Hot Winter Fisheries

Culebra Creek, Colorado

Location: Five miles south of town of San Luis in southern Colorado. Anglers will want to base operations out of Taos, just an hour and a half away.

Species: Rainbow, brook, cutthroat and brown trout — most of them large.

Equipment: 8- to 9-foot rod for 4- to 6-weight line. Hip waders are ideal.

Notes: Private spring creek-like tailwater below Sanchez Reservoir. The Culebra is one of the best angling opportunities in the southwest for big trout. You must have a guide to fish the river (although there is a short, frequently poached public section). The river is not for beginners since these lunkers are leader-shy, have plenty of food to eat and the water is invisibly clear. In the valley, with snow on the surrounding peaks, the valley temperature is relatively warm.

Contact: Los Rios Anglers in Taos (505-758-2798), Reel Life in Albuquerque (505-268-1693) for guide services. Guide trips on the Culebra begin at $250 for one person, $300 for two persons. Some guides add in a $60 rod fee.


Never heard of it, you say? This tailwater holds four species of trout, all of them on the hefty side: rainbows, browns, cutthroats and brookies.

Anglers can catch trout in the 2 to 5 pound range with a legitimate shot at trout measuring in at 20 inches and over. The Culebra (means which"snake" in Spanish) meanders through a scenic, agricultural valley, with long, clear glides, deep bend pools and shallow gravel bars.

You won't find Culebra Creek in any of the fishing guidebooks. Those who fish it don't generally talk about it, preferring to keep this little secret a secret. In places, the river turns and snakes through the valley, ideal for wide-open casting.

In these open glides and bend pools, the fish can see you so you'll have to stalk and soft-toss casts right over their feeding lanes. But in other spots, the riverbanks are brushy and require tight, accurate casts. And did I mention these big trout are a tad finicky? A true trophy trout hunter's theme park.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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