Trout Fishing in Lake County
Fishing in Colorado High CountryWhen Spring breaks and the ice lefts off the lakes it’s time to go fishing. Lake County is one of the premier places in Colorado to fish for trout with 2 large reservoirs, Turquoise and Twin Lakes and The Arkansas River. There are also countless alpine lakes, small streams and beaver ponds located in the High Country. Both the lakes offer easy access for spin casting from the banks and boat launches for trolling deeper waters. Each lake has a day use charged of $6 and Colorado State fishing licenses are required. In state will run a $26.00 a year and out of state licenses cost are $21.00 for 5 days and you can buy them in Leadville at Colorado Fly Fishing Guides. The Arkansas River holds 102 miles of the state’s 300+ miles of Gold Metal Trout fishing and its headwaters is out of Leadville. The second oldest National Fish Hatcher is located in Leadville and it is an excellent place to start children learning about the different species of trout. They always have handouts for the kids and they can feed the fish too.
Three Excellent Fishing LocationsLocated 5 minutes northeast of the town of Leadville, is Turquoise Lake. There are a variety of trout such as Brown, Rainbow, and Lake Trout or Mackinaw. There are 2 boat launches, The Matchless provides one of two boat ramps for Turquoise Lake and is located on the south-eastern shoreline, and the Butcher Boy picnic area is located at the far western end of Turquoise Lake, adjacent to May Queen Campground. Strict state requirements are enforce on Boats for invasive aquatic mussels, fishing licenses, and bag limits. You can use the Turquoise Lake Nature Trail from this site to the Sugar Loafin Dam for easy access fishing from the bank of the northern shoreline.
A second great place to fish is the Twin Lakes area. From Leadville travel south on U.S. Hwy 24 to the junction of Colorado Highway 82. Travel west approximately 4 miles to Lake County Road 24. Turn left before you reach the visitor center. This route takes you to the Big Mac Fishing Site and there are numerous other awesome sites around the lakes . The standard limit of fish allowed is: 8 trout; 1 mackinaw, under 22 or over 34 inches. They stocked rainbow trout and there are other Native species in the lake that include brook, brown, cutthroat and a few kokanee salmon.
Last but not least is the 102 miles of the Arkansas River which starts in Leadville and run along the 14ers and is considered some of the best trout fishing in the state. In fact it is designated as Gold Medal Waters. Fly fishing for Brown and rainbow trout can be very rewarding and they are plentiful. The Rainbow trout are stocked by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Each fish has its own personality. Rainbows are known for breaking the top of the surface and Browns run for the deep areas. Public Access is easy but may cross private lands. Please be respectful and leave no trace. Trophy size trout are available but the average trout size is around 10”-12”. In this section most of this water runs clear and cold. It’s easy to maneuver in and the trout have holes, runs, and rocks to hide and strike.
Types of Angling
Each location in and around the Arkansas valley has a different techniques or types of Angling that can be used to bag that special catch. There is spin casting from the banks, fly fishing the rivers and streams, trolling the deep lakes, and for the winter hardy fisherman, ice fishing. In the high Alpine lakes spin casting and fly fishing can work well, even in the same day. Of course there are other choices or versions like bottom fishing, gigging, tubing or floating which can be effective under certain circumstances.
Timing is Everything
Serious Anglers understand that Mother Nature plays a large role in their success. Water temperature not only controls the deep of fish, it also triggers the hatches and the food that trout feed on. Fish become more active as Low and High pressure systems move through the area. An approaching low pressure system has a tendency to trigger feeding and the center of a high pressure system can completely shut it down. Water speeds in rivers and streams can induce feeding when the runoff hits the right pace and can shut it down when they are too low or too fast. Even the full moon plays a role when the fish feed at night leaving a lack luster daytime outing. The best way to prepare is to consult the local experts for the best fishing condition in the different bodies of water during different time of year. Anglers that stay with Cielo Vista Vacation Properties and experts agree that Spring and Fall can be your most productive seasons in the high altitude of the Rocky Mountains and the Arkansas Valley. Leadville and Lake County has an outstanding group of trout fishing support business and services in the Rockies.
A list of Experts
Leadville is blessed with great scenic areas to fish for all species of trout and the experts to help you improve on your productivity. One of the best places to start, especially if you are a novice is the Leadville National Fish Hatchery. There is no better interactive way to learn all the trout species, their life cycle, and stocking distribution. It’s perfect for introducing children to fishing. It is located a few miles south west of Leadville of highway 24, You can call ahead. 1-(719) 486-0189 to find out more information on hours of operation and special programs and events or go to their website, http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/fisheries/leadville.php.
Another Great place for trout fishing information is the Leadville Ranger District. It is located on Highway 24 on the right hand side of the road as you leave south out of town. They have a wealth of information about regulations, locations, direction, and maps. And it’s all free literature. You can come in and speak with rangers about what to expect or read about it on their website, http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/psicc/recreation/fishing.
Leadville also has support services, businesses, and outfitters that can provide everything you need to be a successful during a fishing trip to Leadville including private rental vacation homes. The Local experts in town are Colorado Fly Fishing Guides. One of the premiere place for tackle, advice, and outfitting services. The stay on top of all the current conditions and their prices are reasonable. Feel free to call, 1- 866 908 7547, while considering your fishing vacation with Cielo Vista Vacation Properties in Leadville. Those guys can help you successfully plan for trout fishing in the Rocky Mountains. You can also go to their website, www.coloradoflyfishingguides.com
If your plan includes fishing further down the Arkansas River and need advice or tackle give
Ark Angler a call. They offer a host of unique fishing trips, outfitter services, excellent fishing tips and they have 2 locations near the Arkansas River. One is in Salida, 7500 W. Highway 50,1- 719-539-4223 -Saturday 8:00-6:00, Sunday 8:00-5:00. The other is in Buena Vista located at 517 S. Highway 24 1-719-395-1796. You can also go on-line to www.arkanglers.com.