HOOK, LINE AND SINKER: COLORADO’S BEST DESTINATIONS FOR ANGLERS
DENVER (September 30, 2013) – From Gold Medal Waters, those designated by the Colorado Wildlife Commission as the best places to catch the largest and the most fish, to 2,000 lakes and reservoirs, Colorado offers diverse fishing experiences for every angler and every season. In cold or warm weather and everything in between, the state boasts 6,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams, and prosperous fishing locales that offer views of craggy peaks, blue skies, translucent waters and green, gold or snow-covered flora. Following are some of the state’s most unique and prolific fishing areas. For more information, visit .
Gunnison County – Hundreds of miles of picturesque waterways and thousands of new fish released each year from the Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery make Gunnison County a hub for anglers. The county holds records for the largest brown, rainbow and lake trout along with kokanee salmon and offers easy access to anglers in prime fishing locations including Blue Mesa Lake, Taylor Reservoir, and the Gunnison, East and Taylor Rivers. The area also holds seven annual fishing events May through September, such as the Kids Fishing Derby in June and the Bridge to Bridge Fly Fishing Tournament in July.
Glenwood Springs – Nationally recognized for its fly fishing excellence, Glenwood Springs offers year round fishing on its two rivers, the Roaring Fork and the Colorado. Some enthusiasts suggest that winter is one of the best times for fishing in the area, although spring through fall is the typically fishing season among the area’s anglers. Located in the Roaring Fork Valley is Colorado’s longest stretch of Gold Medal Water. What makes this stretch desirable is its accessibility to both the Roaring Fork River from the 44-mile Rio Grande Trail and the Colorado River from the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail. These rivers are filled with abundant amounts of brookies, browns, cutthroats and rainbow trout.
Carbondale – Another access point to the Roaring Fork River, Carbondale is a key location for fishing throughout the fall. With three access bridges to the River just off Highway 82, the Roaring Fork is perfect for wading and for trout fishing. Beginning at Independence Pass at 12,095 feet, the River winds down towards the Colorado River, falling more in elevation in the 70 miles than the Mississippi River does in total. Because of this quick decline in elevation, the River throughout Carbondale offers a wide variety of water types and amazing views of fall foliage.
Southwest Colorado – The San Juan and Animas Rivers and Vallecito Lake in southwest Colorado are also included on the state’s list of Gold Medal Waters. The area’s waters are filled with kokanee salmon, rainbow trout, small mouth bass, German brown trout, northern pike and walleye. Whether fishermen are beginners or seasoned anglers, this area offers experiences for all experience levels. The San Juan River is a technical river with some stretches that hold 10,000 fish per mile. The Animas River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in Colorado and has easy access from Durango by way of foot and bike trails that run parallel to the river. Vallecito Lake provides visitors with a spectacular mountain setting and easy access to full service campgrounds, RV parks and cabins. The nearby Wilderness Trails Ranch has multiple ponds on property stocked with rainbow trout. The Ranch offers guides for half- and full-day fishing excursions, as well as casting clinics.
Lake City – The waters of Lake City allow for fishing year round with varying approaches for success. During the spring, fly fishers have the most luck with trout by reaching the deep pools where the fish are still hiding out from the winter. As Lake San Cristobal thaws out by mid-May, fishermen can catch 10- to 30-pound mackinaw or lake trout near the shore. As summer settles in, it becomes prime season for the streams and lakes around Lake City. Places such as Deer Lakes and Big Blue Creek have abundant, but small trout, which are ideal for a fishing trip with children. Those seeking larger fish like wild browns should try Cebolla Creek and Henson Creek in the fall, when changing fall foliage gives waters a golden glow and streams are low and clear. During the winter, Lake San Cristobal becomes a great location for ice fishing. Fishermen can set up a fishing hut on the ice and catch smaller lake trout and even some fish that are too big to fit through the hole in the ice.
South Park – Known for its productive trout waters and over 50 miles of Gold Medal Water public streams, the waters in the area are of the highest quality aquatic habitat. Many of these waters are not open to the public; however, the South Park Fly Fishers program allows fishermen to access these waters. The program is the result of several historic ranches joining the online reservation site for fly fishing access. Anglers can select one of the registered properties and pay the daily rod fee to fish one of the private trout streams. The different properties allow for a variation in scenery and the fishing experience. The greatest benefit of the South Park Fly Fishers program is that the collected rod fees go right back into improving the properties and waters and keeping the habitat at such a high quality.
Meeker – Throughout the White River Valley is a range of public and private lands filled with rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout and large whitefish. With permission and a small fee, anglers can fish in these protected waters where the owners invest in protecting spawning beds and the fish habitat. On Meeker public lands, fishermen can visit the River Camp RV Park and Campground, which is surrounded on three sides by ¾ mile of the White River, or one of the many cool mountain streams where some of the state’s largest trout can thrive. Ice fishing has also become popular in the area with several locations on the White River National Forest lands.
To fish in Colorado, anglers must obtain a license, which are valid from April 1 through March 31. Licenses can be purchased at license agents, Colorado Parks and Wildlife offices, online or by phone at 800-244-5613. Anglers can also reference the interactive 2013-2014 Fishing Regulations Brochure, which features videos, useful information and more.
Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and 25 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 13 national parks and monuments, and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet.
For more information or a copy of the 2013 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit or call 1-800-COLORADO. Follow Colorado on , , , , , , , Tumblr and .
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