Chaffee County’s high alpine lakes feature spin or fly fishing along with incredible mountain views. For the best alpine fishing, head to high mountain lakes and streams that are filled with brown, brook, rainbow and cutthroat. Those who want to get away from it all and hike into the wild have more lakes and creeks than they’ll know what to do with. Get on up there and meet your new friends: all the brown, brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout you can handle. If you want to stay in town, choose nearby Frantz Lake in Salida, or Buena Vista Town Lake in McPhelemy Park. Both make for a relaxing day of fishing and casting with the family.
Driving to Alpine Lakes
Some lakes, like Cottonwood Lake or O’Haver Lake, are accessible by car, and even more can be found with a little hiking effort. If you want to stay in town, choose nearby Frantz Lake in Salida or Buena Vista Town Lake in McPhelemy Park. Both make for a relaxing day of fishing and casting with the family.
West of Buena Vista, Cottonwood Lake provides good access for both shoreline and boat-based fishing, with a US Forest Service campground and boat ramp.
O’Haver Lake attracts many for fishing, bird watching and canoeing on the calm, pleasant lakes. Anglers can use the accessible fishing pier or a paddle boat to seek rainbow and brook trout on O’Haver Lake.
B.V. Town Lake
Hiking to Alpine Lakes
The more hardy might consider hiking to higher elevations such as Blue Lake on Monarch Pass or Ptarmigan Lake off Cottonwood Pass for an alpine fishing experience. And if the fish aren’t biting, don’t get too upset. Look around at the view, drink in the mountain air and enjoy. Not all fishing looks this good.
This is a difficult lake to find because of elevation gain, and because the trail does not continue after timberline. It sits at 12,520ft elevation with a 2.1 mile hike involving 1,720ft gain. The best fishing is found on the North and West shorelines of this lake (deeper water).
This lake is in the San Isabel National Forest and sits at an elevation of 12,147 ft. It is 3.1 miles (one way) leading in to an 11 acre lake. There are large cutthroats in the lake as well as Ptarmigan birds uniquely camouflaged around the lake.