Meeker: Fishing the White River

The upper White River boasts some of the finest fishing waters in Colorado. Much of the best fishing is on private land, owned by people who are committed to protecting spawn beds and fish habitat. If you want to fish in a private stretch you must have permission and should expect to pay for the privilege. There is still plenty of good fishing along the public access area.

A good place, especially for small children, is at Meeker Town Park. People catch rainbow, brown and native cutthroat trout and whitefish in the town limits. The river is open from Circle Park Bridge, at Fourth and Water Streets, downstream to the 10th Street Bridge.

The next place for more unlimited trout access is up County Road 8 east of Meeker on the Flat Tops Scenic Byway. One mile from the Scenic Byway sign, you will see the Green Cabins. Starting at the bridge to the cabins you can fish for the next 2.2 miles to the Nelson-Prather TU Access. Fish only on the side of the river closest to the road. Do not cross the bridge or fish from the bridge. Never climb any fences or cross to the other side of the river.

At 14.4 miles up County Road 8, there is the Sleepy Cat ponds. For the next two miles you may fish. Again you may drive16.3 miles and find the pathway and fish down river to the ponds.

There are also opportunities for lake fishing. Lake Avery is 18.1 miles up river on the Scenic Byway. Meadow Lake is only accessible from late June until the snow flies. Drive 18.5 miles to County Road 17, and follow 17 for 12.1 miles to the Hiner Springs turnoff. Turn left on Forest Service Road 601 and follow it to the Meadow Lake turnoff.

Meeker is home to the White River Museum. You won't be able to miss the rough-hewn log building, which stores the historical treasures of the area. The original structure was built in 1880 as quarters for U.S. Army officers. The Army pulled out in 1883 and sold the block of buildings to the town for $50. The museum was a private residence until 1945. The Garrison building, which just underwent a major renovation, was a residence until 1995 and the building on the corner continues to be a private home. Visitors will find clothing, including wedding dresses, gowns and jewelry from the late 1800s through the 1940s. Plan to spend several hours at the White River Museum, which is at 565 Park St. behind the Rio Blanco County Courthouse. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, call (970) 878-9982. The admission is free, however a donation is appreciated. n

Trappers Lake is 38.8 miles up river to Trappers Lake Road, where you turn right and drive until you reach the lake. The road dead ends at the campgrounds just beyond the Trappers Lake Lodge. Vaughn Lake is just 53 miles up river from the Scenic Byway sign. n

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