We asked our resident Fly Fishing expert and Galles Properties Broker, Stan Zuege, for some tips on fishing in Pagosa Springs and surrounding areas.
“Fishun’ is good here! Variety is the key to Pagosa Springs area fishing.
Pagosa is home to two major drainages, the San Juan and the Piedra. Both begin as small feeder streams in the high country and course their way down to Navajo Lake. The upper streams boast Cutthroat and Brook Trout with more and more Rainbows and Brown Trout as the rivers drop in elevation.
Navajo Lake holds cold and warm water species like Kokanee Salmon, Lake Trout, Bass, Pike, and Trout. Echo Lake also holds Trout and Bass, in fact Colorado’s state record Largemouth Bass came out of Echo Lake. Back in the high country, there are many lakes that you can drive or hike to that offer trout from the bank or a float tube.
Our rivers offer small, tight pocket water fishing down to deep holes and runs that hold large Rainbow and Brown trout you can fish for on dry flies, streamers or nymphs. With all these options and the Rio Grande and Animas barely an hour away, you can have any type of fishing you desire when fishing in Pagosa Springs.”
This is a 118 acre State Wildlife Area and is great for catching rainbow trout and large yellow perch. Ice fishing success greatly depends on using worm tipped jigs. The state record largemouth bass was caught here in 1997, measuring 22.5 inches long and weighing 11 pounds, 6 ounces.
Drive Fourmile Road North out of Pagosa Springs until the road ends. From there it’s about 7 miles up to the first lower Fourmile Lake. The second higher lake is a half-mile further up the trail. This is a difficult and strenuous hike, but a determined angler will be rewarded with stunning views and gorgeous mountain lakes that contain cutthroat trout just waiting to be caught.
Harris Lake & Buckless Lake
To reach these beautiful mountain lakes take US Highway 84 south for about 20 miles from Pagosa Springs until you reach Buckless Lake Road heading east. This will take you to the parking area where you can hike half a mile to Buckless Lake or a mile and a half to Harris Lake. These lakes contain some very catchable rainbow trout.
To get to Opal Lake head south on U.S. Highway 84 from Pagosa Springs for about 8 miles to Blanco Basin Road. Head east on Blanco Basin Road until you reach Castle Creek Road which takes you across the Rio Blanco. At the parking lot, Opal Lake is a beautiful 2-mile hike from the parking lot. Opal lake, the beaver ponds, and the stream are great for brook trout.
Turkey Creek Lake
To get to Turkey Creek lake, take US Highway 160 north 7 miles out of Pagosa Springs to Jackson Mountain Road. 5 miles west on Jackson Mountain Road is a parking lot where you can park and follow Turkey Creek about 9 miles up to Turkey Creek Lake. The hike delivers in the form of a breathtaking mountain lake that is home to brook, cutthroat, and rainbow trout.
Williams Creek Reservoir
Located 25 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs on Piedra Road (County Road 600). This road starts out paved then turns into a dirt road. Along the way to Williams Creek Reservoir, the road crosses over a handful of tributaries to the Piedra River that could be taken advantage of by a perceptive fisherman. (see more info on the Piedra River below). Williams Creek Reservoir is a 508-acre mountain lake surrounded by mountains and forest. The reservoir contains excellent opportunities to catch brook and rainbow trout as well as Kokanee salmon. Fishing from motorboats, canoes, float tubes and the bank is permitted (though whitewater wakeboarding is not permitted).* During the winter months, Williams Creek Reservoir is typically covered with 9 inches of ice and can provide ice fishermen success with jigs baited with meal-worms. *This is a State Wildlife Area, which requires a Habitat Stamp for persons age 19-64.
No matter your preference, you will love the many opportunities fishing in Pagosa Springs has to offer! Best-kept secret in Colorado!