but it usually gets better in the fall as wipers, walleyes, largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass all become more active. The best fishing is from mid-September through October. Walleyes are in the shallows then and bass and wipers are feeding on surface-schooled shad. By December, most fish move into deeper water where they can only be caught deep-spooning. Anglers are requested to avoid this type of fishing, or to use barbless hooks, since undersized fish caught this way must be released and mortality is high. The size limit for bass is 15 inches and walleyes 18 inches. Although ice forms on the edges, there is enough open water to fish the reservoir all winter.

Big Meadows Reservoir - Fall fishing is good for trout and remains so until the snow flies. The road is not plowed and becomes inaccessible except to snowmobiles. Ice fishing is good until ice-out begins in late March.

La Jara Creek - Fishing for brown trout remains good into late October. After that the fish go into winter dormancy as the creek starts icing up, and do not become active again until April.

Rio Grande High Country Streams - Fishing has been excellent in the high country and anglers can expect good fall fishing for trout until the streams ice up in December. They will open up again in late March.

Rio Grande River - Fall is a great time to fish the Rio Grande when fishing pressure is at a minimum and the trout are still rising to flies. Dries: Orange Stimulator, Turk's Tarantula, caddis and a big Rusty Spinner for the evening. Regulations on most sections of the river require all rainbows to be returned to the water.

Road Canyon Reservoir - Boaters report fair fishing for stocked rainbow trout. Aquatic plant growth along the shoreline makes fishing difficult for shorecasters.