The upper Arkansas River winds through many towns and areas of Colorado from Leadville to Canon City, prime fishing right at your doorstep, depending on where you’re staying. Just be careful to stay on public land. About 70 miles of the upper river is accessible via walk-in. There are many local guide shops in the area more than willing to help you bait your hook, tie your fly, answer any questions, and get you aboard a raft to fish the remainder of the river not accessible via foot. You can only use artificial lures and flies to try and nab a wild brown trout, and the bag limits vary depending on where you are, ranging from four of any size to one 12 inches or smaller.
If the river is a little too fast-paced for you, try fishing one of the many lakes in the area. Fish are jumping every morning at Ptarmigan Lake and the hike up is beautiful and can be either long or short depending on which direction you hike in from. Lost Lake is a short, granted steep hike, but I don’t think there’s been a time that I’ve been there that someone hasn’t caught a fish. Taylor Reservoir has great pike fishing, and hosts a pike derby every year in June. The local marina offers boat and fishing pole rentals if you need gear. Twin Lakes Reservoirs offers great trout fishing. The limit for lake trout though is one, and if it’s 22-34 inches long you can’t keep it.
So, no matter your fishing flavor, get out here and try your hand at catching one, and if, at the end of the day, you haven’t caught supper, dine in one of our local restaurants and tell the locals an amazing fish tale. Trust me, we live to overhear those, it’s better than cable.
*Just be prepared for some mandatory Zebra Mussel inspections.