Lakes and rivers offer variety for Moffat County anglers
With the Yampa River flowing the length of the county and merging with the Green River in the northwest corner of the state, fishing in Moffat County can present challenges and rewards to anglers willing to search for the perfect spot to test their finest fly, most active spinner or favorite bait.
The Green River, which meanders through the National Wildlife Refuge in Browns Park in the northwest corner of Moffat County, is a hot spot for fishers looking to get out early in the season.
The level of the Green River is controlled by water released by the dam at Flaming Gorge and is therefore less influenced by spring runoff.
Park rangers say although channel catfish can be found in the river, the real draw for anglers is a population of brown trout. Fishing from shore is very popular, but anglers can also float from the Utah state line to the Gates of Lodore on the Green River without a special permit. The deepest fishing holes are often where the steep cliffs above the river continue below waterline to the riverbed.
The Browns Park Store has stopped offering fishing licenses, so anglers need to have licenses by the time they depart Maybell and begin the drive up Colorado Highway 318. The last stop for Colorado licenses when heading west is the Maybell Store, 60311 U.S. Highway 40.
Fishing information specialist Ned Miller at the Craig Chamber of Commerce said fishing success is down considerably in the Yampa River since Fish and Wildlife rangers began shocking the river to remove non-native fish in 2002, but those pike, bass and catfish removed have been transferred to Loudy-Simpson Park south of town, where they can be caught in both ponds straddling Colorado Highway 394.
Upstream from Colo. 394 in the Yampa River, the bag and possession limit for trout is two fish. There is no limit on channel catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, green sunfish, bluegill, bullhead, yellow perch and crappie taken in the Yampa River.
Freeman Reservoir north of Craig has some good, small lake fishing, but it is often snowbound until late May or June, and fishing is prohibited until Aug. 1.
Elkhead Reservoir near Craig is closed for construction of a new dam until summer 2007, when it is expected to re-open to the public with new boat ramps and camping sites.
In Colorado, the cost of a fishing license is $26 for residents and $56 for nonresidents annually, and a one-day license is $9. Fishing licenses are available at Craig sporting goods stores, supermarkets, K-Mart and Go-Fer Foods. Maps and information are available at the Craig Chamber of Commerce, 360 East Victory Way.
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