Welcome to the San Luis Valley and the Rio Grande. The San Luis Valley is Colorado’s largest mountain valley and the Rio Grande has become one of the state’s best trout rivers. Some stretches are stocked with catchable-size rainbow trout and have an eight-fish daily bag limit while other stretches have special regulations where you can expect to catch lots of rainbows and browns, many in the 16” – 20” range
The best fishing usually runs from June into October. This is when the water is the warmest, the fish most active, and the hatches of stoneflies, mayflies, and caddisflies the most prolific. Fishing from the bank begins improving by July. However, by floating the river you can get to places bank anglers can’t reach and the fishing generally begins to pick up in early May. Spin fishing with lures, such as Panther Martins and Mepps, usually brings good results while fly anglers have a variety choices. There is usually a good salmon (willow) fly hatch sometime during the last couple of weeks in June. Then from July through September, big stonefly, weighted and fished deep, are a good bet. The first two weeks in July frequently see a mayfly hatch and caddisfly hatches occur off and on from May into September.
Recommended flies include: Rio Grande king, green drake, stimulator, sofa pillow, pheasant tail, halfback, Bitch Creek nymph, girdlebug, gold ribbed hare’s ear, Campbell stonefly, elk hair caddis, adam’s and tude coachman.
Rio Grande Reservoir – 9,541 ft.2000a. Rocky and steep shoreline. Good bait or lure fishing for 1-3 lb. Rainbows and browns with some cutthroats.
Road Canyon Reservoir – 9,725 ft. 100a. Bordered by grass and conifer/aspen forests. Good for 1-3 lb. Rainbows and 10-15” brooks.
(Winter access by car.)
Brown Lakes – 9,840 ft. 180a Grassy meadow area surrounding pine and aspen forest. Good for 1-3 lb. Rainbows and cutthroats, 1-4 lb. Browns and 10-16” brooks. Occasional winterkill: best fishing in early summer. (Winter accessible by car.)
Rito Hondo Reservoir – 10,240 ft. 40a Surrounding by aspen groves and meadows. 1-3 lb. Stocked rainbows: 10-14” wild brook trout.
Spring Creek – Good fly fishing for 8-12” brooks in upper end. (Car/RV access with walk-in fishing.)
North Clear Creek – 10-14” rainbows and cutthroats, and 8-12” brooks. (Car/RV access with walk-in fishing.)
Seepage Lake(1) – 9,019 ft. 20a Fair for 1-6 lb. Cutthroats and rainbows and 12-24” brooks.
Continental Reservoir – 10,300 ft. 150a. Surrounded by spuce and aspen groves. Reservoir drained in 1988. Fishing expected to be good for stocked rainbow, cutthroat and brook by 1990. (Overnight camping prohibited)
Rio Grande – Fair for stocked rainbows and wild browns with fly, bait and lure. Special restrictions apply to different stretches of the river.
Love Lake – Fair bait and dry fly fishing for 8-12” brooks, browns, and rainbows. Shallow lake. Good fly fishing in creek and beaver ponds above lake.
High Mountain Lakes and Streams
(Difficult and seasonal access by foot or horse unless noted otherwise.)
Big Goose Lake – 2-4 lb. Cutthroats. Occasional winterkill.
Fisher Creek – Good fishing for cutthroats up to 17”, nice pools. Difficult access by horseback of foot.
Goose Creek – Good for cutthroats up to 17”, nice pools. Creek 15-20’ wide.
Ivy Creek – Fair for browns up to 16” and 8-12” brooks. Nice pools and undercut banks. Easy hike-in from Ivy Creek campground.
Trout Creek – Fair for rainbows to 14” and browns to 16”.
Trout Lake – Fair for fishing for 2-4 lb. Cutthroats.
Williams Lake – Fair for 2-4 lb. Cutthroats. Long difficult hike-in to west side of Divide.
Jumper Lake – Brooks average 12” and rainbows 1-3 lbs.
Ruby and Little Ruby Lake – 1-3 lb. Rainbows, 8-12” brooks.
Squaw Creek and Little Squaw Creek – Good fishing at upper end for 8-12” brooks and 10-16” cutthroats. Poor fishing at lower end for rainbows and browns up to 16”. High mountain meadow fly fishing creek 10-15’ wide with nice pools.
Weminuche Creek – Fair fishing at upper end for 8-12” brooks and cutthroats up to 16”. Poor fishing at lower end.
Ute Creek – Nine miles of creek fishing, good on upper end for cutthroats up to 16” and brooks up to 12”.
Ute Lakes – Fair for 1-4 lb. Rainbows and cutthroats. Twin Ute Lake is fair for 1-3 lb. Cutthroats. Middle Ute Lake and West Ute Lake are fair for 1-3 lb. Cutthroats.
Pole Creeks – Good fly fishing for 10-16” cutthroats.
West Lost Trail Creeks – Good fly fishing for cutthroats up to 16”. Poor fishing on lower stretch of Lost Trail Creek.
Upper Rio Grande (From headwaters to Rio Grande Reservoir) – Good fly fishing. Fiar for rainbows and browns up to 16”. Limited 4WD access.
Regan Lake – Very good in fall and early winter for 12-16” brooks. Occasional winterkill.
Clear Creek – Good fly fishing for 1-2 lb. Rainbows and browns.
Ghost Lake – Fair for 1-3 lb brooks and 1-6 lb. Rainbows.
Deep Creek – Good for 6-10” brooks.
Miners Creek – Fair for 10-16” cutthroats at upper end, poor fishing at lower end for 10-14” rainbows.
Rat Creek - Good fishing at upper end for 8-12” brooks.
West Willow Creek – Fair for 8-12” brooks at upper end.
East Willow Creek – Fair for 8-12” brooks at upper end.