SAN LUIS VALLEY — Though it is hard to believe, winter in the San Luis Valley is slowly coming to an end and with that comes spring fishing. The Gold Medal water of the Rio Grande river is reason enough to bring people to the Valley and this year is projected to be an excellent year for fishing.
With warmer days and nights, the past week, ice around the west end of the Valley has been giving up its hold on the Rio Grande and open waters can be seen all along the winding path of the river. Even reservoirs such as Beaver Creek and Big Meadows are beginning to taste spring’s sweet embrace and the ice is beginning to thin.
Though this means that summer fishing is just around the corner, it also means that ice anglers need to be cautious when heading out. This time of the year makes it difficult to navigate safely on the ice when out for a day of epic fishing. Be sure to look for open water, thin ice and be prepared for adverse weather conditions that can and will change at a moment’s notice.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Aquatic Biologist Estevan Vigil precipitation reports so far this year show signs that the coming summer will offer some great fishing opportunities.
“So far, this are looking pretty good for the coming year and fishing should be pretty good,” Vigil said. “Of course, things can change, and we could end up not getting the moisture we need but as of February, things are looking great.”
Vigil stated that his stocking schedule will begin sometime in late spring, early summer and will consist of 10-inch rainbow trout. The schedule for the west end of the San Luis Valley will remain pretty much the same as previous years and will begin around May.
Big Meadows reservoir will be stalked every two weeks beginning around May 15. This is one of the area’s favorite locations for anglers of any experience. It is located on Forest Service Road 410 just outside of South Fork along Highway 160 and Wolf Creek Pass. This reservoir is easily accessible, and anglers can fish offshore or by boat.
Beaver Creek will also be stocked every two weeks beginning in mid-May and is located on County Road 360 about 10 miles from South Fork. This reservoir is also easily accessible and is a great location to snag salmon.
On the way to Beaver Creek, anglers can veer off County Road 360 toward Millions Reservoir and find a quiet, small lake that is stocked beginning in June and continuing every two weeks until late fall. This location is great for small rainbow trout and is fairly easy to access. This lake is great for a small raft or canoe, but shore fishing is best. Anglers must park in the parking lot and walk about a third of a mile to reach the lake.
Tucker Ponds will be stocked beginning in July, right around the time that South Fork Visitor Center and CPW host their annual Youth Fishing Clinic. The ponds are located on Pass Creek Road that is about 20 miles up Wolf Creek Pass. These ponds offer the perfect location for little anglers wanting to learn the fundamentals of fishing.
With spring just around the corner, it is never too soon to start planning for the summer fishing trip. For more information, to purchase fishing licenses or to find stocking reports for all Colorado fishing locations visit www.cpw.state.co.us and click on the link for fishing information.