In the Valle Vidal…

The Valle Vidal is a 100,000-acre unit of the Carson National Forest near the New Mexico/Colorado border northwest of Cimarron. This large section of land encompasses several valleys and towering peaks rich in pristine native and wild trout waters. The Valle Vidal is open for fishing July 1 through December 31. There is an area designated as Special Trout Waters for the Rio Costilla. Several smaller streams flow through the Valle, some hold populations of native Rio Grande cutthroat (RGC) and others are extremely fragile. The park is working to bring back the native species by not fishing these tiny streams.

Shuree Ponds are in the middle of the Valle Vidal just off of Forest Service Road 1950. This series of mirror-like man made ponds descend through a lush meadow surrounded by forested mountains. This was once part of the Shuree Hunting and Fishing Resort and Lodge. Only two ponds hold trout. The smaller is designated as a kids’ pond for 12 and under, and is easily fished from the banks. The main pond is approximately 5 acres in size with much of the shore being open. Float tubing this lake is a great way to work the deep areas in the middle. This lake is a popular fishing spot as it is minutes from the Cimarron Campground; but on the mid-July Sunday of my visit few people were there. The lake is stocked and 16-20 inch rainbows are caught throughout the summer.

While others fly fished I stalked the shoreline for the perfect photograph.

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