Vallecito Lake is a Fee Area. If you intend to park alongside the lake you will need a use permit. Permits may be purchased from many local businesses or from the recreation management agency, Pine River Irrigation District (PRID). Their phone number is 970-884-2558. Fees run from $3.00 per day to $30.00 for an annual permit. Parking elsewhere, such as in a roadside pullout or anywhere away from the lake shore does not require a permit.
Local Fishing Report - please email VallecitoOutside@gmail.com
Colorado fishing regulations can be viewed at - http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/Pages/Fishing.aspx
Fishing licenses are required for any angler over the age of 16. Licenses can be purchased at a few local businesses, in Durango or online at - http://wildlife.state.co.us/ShopDOW/AppsAndLicenses/Pages/totallicensing.aspx
About the Lake and Surrounding Waters
The southwestern half of the Weminuche Wilderness Area is drained by two major streams-the Los Pinos (The Pine) and Florida Rivers-and their tributaries. Vallecito Reservoir, where water from the Pine and Vallecito Creek is impounded, is great for those seeking less of a wilderness experience. It provides easy access and large fish such as rainbow, brown trout, and northern pike. Browns hold in this area all year and mid-May through mid-June is best for pike. The reservoir offers a good opportunity to fish in late spring, when the rivers in the area are high with runoff.
The area also offers fantastic fishing for those seeking more wilderness experience. The Pine River is divided into two distinct sections. The southern portion of the river below the Vallecito Lake reservoir is completely on private land and the Southern Ute Reservation.
Access to the upper Pine River begins at the Pine River Trailhead east of Vallecito Reservoir, the first 3 miles of river above the trailhead, as well as the trail itself, passes through the private ranch. No fishing is permitted on the ranch, and hikers into the wilderness must stay on the trail until reaching the national forest boundary. The wide trail has one of the gentlest climbs in the wilderness. Backpacking with a fly rod is one of the supreme pleasures of angling in the San Juan Mountains.
From the wilderness boundary to the Continental Divide the Pine offers backcountry fly fishing at its finest. With over 50 miles of stream amid exquisite scenery, the possibilities for fishing adventures in the Los Pinos watershed are nearly limitless.
In the wilderness part of the Pine River, you will find exclusively wild fish, particularly trout. In the lower two-thirds of the river you will find rainbows, brookies, browns, and cutthroats. Above Willow Park it is mostly cutthroats and brook trout. Below Flint Creek the average fish is around 8 to 10 inches and trout up to 14 inches are common. The upper Pine is entirely hike-in water.
The alpine wonderland, just 18 miles from Durango, is surrounded by over 2.5 million acres of public land of the San Juan National Forest and Weminuche Wilderness.