Angling the Carbondale River

Carbondale Cutthroat

Native cutthroat trout thrive in the swift waters of the Carbondale River. Part of the reason may be that most of the river canyon is inaccessible, bounded by private land and too fractured by rockfall for safe navigation by drift boat.

In compensation,, the one point of easy access provides excellent camping and day-use facilities. Lynx Creek Recreation Area is situated just west of the intersection of the Carbondale and Sartoris Roads. Nicely treed campsites are perfect for tents and small RVs, and the fishing is surprisingly fine just steps away from your firepit.

A terrace of waterfalls and plunge pools at the campground itself divides the Carbondale into upper and lower reaches. The upper is the easiest to fish. A substantial run of pocket water continues upstream to a concrete bridge. Trout like to feed in the calmer circles of water protected by boulders and natural rock weirs. Successful fly drifts are measured in inches, and usually the first cast per pocket is the one that spurs a strike.

Wading can be difficult, and it is sometimes advisable to resort to the footpath along the north side of the stream. From the bridge, you can continue upstream through a high alpine meadow or cross to the opposite site and angle the downstream pools until you run up against an impassable rock outcrop.