Great reservoir fishing abounds in southwest Colorado

VALLEY — Fishermen don’t need a boat to fish any of the dozens of reservoirs in southwest Colorado which are stocked throughout the summer. Most reservoirs receive a good supply of rainbow trout and several lakes also offer a menu of warm-water fish.

“We have a big variety of fishing opportunities in this area of Colorado that anglers should check out,” said John Alves, senior aquatic biologist for CPW’s Southwest Region.

CPW wildlife managers are encouraging more anglers to try their luck at reservoirs this year because many of Southwest Colorado’s rivers are flowing low and water temperatures are much higher than normal. Those conditions can be stressful for wild trout. When the water in rivers and streams nudges up above 70 degrees, anglers are asked to stop fishing for the day.

But in reservoirs there is little concern about water temperature, Alves explained. If the water is too warm for fish, they can just go deeper. Also, anglers who catch fish in reservoirs can keep them and enjoy them in a good meal, Alves said.

“A lot of stream anglers practice catch-and-release, but that’s not necessary in many of Colorado’s reservoirs. Often, trout stocked in reservoirs are raised in a hatchery to a ‘catchable’ size. We want people to catch them and eat them.”

While rainbow trout are stocked in most reservoirs in Southwest Colorado there are also unique fishing opportunities.

On the west side of the San Luis Valley, Beaver Creek Reservoir was recently expanded and provides lots of elbow room for anglers. Big Meadows Reservoir is scenic, stocked with rainbow trout and has naturally reproducing brook trout.

Anglers who still crave river fishing should plan to fish early in the day when water is cool. Anglers can also hike to streams in the high country where water temperature probably won’t be an issue.

Anglers wanting to explore what Southwest Colorado offers can find more information using CPW’s fishing atlas. Anglers can find the atlas and much more online at CPW’s fishing page.

“This will be a good year for anglers to try some new waters throughout the state,” Alves said.

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