Grand Mesa sits at an elevation of 10,000 feet and is the largest flat-top mountain in the world. The Ute Indian Tribes called it the “Home of the Departed Spirits” and brought hostages there after the 1879 Meeker Massacre. Grand Mesa sits almost entirely within the Grand Mesa National Forest which was established in 1892 by President Harrison; though at that time it was called the Battlement Mesa Forest Reserve.
Overview of Grand Mesa National Forest
Grand Mesa National Park offers over 200 lakes and reservoirs, not to mention clear mountain streams full of brook and rainbow trout. On the south-facing slope of Grand Mesa 18 lakes, all within walking distance of each other, dot the area. They can be viewed from the Land O’ Lakes overlook that is positioned above Island Lake. There is a visitor center which includes exhibits, a bookstore, a High-Altitude Native Garden and Forest Service staff ready to answer any question.
On the northern slopes of Grand Mesa, Mesa Lakes is surrounded by glorious stands of aspen and evergreen. There is an extensive trail system; some of the lakes are accessible for boating. East of the Mesa lakes, Cottonwood Lakes offers backcountry fishing and camping.
Lake Fishing Offers Rainbow Trout, Brook and Cutthroat
The Colorado Division of Wildlife actively stocks the lakes and streams of Grand Mesa, primarily with rainboCredit: Photo by Cheryl Weldonw trout; however many of the lakes and streams hold wild trout populations as well. In some of the lakes, streams, and beaver ponds fishermen will also find brooks and cutthroats. Some of the fishing areas are easily accessible from roads; most lakes allow boats, but not all allow motorized boats; other lakes are in the back country and require hikes of varying distance. Lakes include:
- Carson Lake- at 10,000 feet elevation it has brook trout up to 12 inches, rainbow trout and 12-inch cutthroat.
- Island Lake – considered a good trolling and fly lake for rainbow and brook trout. They can get up to 18 inches but average about 12 inches.
- Cobett Lake - considered fair to good fishing for 10-inch rainbow. Fishermen have better results with bait at this lake.
- Deep Yard Lake – considered good for rainbow trout from 8-16 inches.
- Baron Lake - considered good for rainbow and brook trout from 10 to 12 inches.
- Eggleston Lake – is rated good for 10-12 inch rainbow trout.
- Upper Eggleston Lake – fishermen can catch cutthroat and brook up to 16 inches and rainbow trout from 12-13 inches.
- Butts Lake – this lake has 10-12 inch cutthroat. Credit: photo by Cheryl Weldon
Pack the fishing gear and travel along Highway 65 up into the beautiful Colorado Mountains. Stop off at the nearly 100 year old Alexander Lodge or enjoy a great campsite. Tie a Caddis made of hackle with a clinch knot around a hook and deftly throw out the line to softly tickle the lake or stream surface. It won’t be long before a quick-darting, hard-fighting trout will test fishermen skills.
www.gorp.com (accessed May 7, 2010)
The copyright of the article “Grand Mesa National Forest is Great Place for Trout Fishing” is owned by Cheryl Weldon and permission to republish in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.