SAN LUIS VALLEY— Fishing is free this weekend and for those who live in southwest Colorado there are literally hundreds of places to drop a worm, cast a spinner or launch a fly.
The free-fishing weekend, sponsored by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, gives everyone a chance to get out on lakes, reservoirs and rivers to renew their love for the sport.
“Your fishin’ is our mission,” said John Alves, senior aquatic biologist for CPW’s Southwest Region. “Due to the warm weather we’ve stocked a lot of fish earlier than usual this year, and we’re hearing reports that fishing has been really good.”
And after fishing for a few hours, most locations offer great places for a hike, bird watching and picnicking. Take along a pair of binoculars; there are always a lot of birds and waterfowl near rivers and reservoirs.
Here are some family-friendly locations in the San Luis Valley to fish from the bank for trout and warm-water species such as crappie. Waters throughout the region have been stocked.
Big Meadows Reservoir, located just west of U.S. Highway 160 on U.S. Forest Service Road 410 in the Rio Grande National Forest, about five miles east of Wolf Creek Pass.
Beaver Creek Reservoir: located About 10 miles south of the town of South Fork in the Rio Grande National Forest on U.S. Forest Service Road 360.
Road Canyon Reservoir: located about 20 miles west of Creede, along U.S. Forest Road 620 in the Rio Grande National Forest.
For anglers who prefer fly fishing, most mountain streams in the southwest corner of the state are running clear and fish will be rising to dry flies. For those who like to hike, many high mountain lakes are free of ice
Anglers are reminded that fire restrictions are in place throughout southwest Colorado, so campfires are prohibited outside of developed campgrounds. Also be careful with cook stoves, barbecue grills, and stub out cigarettes and dispose of the butts in containers. Don’t throw butts out the windows of cars or drop them the ground.
This is also the time of year when deer fawns and elk calves are being born. If you see a young animal lying by itself do not approach it our touch it. The animal hasn’t been abandoned; its mother has just moved off to forage. Young animals carry no scent, so they do not attract predators.
To learn more about Colorado’s aquatic resources and fishing spots, got to the CPW web site at: http://cpw.state.co.us/, and click on the “Things to do” tab.