Fishing the North Fork Reservoir – Salida, Colorado

Buckle up! The fishing hole is just ten miles up the rough and rocky road, but once you reach the North Fork Reservior, see the spectacular views, and experience the great fishing, you will forget all about the time it took you to get there. You will enjoy the peaceful scenery and relax on the shore while fishing in this remote location. Pack a lunch and plenty of water to enjoy the day.

North Fork Reservoir is located about 18 miles from Salida, Colorado off CR-240, and sits at ~11,400 ft. above sea level. The road to the lake is rough and we recommend a high clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicle. Even though it is about 10 miles after you turn off the main road to the lake, it takes about an hour to get there. There are some beautiful campsites available along the road for those interested in an overnight trip. We did not camp; we were there to fish for the day and target the highly sought after Grayling.

artic graylingWe were excited to see Grayling on the list of fish to catch. The Colorado Fishing Atlas states there are Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat (Native) Trout and Grayling in this lake. We did catch Cutthroat, Cutbow and Rainbow Trout. We did not catch any Grayling. When speaking to a Game Warden later that day, he stated that they have not stocked Grayling in the lake for quite some time and he would be surprised if there were any in there.

We first walked across the dam on the left to fish the inlet. There were Cutthroat trout feeding in the running water. The fish were active and colorful. They were willing to bite on night crawlers and dry flies.

After catching a few out of the inlet, we then headed to the stream below the dam to try our luck. We caught one Rainbow Trout up by the culvert, but it was not very productive. We went back up to the dam where we fished next to what I like to call the “lucky rock.” We got a bite on just about every other cast with a little patience. We fished with both light spinning gear and fly rods.

stream fishing

Overall, the fishing pressure was light. We had our pick of spots on the dam and across the dam on the left. There were a few other anglers, kayakers, and hikers who showed up mid-morning.

lucky rock north fork lake

The best time to visit this area is June thru September. You will want to make sure the lake is ice free at the beginning of the season. The afternoons in the summer could be rainy. Take a rain jacket and dress in layers. The temperatures at this elevation can range from 45 – 75 degrees.

cutthroat trout 2

We enjoyed our time at this lake. We were pleased with the fishing and really enjoyed the catching. We are catch and release only and practice safe fish handling techniques to ensure places like this are amazing for years to come. I am sure we will be back next summer to explore some more of this area. We also enjoyed a few other fishing holes in Salida. Check out our other blog post, Salida, Colorado – Fishing Small Waters, to learn about these places.

Have a safe trip…catch lots of fish…and leave no trace!

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One thought on “Fishing the North Fork Reservoir – Salida, Colorado

  1. Judy

    That sounds like a worth while trip if you like rough roads. I’ve never caught a grayling so I guess I’ll go try it out. Sound very relaxing and quiet.

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