SAN LUIS VALLEY — As summer ends there are still several activities to do in the San Juan Mountain Range which include more than site seeing the fall colors. The Gold Medal waters of the Rio Grande are a great place to start and there are several locations along the river to stop and drop a line for those who wish to fish from the shore. River fishing trips are also available through numerous river rafting companies based out of South Fork and Creede.
This time of year, the Rio Grande waters are running at lower depths now that the last of the winter runoff has completed from the higher tributaries and fishing along the banks of the river is best in the early morning or later evening hours. Local fish tend to be less hungry and sluggish during the warmer parts of the day but are extremely active when the water is at a cooler temperature. Anglers will have the best luck just as the sun rises above the San Juan and La Garita Mountain ranges, which is a sight to be seen during the fall months from now moving forward.
Just outside of South Fork is Beaver Creek Reservoir located along Forest Service Road 360 which is about two miles southwest of town heading up Wolf Creek Pass. The reservoir is an area favorite and has been stocked with Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon. Fall is an excellent time of year to fish at the reservoir either by boat or shore fishing as temperatures drop and the salmon spawn. The reservoir is very popular during the salmon snagging season and there is plenty to be had by all.
Tucked away just before Beaver Creek Reservoir on Forest Service Road 360, anglers would do well to visit Million Reservoir. This four-acre high alpine lake is about a quarter-mile walk from the main trailhead but is a great location for shore fishing for those seeking Rainbow Trout. The steep slopes surrounding the lake make it challenging to reach, but once a spot is located, hang on to your poles! The reservoir is surrounded by a rich forest that was once the site of the Million fire. The vegetation surrounding the lake is thick and provides excellent hiding locations for aquatic life and fish.
While traveling further up Wolf Creek Pass, anglers can turn on Forest Service Road 410 which is 11 miles outside of South Fork. This beautiful mountain reservoir is not only picturesque, but it is great for fishing. Big Meadows is stocked throughout the summer with Brook, Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout, some of which have grown to record size due to the cold-water habitat and depth of the lake. At just over 9,000 feet in elevation, this fishing destination tops the charts and seldom disappoints.
No matter what direction an angler chooses to go this fall, each location listed above will be abundant in fall foliage and offers anglers a chance to fish while enjoying autumn in all her glory. For more information about fishing location in and around the San Luis Valley, visit www.cpw.state.co.us.