MONTE VISTA — In preparation for a native cutthroat trout restoration project, Colorado Parks and Wildlife -- starting Saturday, June 13 -- will remove all bag and possession limits for fishing on Upper Sand Creek Lake, Lower Sand Creek Lake and Sand Creek located in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the National Park Service are working to restore the Rio Grande cutthroat trout to its native waters. In late August, the lakes and creek will be treated to remove all fish from the drainage. If all goes as planned, Rio Grande cutthroats will be stocked again in the fall of 2021. These waters are located high on the west flank of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range.
Anglers must hold a valid Colorado fishing license and can only use standard methods of take. Commercial fishing is not allowed. The area holds rainbow, brook and non-native cutthroat trout. Anglers can keep all the fish they can catch from June 13 through Aug. 30. Once the Rio Grande cutthroat trout are re-established, anglers will have the unique opportunity to catch this native fish.
Native cutthroat trout populations have declined over the last 100 years due to water diversions, land-use changes and competition from non-native trout that have been stocked throughout the Rio Grande drainage. “This is a challenging project, but it will provide an ideal and protected habitat for these fish,” said John Alves, senior aquatic biologist for CPW’s Southwest Region. “We appreciate that the National Park Service shares CPW’s goals to re-establish native cutthroats in the waters of the San Luis Valley.”