Fishing is free this weekend, and in Southwest Colorado, there are dozens of places to go.
"Your fishin' is our mission," John Alves, senior aquatic biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Southwest Region, said in a news release. "Due to the warm weather, we've stocked a lot of fish earlier than usual this year, and we're hearing reports that fishing has been really good."
Nearby spotsVallecito Reservoir, about 20 miles north of Bayfield on La Plata County Road 501
Haviland Lake State Wildlife Area, 20 miles north of Durango along U.S. Highway 550 in the San Juan National Forest.
Mancos State Park, about 5 miles north of Mancos on the West Mancos Road.
Echo Canyon State Wildlife Area, about 10 miles south of Pagosa Springs just off U.S. Highway 84.
Montrose-Delta areaGrand Mesa, on dozens of lakes and reservoirs in the Gunnison-Uncompahgre National Forest just north of Delta.
Crawford State Park, just south of Crawford on Colorado Highway 92.
Miramonte Reservoir, south of Norwood on San Miguel County Road 39N
Ridgway State Park, on U.S. Highway 550 about 25 miles south of Montrose.
Gunnison areaSpring Creek Reservoir, on Forest Service Road 744 in the Gunnison-Uncompahgre National Forest about 30 miles north of Gunnison.
Taylor Park Reservoir, on Forest Service Road 742, in the Gunnison-Uncompahgre National Forest about 25 miles north of Gunnison.
Blue Mesa Reservoir, on U.S. Highway 50 between Montrose and Gunnison.
In the San Luis Valley:
Big Meadows Reservoir, just west of U.S. Highway 160 on U.S. Forest Service Road 410 in the Rio Grande National Forest, about 5 miles east of Wolf Creek Pass.
Beaver Creek Reservoir, about 10 miles south of the town of South Fork in the Rio Grande National Forest on U.S. Forest Service Road 360.
Road Canyon Reservoir, about 20 miles west of Creede, along U.S. Forest Road 620 in the Rio Grande National Forest.
Most mountain streams are running clear, and fish will rise to dry flies. Many high mountain lakes are free of ice.
Because fire restrictions are in place throughout Southwest Colorado, campfires are prohibited outside of developed campgrounds. Be careful with cook stoves and barbecue grills, and dispose of cigarette butts in containers, CPW said.
CPW also warned anglers about touching or harassing deer fawns and elk calves are being born. Though a young animal might appear abandoned, its mother likely is foraging nearby.
To learn more, go to the CPW web site at http://cpw.state.co.us/, and click on the "Things to do" tab.