SOUTH FORK— It is no secret that South Fork is home to some of the best fishing in the Valley, as the town is surrounded by the gold medal waters of the Rio Grande and south branch of the Rio Grande River and serves as a gateway to some of the best reservoirs in the San Juan Mountains.
Last spring, anglers around the area waited with baited (pun intended) breath to see how the season would turn out for aquatic life in lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams. The winter months yielded little to no precipitation and water levels across the state were at an all-time low. Even with the waters of the Rio Grande and surrounding fishing areas receding, the season ended up being better than expected.
Now this year, snowpack in the San Juan and surrounding mountain ranges at an all-time record high, anglers are changing their tune and just about dancing with anticipation for the coming year. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officials, the season is expected to be one of the best with rising fish populations and increased stocking schedules.
Over the past two years, CPW has worked to fill the Beaver Creek Reservoir with several different types of fish including fingerlings that will now be full grown and ready to catch. The same goes for other reservoirs like Big Meadows, Million Reservoir and Tucker Ponds. Typical species that can be found in these areas include Brown Trout, Kokanee Salmon, Rainbow Trout and even Cutthroat Trout high breeds.
Last season, CPW officials warned anglers about fishing during the warmer parts of the day, but that will not be the case this year, as water levels are expected to be well above average which in turn keeps temperatures down. Rivers and tributaries will be high this time of year and caution should be used by anyone out for a fishing adventure. CPW suggests looking for tailwaters, where streams run into lakes or reservoirs for an option instead of rivers during runoff.
Officials also ask that anglers keep an eye on areas and report any debris built up that may cause an issue to local law enforcement or the local CPW office at 719-587-6902. More information and fishing reports for the season are available at www.cpw.state.co.us
Coming up at the beginning of June will be the annual South Fork Youth Fishing Clinic. The event is an area favorite and children of all ages come out to learn fishing fundamentals, rules and regulations and try their hand at catching their limit at Tucker Ponds.
The event is co-sponsored by CPW and the Town of South Fork and will take place this year on June 15 during Father’s Day weekend. The event is a great chance to come out with the family and let the younger members enjoy a day of learning, fun activities and of course, fishing. For more information about this event, please visit www.southfork.org.