Colorado River Cutthroat Trout

Of Colorado’s 22 million acres of public land, the San Juan area (San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests) make up about 3 million acres. Hiking, fishing, camping and biking opportunities are immense. One could spend a lifetime exploring this area and still not see it all.

Colorado san juan mountains scenery

A scenic view of the San Juan Mountains near Dolores Colorado

 

The following are places I have visited in the area:

 

Piedra River:

This hike is easily accessible. From Pagosa Springs head north on highway US-160 north to Piedra Rd. Turn Right onto Piedra Rd go about 16 miles and park here. The further you hike in the better the fishing gets. For more information contact Let it Fly.

 

Rio de los Pinos:

This place is very special. The population of native Rio Grande Cutthroats is isolated from other fish as a waterfall acts as a natural barrier. To get there navigate to Truijillo Meadows Reservoir.

Take the forest road at the end of the reservoir northwest up stream. The road is a bit rough and requires 4 wheel drive. The road dead ends where there is some good primitive car camping spots. Hike the trail up stream, for a few miles. When you see the waterfall the cutthroat population lives above.

The following lakes are rated good or great lakes to catch fish and are most likely to yield fantastic hiking and camping:

Crater Lake

Quartz Lake

Turkey Creek Lake

Upper Four Mile Lake

Fish Lake

Williams Creek Reservoir State Wildlife Area

Emerald Lake

Dollar Lake

Flint Lakes

Divide Granite and Elk Lakes

Needle Mountains Lakes

Verde Lakes

Highland Mary Lakes

Lost Lake

Garfield Lakes

 

For more information visit the Colorado Fishing Atlas or call Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Customer Service: 303-297-1192

Or contact local fly shops:

The San Juan Angler: 970-382-9978

Rio Grand Angler: 719-658-2955

Conejos River Anglers: 719-376-5660

 

About the author

Nick Clement is a creative professional focused on visual media and motion picture. He is based out of Denver, Colorado

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