West fence of Masonic Park to Highway 149 Bridge Standard regulations (daily bag limit is 4 trout, possession limit is 8 trout).

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1 Rio Grande LAST UPDATED: January 2016 FISH SURVEY AND MANAGEMENT INFORMATION Benjamin Felt - Aquatic Biologist (Monte Vista) / General Information: The Rio Grande provides outstanding angling opportunities for brown trout and fair rainbow trout fishing on this stretch of river. Public access is good for bank, wade, or float fishing. Location: Marshall Park to Del Norte. Recreational Management: Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Forest Service. Fishery Management: Coldwater Angling. Purchase a Fishing License: https://www.co.wildlifelicense.com/start.php Amenities Eleven public boating access points for deployment or pickup of small rafts or boats. Seasonal restrooms available at several locations including Creede SWA and Coller SWA. Guided float fishing available from several local guides. Previous Stocking River Hill Campground to South Fork Rio Grande 2015: 25,000 subcatchable whirling disease resistant rainbow trout stocked. 2014: 22,000 subcatchable whirling disease resistant rainbow trout stocked. South Fork Rio Grande to Rio Grande Canal diversion 2015: 42,500 subcatchable whirling disease resistant rainbow trout stocked. 2014: 38,300 subcatchable whirling disease resistant rainbow trout stocked. Regulations Lower boundary of River Hill Campground downstream to the west fence of Masonic Park Artificial flies and lures only. Bag, possession, and maximum size for brown trout is two fish, 12 long. Rainbow trout must be returned to water immediately. West fence of Masonic Park to Highway 149 Bridge Standard regulations (daily bag limit is 4 trout, possession limit is 8 trout). Highway 149 bridge downstream to Rio Grande Canal diversion structure Artificial flies and lures only. Bag, possession, and minimum size for brown trout is two fish, 16 long. Rainbow trout must be returned to water immediately. Sportfishing Notes Brown Trout Most common species making up about 95% - 99% of fishery. Spawn in mid-october through November. Rainbow Trout Make up a small percentage of the fishery (1-5%). Spawn in mid-april through mid-may. Float Fishing Notes This stretch is a mix of private and public lands. Respect private property and always ask permission prior to wade or bank fishing on private property. Boats and rafts may fish private sections of river but any person or object touching the bank or river bottom is trespassing. Railroad bridge abutments at Wagon Wheel gap are hazardous during high water.

2 Rio Grande - Rio Grande Campground to Blue Creek Map and Access Information

3 Rio Grande - Palisade Campground to South Fork Map and Access Information

4 Rio Grande - South Fork to Del Norte Map and Access Information

5 Rio Grande at Marshall Park (9.5 miles upstream of Creede, CO) FISH SURVEY INFORMATION Figure 1. Rio Grande near Marshall Park. This 3.2 mile stretch of river was last surveyed in 2007 using two electrofishing rafts. Figure 2. Historical density estimates for brown trout and rainbow trout in the Rio Grande at Marshall Park. Figure 3. Brown trout and rainbow trout length-frequency for the Rio Grande at Marshall Park in There was an estimated 67 lbs. per acre of brown trout and 2 lbs. per acre of rainbow trout.

6 Rio Grande at La Garita Ranch (17 miles upstream of South Fork, CO) FISH SURVEY INFORMATION Figure 4. Rio Grande at La Garita Ranch. This 2.4 mile stretch of river was last surveyed in 2014 using two electrofishing rafts. Figure 5. Historical density estimates for brown trout and rainbow trout in the Rio Grande at La Garita Ranch. Figure 6. Brown trout and rainbow trout length-frequency for the Rio Grande at La Garita Ranch in There was an estimated 105 lbs. per acre of brown trout and 2 lbs. per acre of rainbow trout.

7 Rio Grande at Coller State Wildlife Area (6 miles upstream of South Fork, CO) FISH SURVEY INFORMATION Figure 7. Rio Grande at Coller State Wildlife Area. This 2.2 mile stretch of river was last surveyed in 2014 using two electrofishing rafts. Figure 8. Historical density estimates for brown trout and rainbow trout in the Rio Grande at Coller State Wildlife Area. Figure 9. Brown trout and rainbow trout length-frequency for the Rio Grande at Coller State Wildlife Area in There was an estimated 59 lbs. per acre of brown trout and 2 lbs. per acre of rainbow trout.

8 Rio Grande at State Bridge (Gold Medal Section, between South Fork and Del Norte) FISH SURVEY INFORMATION Figure 10. Aquatic Technician displays a brown trout surveyed in the State Bridge section. This 5.3 mile stretch of river was last surveyed in 2015 using two electrofishing rafts. Figure 11. Historical density estimates for brown and rainbow trout in the Rio Grande at State Bridge. Figure 12. Brown trout and rainbow trout length-frequency for the Rio Grande at State Bridge in There was an estimated 56 lbs. per acre of brown trout and 7 lbs. per acre of rainbow trout.

9 Rio Grande Gold Medal Trends at all Sampling Sites Figure 13. Historical biomass and density of trout in the Rio Grande River at Marshall Park, La Garita Ranch, Coller SWA, and State Bridge sections. Gold medal minimum requirements are shown by horizontal dashed lines.

10 Management Notes - Rainbow trout populations in the Rio Grande experienced drastic decreases in density and biomass in the early 1990 s through the 2000 s due to their susceptibility to whirling disease which was first documented in the river in However, rainbow trout populations have been increasing at most sites since 2008 which is when Colorado Parks and Wildlife switched to the stocking of whirling disease resistant rainbow trout. Biomass and density of trout at Marshall Park, Coller State Wildlife Area, State Bridge, and La Garita Ranch exceeded Gold Medal minimum requirements in the most recent surveys conducted at each site. The Rio Grande from Marshall Park to Del Norte is a popular fishing area for visitors and locals alike. Access for bank, wade, and float fishermen is good through most of this stretch. The best fishing usually runs from June into October when the water is warmest and the fish are most active. Bank fishing success typically improves by July, after peak runoff. There is usually a good salmon fly hatch during the last couple of weeks in June. The first two weeks in July frequently see a mayfly hatch and caddisfly hatches occur off and on from May into September. Recommended flies include: Rio Grande king, green drake, stimulator, sofa pillow, pheasant tail, halfback, girdlebug, gold ribbed hare s ear, Campbell stonefly, elk hair caddis, adam s, and coachman trude. Spinners such as Panther Martins and Mepps are also a good choice. The Rio Grande provides outstanding fishing opportunities much of the year and, due to its more remote location, is less crowded than many other Gold Medal waters in Colorado.

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