John Martin Reservoir is located 16 miles east of Las Animas off of Highway 50. It is a warm water fishery that has largemouth and smallmouth bass, catfish, walleye, yellow perch, wipers, bluegill, crappie and saugeye. Camping and boating is allowed. It is known for producing large wipers and walleye. Weighted streamers and sink tip fly lines are recommended. A daily parks pass is required.
John Martin WiperI’ve never encountered another fly fisherman in all the times I’ve visited this amazingly diverse fishery. Perhaps that’s why I like it so much. It’s a different kind of fishing in a different setting with lots of room to spread out and explore.
It can also be a much simpler kind of fishing. I didn’t change my setup the entire weekend. A six weight rod with a sinking tip line tethered by 0x tippet to a Clouser Minnow was all I needed to catch four different species of fish. By not fussing with fly selection, indicator adjustments, tricky currents or other meticulous details I was free to focus on casting; lots of casting. But then, I love throwing streamers. I didn’t even bother with waders since JMart has lots of flat rocky points from which to launch one’s offerings.
Although I failed in my attempt to catch walleye, smallmouth, and largemouth bass on this trip, the white bass and wiper fishing more than made up for it. White bass are plentiful and self-sustaining in this reservoir; don’t feel guilty about taking a few of these tasty scrappers home for table fare. There’s also a healthy population of crappie and some truly giant carp. I didn’t manage to land any huge wipers, but we did bring in a couple respectable ones over the 20- inch mark. I know there are some bigger ones out there just waiting for my next trip.
Jeff Cooper - Angler's Covey Guide
Directions - 144 Miles - 2 Hours 46 Minutes
- Head south on S 21st St toward US-24 W
- Follow I-25 S and US-50 E to CO-96 E in Pueblo County
- Continue on CO-96 E to Manzanola
- Turn left onto US-50 E/1st St
- Continue on CO-101 S. Drive to County Rd Ff.5