Fishing in Westcliffe, CO

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Your Guidebook

A fisherman's paradise

Custer County is ripe with opportunity for incredible fishing—from sparkling mountain lakes and backcountry creeks to vast reservoirs and the Gold Medal waters of the nearby Arkansas River.

With such variety, you’ll never grow bored… Fish for cut-bow, cuthroat, brown, and rainbow trout; small-mouth bass, and tiger muskies, to name a few. Make it an all-day expedition or stop by DeWeese Reservoir for a quick break. Cast a line from your boat or hang by the shore.

Whether you’re a master angler or a complete novice, you’re sure to find Westcliffe a fisherman’s paradise.

where to go

Easiest access

DeWeese Reservior


Motorized & non-motorized (for fishing recreation only)


Free with Colorado fishing or hunting license


Boat ramp, restrooms

Located just 10 minutes from downtown Westcliffe, DeWeese Reservoir spans over 300 acres and offers good fishing for rainbow trout and smallmouth bass. Other species present include tiger muskies and brown trout. Come winter, DeWeese is a popular destination for ice fishing. For access, visitors ages 18 to 64 should have a valid Colorado fishing or hunting license. Otherwise, you can get a pass from the parks and wildlife office.

Grape Creek

Grape Creek drains the majority of Wet Mountain Valley toward the Arkansas River. DeWeese Reservoir controls the flow into Grape Creek, and it’s advised to check the water level below the reservoir before heading out. Generally, it’s best fished in the spring, early summer, or fall.

You’ll find a good access point 20 miles from Westcliffe, via Bear Gulch Road (BLM #6227), just off the mostly gravel Oak Creek Grade. This website offers thorough, helpful directions with photos.

Another access point for Lower Grape Creek is Temple Canyon Park in Canyon City, Colorado.

Lake Isabel


Non-motorized boating permitted. Paddle/rowboat rentals nearby.


Easy access to La Vista, Southside, & St. Charles campgrounds


Lodge, RV access, electric hookups, restrooms, limited potable water

Lake Isabel is 35 miles southwest of Westcliffe, and easily accessible off the highway. With convenient campgrounds on-site, a nearby lodge, and several hiking trails, it’s a great place to spend the weekend. Paddle and rowboat rentals, groceries, and a restaurant can all be found nearby at the lodge.

 Lake Isabel is stocked with brown and rainbow trout, while brook trout are found in St. Charles Creek.

A scenic hike away

You’ll find dozens of high-altitude lakes and streams in the beautiful Sangre De Cristo wilderness. Most lakes require a 1 to 12 mile hike. So, while getting there is more of an adventure, you’re sure to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Gold Medal waters

Gold Medal waters, for those not ‘in the know’, are fishing areas designated by the Colorado Wildlife Commission as the top spots to catch those big trophy trout. 

There are 102 miles of Gold Medal fishing along the upper Arkansas River. One of the closest access points, Texas Creek, is less than 30 minutes from Westcliffe off CO 69. But anglers can enjoy a seemingly endless variety of spots from Salida to Pueblo.

Fishing licenses


Lowe's Market

Country Store

Valley Ace Hardware

Antler Motel, Liquor Store & General Store

explore more

Royal Gorge Anglers

Sign up for a half or full day guided fishing trip on the Arkansas River and learn from the pros.

Ark Anglers

Fly shop and guide service with locations in Salida and Buena Vista. Designated a Exemplary Guide & Outfitter by Colorado Trout Unlimited.

Float Fishing Guides: Arkansas River Tours / Cotopaxi

River Sister Fly Fishing

Fly fishing classes and private lessons for both beginners and experienced anglers.