Uncompahgre National Forest


There are thousands of miles of streams and as many acres of lakes and ponds on the Uncompahgre. Together they teem with enough fish to satisfy any angler. Sixteen-inch rainbow trout and 12-inch cutthroat trout are commonly reported catches here; other cold-water sport fish waiting to be hooked include brown trout, brook trout, kokanee salmon, and lake trout. Also found in area waters are Northern pike, yellow perch, catfish, bass, and bluegill. The best fishing on the Forest is after the spring run-off ebbs, usually by late June or early July.

One of the best ways to experience fishing in the Uncompahgre is to venture into the backcountry, rod in hand, in search of crisp alpine streams and secluded beaver ponds. The upper reaches of many streams see less use than the more accessible areas of the Forest, but are still inhabited by the stocks the Colorado Division of Wildlife introduces.

There are choice fishing spots throughout the Uncompahgre National Forest, but the major destinations lie in the vicinity of Mt. Sneffels, in the Cimarron Area, and in the area around Telluride.

Mount Sneffels Area

The Blue Lakes comprise most of the water you'll find in the tundra environment of the Mount Sneffels Wilderness. Standing in the shadow of Mount Sneffels itself, you'll fish for native trout, some of which are known to be very large and very temperamental.

You can reach all three lakes via Blue Lakes Trail, starting from either the East Dallas Trailhead or Yankee Boy Basin over Blue Lakes Pass. Once there, you'll be above the timberline, and can choose from Lower, Middle, or Upper Blue Lake. Out of the three, Lower Blue Lake (the largest) is generally the easiest place to hook a fish. Bank fishing is generally possible at all three lakes.

The major stream in the area is the East Dallas Creek, which runs from the Blue Lakes to the National Forest boundary in East Dallas.

Access: Follow Colorado Highway 62 west from Ridgway 4 miles. Paralleling East Dallas Road and Blue Lakes Trail, the upper two miles of the creek are fast and difficult to fish, with heavy spruce along the banks. After that, the lower one mile of the stream that meanders through a meadow is easy to fish and a good place for kids and beginners. Brook trout is common in these waters. To reach East Dallas Creek, take East Dallas Road about 6 miles to the National Forest and follow the signs.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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