From high-alpine lakes to rippling creeks and the nearby Arkansas River, a visit to Custer County offers anglers of all abilities a chance to fish among some of Colorado’s most spectacular scenery.
You don’t have to wander far from Westcliffe and Silver Cliff to find unique locations where you can enjoy the region’s diverse selection of trout, muskie and bass.
Drive to DeWeese Reservoir or Lake Isabel to take your non-motorized boat out for a day of fishing. Or hike into the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, where you’ll find dozens of high-altitude lakes and streams, many with native trout. Most lakes require hiking 1 to 12 miles and include Macey, Stout Creek, Lily, Hermit, Venable and Brush Creek lakes, among others. During Custer County’s warmer months, excellent access to the High Country offers anglers unparalleled beauty and incredible insect hatches.
The Gold Medal trout waters of the Arkansas River are just 30 minutes north of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, via CO 69 North to Texas Creek—or you can branch left on Fremont County Road 1A, which leads to Cotopaxi.
DeWeese Reservoir controls the flow in lower Grape Creek, which drains much of the Wet Mountain Valley toward the Arkansas River. It’s best fished in the spring, early summer and fall. Lake DeWeese Road crosses the creek about a mile below the dam for the reservoir. You can fish between that bridge and the dam. And you’ll find good access about 20 miles from Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, via BLM Access Road 6227, off mostly unpaved Oak Creek Grade. The route to and along most of the access road is fine for any car, but you’ll need a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle for the last couple of miles—or when the road gets tricky, you can park and hike to the creek.
Whether you’re looking for a fun, relaxing place to take the family, for a lonely mountain stream, for a high-alpine lake or for big-water casting on the fabled Arkansas, you’ll find the fishing you want within a short drive of the Wet Mountain Valley.