Hunting opportunities are extensive and include Mule Deer, Elk, Mountain Lion, Grouse and Bear. Likewise, fishing options are extraordinary – Anthracite Creek and tributaries, the North Fork of the Gunnison and dozens of high mountain lakes and streams. The area’s fishing is so special that the Colorado Division of Wildlife has featured the region in Colorado Outdoors magazine each of the last two years!
The Grand Mesa area is so surrounded by water – from lakes to reservoirs to streams to creeks – visitors will likely forget they’re in land-locked Colorado.
Perched on a 10,000-foot plateau, Grand Mesa National Forest ishome to more than 200 lakes as well as multiple streams, rivers andcreeks. The waters are stocked by the Colorado Department of Wildlifeand teem primarily with rainbows, brooks and cutthroat, mostly rangingfrom eight to 12 inches long. Occasionally, a lucky angler will comeacross fish more than 18 inches in length, though.
The mesa’s south slope is called the Land O’Lakes region and ishome to 18 lakes, all within walking distance of each other. Island Lakeis the largest of the group, and vacationers can get a spectacularglimpse of it from the scenic Land O’Lakes lookout on the Grand MesaScenic Byway. A visitor’s center in the area also offers interpretiveexhibits, a bookstore and plenty of Forest Service staff to answerquestions.
On the north side of the mesa, vacationers will find the MesaLakes area. Many of the lakes in this area are certified Gold Medalwaters and are easily accessed using the area’s well-developed trailsystem.
Just to the east, the Cottonwood Lakes offer a true backcountry fishingexperience. Many of the lakes in this area are secluded and accessibleonly by foot, four-wheel drive or horseback – contrasting greatly withthe lakes that are easily accessible from the road, which are morepopulated and offer amenities such as restrooms and boat launch ramps.
The large Vega Reservoir lies outside the forest and is a greatyear-round fishing hole, with plenty of trails for hiking, snowshoeing,and cross-country skiing. The reservoir, as well as most of the otherlakes in the area, is a popular spot for local wildlife, so keep an eyeout for elk, deer and even bears.
Things to know when buying online or by phone
- The 2015 license year runs from 4/1/2015-3/31/2016. 2015 annual, one-day, mountain lion, and spring turkey licenses went on sale on March 11, 2015.
- Customers may use Visa, MasterCard or Discover credit cards. Visa, MasterCard, or Discover debit cards work if they can be used without a PIN. Licenses are mailed the business day following the purchase.
- Customers must have completed all the requirements for Hunter Education before applying for or buying a hunting license or before applying for a preference point.
- In most cases, licenses purchased online or over the phone will reach you by mail within 10 days or you may pick up your license at a license agent location or Colorado Parks and Wildlife office.
- Except for big game, Turkey licenses, and the Colorado Waterfowl Stamp, a temporary authorization number (TAN) may be substituted for the license(s) purchased for 14 days from the date of purchase. Please print or write down (must be legible) the TAN and carry it with you while hunting or fishing until you receive your license. If the license OR all of the licenses you purchase in this transaction expire in less than 7 days, you will NOT receive anything in the mail. A temporary authorization number (TAN) is all you need for 1 or 5 day fishing or small game hunting licenses.
- When you receive your license, review it for accuracy and sign it to validate it. If there are any issues, please contact the call center at (303) 297-1192 or a CPW office.
- Telephone sales representatives at 1-800-244-5613 are trained to sell licenses and do not know specific wildlife-related information for Colorado. For questions not related to the sale of licenses, call Colorado Parks and Wildlife at (303) 297-1192.
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