As summer blooms in the West, many keen anglers head to mountain country.
We caught up with Colorado expert angler Jake Ballard of Duranglers Flies and Supplies for some sweet spots to fish at elevation. (Plus, we decided to throw in a few classic rivers around the Southwest.)
“In the high country it will be cutthroat and brook trout,” Ballard said. “On some of the bigger waters, rainbow and brown.”
1) Hermosa Creek
This easy access creek is the site of a recent trout restoration project.
“(It has) lots of public access and a great place for cutthroat trout,” according to Ballard.
2) Cascade Creek
“It’s a bit more challenging,” he said. “A steeper gradient. Lots of pocket water. Lots of brook trout up there.”
3) Lime Creek
“There’s two miles where the road that follows the creek, and those are great options.”
4) Pine River and Vallecito Creek
“The Pine is 3 miles of hiking over flat meadows, through private property to get to public (area),” he said. “Vallecito is 1 mile. Those are both high-mountain creek situations.”
5) Rio Chama, New Mexico
This remote river in northern New Mexico has been dubbed wild and undiscovered. Opportunities for trout abound as it flows from Colorado into the Land of Enchantment, and the fishing is met with scenery and wildlife as it passes through the enormous Chama River Canyon Wilderness.
6) Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona
This spring-fed creek that runs from Oak Creek Canyon to the Verde River is some of the best angling in Arizona. From the forested steep-and-narrow canyon north of Sedona to the red rock canyons through the city itself, the trout are plentiful.