Top Ten Hidden Trout Fisheries

Rio Costilla, New Mexico
  |  Gorp.com

Anglers looking for incredible panoramic vistas of ancient volcanoes, pristine meadow streams and wild trout should look no further. While everyone else is standing shoulder to shoulder on the San Juan, Big Hole or Green Rivers, you could be controlling a couple of miles of this stream, fishing for native Rio Grande cutthroats. And you can even take a leisurely lunch and not feel as though you'll lose your stretch. The isolated Rio Costilla runs for miles through a wide valley, curving back and forth through the caldera. The waters are clear and shallow, alternating between long flat stretches where the cutts hide under deep cut banks, and foamy deep, bend pools where the big trout lie in wait. The roads in are long and rough, preventing most anglers from making the trip. With its low-slung green mountains and wide-open valleys, this picture postcard will remind you of Yellowstone Country. But the Rio Costilla is a special stream that simply cannot take the pounding of other streams—the trout and riparian habitat are too fragile. The river opens in early July to protect the spawning cutthroat and stays open until mid December.


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