Southern Ute Indian Tribe

Division of Wildlife Resource Management

P.O. Box 737 Ignacio, Colorado  81137

Phone: (970) 563-0130


Contact: Steve Whiteman, Wildlife Division Head

The present-day Southern Ute Reservation roughly forms a rectangle 75 miles east to west by 15 miles north to south, and is slightly more than 681,000 acres in total area. Often referred to as a "checkerboard" for its irregular pattern of land ownership, the reservation lands are divided among many interests, including primarily Tribal trust lands, allotted trust lands, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Reclamation lands, and fee simple lands. Much of the Tribe's lands, with the exception of the Pine River valley, are rugged, upland and foothill areas, while non-Indian fee lands predominantly occur on the arable mesas within the reservation. U.S. Forest Service lands are those of the San Juan National Forest, while Reclamation lands are those immediately surrounding Navajo Reservoir. Most of the Southern Ute membership resides in the Pine River valley, and the Tribal government offices are located at the center of the reservation in Ignacio, Colorado.

The reservation, situated in a transitional zone between the high alpine forests of the San Juan Mountains and semi-arid desert of northwestern New Mexico, is a diverse landscape with an abundance of fish and wildlife resources. Five major drainages pass through reservation lands, including the La Plata, Animas, Los Pinos ("Pine"), Piedra, and San Juan drainages. Numerous fish species, including native and non-native game species, inhabit the perennial streams of these drainages. Fisheries Management on the Southern Ute Reservation is focused mainly on providing trout fishing opportunities and restoring declining native species in these perennial streams. The Tribe also manages a small fee-fishing and campground operation at Lake Capote, the only lake under the management authority of the Tribe. Recreational fishing on the Southern Ute Reservation is open to both Tribal members and non-members through a permitting system. State of Colorado fishing permits are not needed to fish on Tribal lands, and non-members permits are available through various local vendors for a fee. The Tribe actively stocks its rivers and Lake Capote primarily with catchable-size rainbow trout, and opportunities exist for catching trophy-sized fish in many of the Tribe’s waters. The Tribe’s recreational fisheries are maintained primarily through the stocking of trout provided by a Federal source (i.e., Hotchkiss NFH in Hotchkiss, CO), as well as private commercial growers.  Fishing for other recreational species, including largemouth bass and channel catfish, is also available at Lake Capote.