"Anytime is a good time to go fishing, including winter. This colorful, spotted rainbow was hiding in the Uncompahgre River near Montrose until Joel Evans uncovered it, using a Newspaper Nymph drifted through a deep hole."
Sometimes you just need a close and quiet place to fish and relax for a few hours. It matters not the potential size or quantity of the catch, but rather that you can get there easily, enjoy some time with a fishing rod in your hand, before returning to the busy world.
south of Montrose could be just that respite you are looking for. A small, spring fed pond,
is stocked with rainbow trout, sunfish, bass, and catfish, providing a great mixture of fishing opportunity within view of the
San Juan Mountains
to the south. Don’t expect to catch a trophy here, although every once in awhile a worthy surprise comes along. More the size of a large pond than a lake, you can drive right up to the lake and can walk around its entire perimeter.
is a great place for kids. The banks are not steep, there is plenty of casting room, and the little guys have a fair chance of catching something, even if it is just a 4 inch sunfish. Kids tend to tire quickly, so getting there and back is not an all day adventure. Just on the southern edge of Montrose, its proximity to town means a short drive over and back from home or motel even if the kids are only up to a half-hour of entertainment.
Chipeta Lake State Wildlife Area is a public property, managed and stocked by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. There is no access fee to the lake. Standard fishing regulations allow bait fishing and one can keep their catch within the standard bag limits. Small non-motorized boats are allowed.
For the river fisherman, the
flows next to the lake and is accessible for a short distance within the state property boundary. Although the river distance is short, there are several good runs and holes to test your moving water skills. Brown trout to 12 inches with an occasional rainbow can be expected.
is located south of Montrose near the
. Head south on U.S. Highway 550 less than 1 mile from the southern end of town. Turn right on Chipeta Drive at the museum, continuing past the museum on Chipeta Drive approximately one-half mile to the state wildlife area and lake.
General Fishing Information
Montrose and the nearby mountains offer some of the finest trout fishing anywhere. From intimate beaver ponds and spring fed creeks to large reservoirs and rivers, there is opportunity for all ages and abilities.
Trout are the predominant species chased by fisherman in
. Brown and rainbow trout are the most common in low to mid-elevation rivers and streams. Many high-country creeks have brook trout. Cutthroat trout are the only trout native to
and are considered a prize to catch. Some opportunities exist for warmwater fish in lower elevation waters, particularly ponds
The season is open year round for most species. The prime time to fish is summer and fall when streams are clear and low and lakes and reservoirs are warm and boatable. Also, spring before runoff can be excellent as well as winter ice-fishing on frozen reservoirs.
Many specific waters have protective restrictions on catch methods such as flies or lures only, as well as bag limits such as catch-and-release only. For waters without other restrictions, the general statewide limit for trout is a daily bag limit of 4 and a possession limit of 8. Detail regulations are in the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s fishing brochure available at the CDOW or sporting goods stores. In Montrose, visit the CDOW office at 2300 S. Townsend or call 970-252-6000.
A fishing license is required for people 16 and older. License costs are $9 for a one-day license for both
resident and non-resident, or $21 for a five-day license for non-residents only. Annual licenses are $26 for a
resident or $56 for a non-resident. A second rod stamp is $5.
Article by: Joel Evans, a Financial Advisor with EdwardJones in Montrose, Colorado.
Additional Fishing Day Trips:
River/Silver Jack Reservoir