Discover the Best of Pagosa: Fishing

Why choose Pagosa Springs?
  • The World's deepest geothermal hot springs feeds over 30 pools of varying temperatures in downtown Pagosa between three facilities
  • San Juan River through downtown features early season rafting, summer tubing, incredible fishing year round
  • Surrounded by 3 million acres of national forest and wilderness areas


Best Fishing Areas in Pagosa Springs

Pagosa Springs has some of the best fishing in Colorado, offering fisherman (and women) a variety of streams, rivers and mountain lakes to drop a line. Below is a long list of favorite fishing areas (in no particular order).

San Juan River in Downtown Pagosa Springs

The downtown stretch of the San Juan River offers some of the best fishing in the area. The river is stocked multiple times each summer, providing incredible trout fishing. Over the last few years, the town has been adding river enhancements that provide additional fish habitat areas. The 1.5 mile stretch in the downtown area will turn all fishermen into kids again - especially after they've pulled out the largest trout of their lives!

Echo Lake

Is stocked with Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Green Sunfish, Crappie and Channel Catfish. Access is easy, four miles from Pagosa Springs on U.S. Highway 84.

Opal Lake

Good brook trout fishing. The beaver ponds and stream below the lake also offer excellent fishing. To reach Opal Lake, go south out of Pagosa Springs on Highway 84 approximately eight miles to Blanco Basin Road. Follow east to Castle Creek Road. Turn right across the Blanco River and follow the road two miles to a parking area identified by a sign denoting the trailhead. The lake is a short two-mile hike from the trailhead.

Fourmile Lakes & Creek

Both lower and upper lakes have cutthroat trout fishing. Take Fourmile Road north from downtown until the road ends. Hike six to seven miles on the trail visible from road’s end to lower lake. Second lake is another half-mile walk. Fourmile Falls can be seen about three miles in–very scenic. The altitude increases rapidly after the falls, be prepared for a strenuous hike to a beautiful lake. Fourmile Creek access is the same as Fourmile Lakes. The creek begins near the trailhead. Good brook and cutthroat trout fishing after high water has dropped (about mid-June).

West Fork of the San Juan River

Good rainbow trout fishing. Cutthroat trout fishing available from trail head at end of West Fork Road upstream. Easy access – take U.S. Highway 160 east out of Pagosa Springs approximately 17 miles to the West Fork Road; turn left. Drive on forest road for about three miles to the trailhead. Hike upstream from trailhead at end of the road for better fishing.

East Fork of the San Juan River

From town start by traveling ten miles NE on Hwy 160.  Take a right at the gravel road signed: “Forest Service Access Road East Fork of the San Juan.”  The route goes through the East Fork Canyon and passes some dramatic “beehive” rock formations on the left. Excellent rainbow and brown trout fishing on lower reaches; brook and cutthroat trout at higher elevations.

Buckles and Harris Lakes

Good rainbow trout fishing. To reach the lakes, take U.S. Highway 84 south about 20 miles to Buckles Lake Road; turn left. Follow this road, which leads to a parking area and trailhead, then hike in a half mile to Buckles Lake, another mile to Harris Lake. Both lakes offer nice fishing and great camping locations.

Piedra River

Good trout stream (browns, rainbows, cutthroats and some brook trout). It’s the stretch of the Piedra River from the lower Piedra Campground upstream to Sand Creek. It can only be fished with artificial flies and lures with a two trout bag limit. To get there, head west about 22 miles on Hwy 160, where the river crosses under the highway. Turn right just before the bridge.

Williams Creek Reservoir

Excellent fishing for rainbow and brook trout, also kokanee salmon. Salmon are best taken with artificial lures and worms. In the vicinity of Williams Creek Reservoir are four U.S. Forest Service campgrounds. Mountain views are tremendous. To get there, follow Piedra Road north about 24 miles.

Turkey Creek Lake & Creek

Turkey Creek Lake has good brook, cutthroat and rainbow trout fishing. To get there, head east on U.S. Highway 160 approximately seven miles, turn left on Jackson Mountain Road and drive five miles to parking lot. Follow the trailhead about nine miles to Turkey Creek Lake. Turkey Creek access is the same as Turkey Creek Lake. Turkey Creek is about three miles in on the trail to Turkey Creek Lake.

Learn More

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