Colorado Division of Wildlife’s weekly fishing report, May 11, 2010

Seasonal Report: Off and Running

It’s hard to believe we’re approaching mid-May already!

The runoff has started to muddy up waters all across the state. This will likely be the case for the rest of the spring. Early morning action is your best bet for fly fishing opportunities.

Not all hope is lost however. Plenty of good fly fishing opportunities remain. The Arkansas River is still fishing very well, with good visibility. The caddis hatch is continuing to make its way down towards Canon City.

Many of the state’s most popular waters are opening and boating is becoming a common theme on them. Many of the waters in the southeast region of the state, which include Bonny and Pueblo Reservoirs, are reporting good to excellent fishing.

Popular and productive mountain fisheries such as Grand Lake, Lake Granby & Shadow Mountain Reservoir are still holding onto ice, but conditions are changing rapidly. Open water can be found at the inlets, the Colorado River below the dam at Shadow Mountain and in the channel between Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain. The fishing is always excellent this time of year.

Some warm water species are starting to perk up a bit as water temperatures warm and conditions improve. It won’t be long before crappie, bass and wiper are commonly found on stringers at the end of the day.

Become a Contributor:

The DOW is constantly looking to improve the fishing report. If you’re an angler or a business owner (bait shop, marina, etc.) and would like to contribute to the fishing report, please contact us at 303.297.1192 or by email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Don’t Get Ticked Off:

Ticks become active in March, and throughout the summer months, into early fall. They are generally most active in May, and go dormant as temperatures cool. Ticks are common at higher elevations, where there is shade and undergrowth or overgrown grassy areas. The Rocky Mountain Wood Tick is the most common. Check for ticks on yourself and your children. Products containing DEET are effective deterrents, however some of these products are not recommended for children, or adults, who may have allergic reactions.

Be Bear Aware:

Fisherman and campers are reminded that many of their favorite waters are in bear country. Taking simple precautions such as not leaving food out where bears can find it and keeping a clean camping site can avoid potential problems for bears and people alike. The Colorado Division of Wildlife offers brochures and other information for reducing the risk of bear encounters. They are available At DOW offices statewide.

Recent Stocking — May 11, 2010

Arvada Reservoir — West Denver
Aurora Reservoir — East Denver
Bittersweet Lake — Greeley
Boxelder Reservoir #3 — North West of Wellington
Casey Pond — Steamboat Springs
Chartier Pond — Brush
Cherry Creek Reservoir — Denver
Doty Park Pond — Brush
Echo Canyon Reservoir — 5 miles South of Pagosa Springs
Evergreen Reservoir — Evergreen
Fairplay Kids Pond — Fairplay
Fetcher City Pond — Steamboat Springs
Hale Ponds — East of Bonny Reservoir, north of Burlington
Hasty Lake — East of Las Animas
Haviland Lake — 20 miles North of Durango
Highline Lake — North of Loma
Home Lake — Monte Vista
Horseshoe Reservoir — Walsenburg
Jackson Gulch Reservoir — 8 miles North of Mancos
Jackson Reservoir — Fort Morgan
Ligon Reservoir — Toponas
Lon Hagler Reservoir — Loveland
Mallard — Saint Vrain State Park
Mann-Nyholt South — Adams County
McCalls Lake — Lyons
Mead Pond #2 — Mead
Memorial Park Pond — Woodland Park
Midwestern Farms Pond — East of Lamar
Monument Lake — Monument
Nichols — Woodland Park
Ordway Reservoir — North Ordway
Palmer Lake — In Palmer Lake
Pericles Pond — Ridgway
Poudre River — Poudre Canyon
Pueblo City Park Lake — Pueblo
Quail Lake — Colorado Springs
Rampart — Woodland Park
Ridgway Reservoir — Ridgway
Ridgway Reservoir — Ridgway
Riverside Ponds — Salida
Sandpiper — Saint Vrain State Park
Shalberg Pond — Sheridan Lake
Sheldon Lake — Fort Collins
South Platte River 3B — Deckers
South Platte River South Fork #1 — Hartsel
St Vrain State Park, Sandpiper — Longmont
Standley Lake — North West Denver
Thornton Gravel Lake #2 & #3 — South East of Thornton
Trinidad Reservoir — Trinidad
Union Reservoir — Longmont
West Lake — Red Feathers
Wetherill Pond — South of Saguache


Colorado River (near Granby)—The spring runoff continues, which affects flows and water clarity. However, fishing has still been good. The water flows below Windy gap and below Parshall are 105cfs and 212cfs respectively. Copper Johns, RS-2s, Prince nymphs and other emerger patterns, San Juan worms and egg patterns are doing well. Stone Fly nymphs have been effective. In the immediate Granby area and downstream to the bridge at the lower end of Byers Canyon, bait fishing is permitted and two fish may be kept. From the east side of the bridge abutments (the west end of Byers Canyon) down to Troublesome Creek, including the Williams Fork River from the reservoir, catch-and-release rules apply and fishing is by artificial flies and lures only. Inquire in Granby for the latest conditions. 5/09/2010 

Delanney Buttes—There is some open water on the Delanneys. East Delanney is about 60% open. Fisherman are having fair to good success in these areas of open water. 

Dillon Reservoir—The reservoir is almost completely ice-encased. 12” rainbows and a 13” cuttbow were caught using a gold quarter-ounce kastmaster on the Ten Mile Creek inlet. Fly fishermen have had similar success using a wooleybugger in the same area. 

Elkhead Reservoir—The reservoir is open to fishing and will open for boating the weekend of May 22. The water is rising daily and the reservoir is full. The water will remain muddy for some time so be patient. ANS inspections will continue again this summer and will be the driving force for the lake opening. There should be some good pike activity along the shorelines with big streamers or baits. Rain and snow continue to keep fishing slow so nice days should help with activity. 

Granby Reservoir—Granby Reservoir is still mainly covered with ice. There is more open water at the south end of Rainbow Bay, at the Stillwater and Arapaho Creek inlets, as well as many new areas along the shore line. Conditions are changing rapidly; if it stays warm and windy, it could fully open at any time. There is fishable open water from Shadow Mountain Dam downstream into Columbine Bay. Fishing is excellent this time of year. 5/09/2010

Grand Lake—Grand Lake still has some ice on it, but its melting fast. However, as usual, there is open water in the channel between Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain reservoir and areas are expanding at both ends. Some open water also exists at the West Portal. Fishing is very good. Everything remains the same, except the open water areas are expanding. 5/09/2010 

Green Mountain Reservoir—The lake is thawed and fishing is good. Red power bait or nightcrawlers are working. 
Lake John—Lake John has some open water on the south end and west shoreline, and should continue to shed its wintery grip as temperatures begin to rise. The boat ramps are open but there is limited open water at this time. Fishing is fair, but will greatly improve as ice gives way to more oxygen rich water. 

Muddy Creek—Currently the flow discharging into the muddy creek is 15 cfs. Fisherman are doing well catching nice quality rainbows. 
Pearl Lake—5/4/10 No information to update on Pearl. Use this link to view our Hahn’s Peak web cam that we turned so you can see the cove behind the Visitor Center

Shadow Mountain Reservoir—Some of the reservoir is still ice covered, but open areas are expanding. The pump canal is open water including the southern end of the reservoir out to and past the islands. Also below the dam is open to fishing. Fishing the pump canal can be highly rewarding using flies, slip bobber rigs, lures, and nightcrawlers on the bottom. Small jigs tipped with wax worms, mealworms, power bait or eggs are commonly used. The south boat ramp is open. 05/09/2010

Stagecoach Reservoir—The reservoir is completely ice free and opened for boating May 1st. A boat inspection for aquatic nuisance species is required prior to launching. Anglers at the inlet have been catching several medium size fish (12-15”) using worms or powerbait. Multiple 3-4 1/2 lb trout have been landed near the Keystone day use area. Tailwaters fishing is excellent using egg pattern flies. The redds are down so please be aware of footing and stay off the beds. A large section of river has been fenced off to protect the redds. Stagecoach State Park asks anglers at the Tailwaters to be aware of overcrowding on the river this time of year. 

Steamboat Lake—5/4/10 Willow Creek is open for about 50-75 yards where it comes out below RCR 62. Ice fishing is still going on with about 2 1/2 feet of ice along with 1 foot of slush also. The recent snow will add to the slush factor as temps get warmer! Use this link to view our Hahn’s Peak web cam that we turned so you can see the cove behind the Visitor Center

Vega Reservoir—Vega is open for boating. Fishing is picking up and should continue to improve. 

Williams Fork Reservoir—Rainbow and brown trout, lake trout, northern pike and Kokanee are available. The reservoir is now ice free. Boat access and inspections are scheduled to start on May 15, but conditions could allow an earlier opening. Bank fishing is very good. Inquire in Granby for the latest conditions. From buoy line at Williams Fork River inlet upstream to first CR bridge: Fishing and snagging prohibited Sept. 15-Nov. 30. 05/09/2010 

Willow Creek Reservoir—Rainbow, brown trout and Kokanee salmon are available. The reservoir still has some ice patches, but has opened up enough to fish from shore. This is a beautiful area with easy fishing access around the boat ramp area and the next bay. This reservoir is a good place to take kids, and gets less fishing pressure than other area lakes. Worms, Powerbait, salmon eggs and many different lures are commonly used. Trailered boats are still not allowed on the reservoir. Inquire in Granby for updates. 05/09/2010 

Wolford Reservoir—The ice came off Wolford 4/22/10. The rainbows are spawning along the shoreline at the Day Use parking lot. The boat ramp will open May 1st. Hours of operation will be 7am to 7pm. Please bring your boat clean, drained, and dry. New this year will be a one-time $10 charge to cover ANS inspections costs and decontaminations equipment. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 866-472-4943 or visit us at Enjoy the 2010 open water season.

Yampa River (Hayden through Craig)—Spring runoff has begun on the Yampa. The river has muddied as flows increase, try moving up stream and fish early mornings. There are still good fishing opportunities, but they will be limited as we move into full run off. Try using big streamers along the banks or slow moving pools. Watch for bug activity, but it will be slow. A cold spell is your friend right now, as it will slow the water and the fish will get a little more active. 

Yampa River (Stagecoach through Steamboat)—The rain and snow are adding to the high level of the Yampa River. The Yampa River in downtown Steamboat Springs is murky and at a high level from all the melting snow and runoff. This creates unfavorable fishing conditions. However, if you are going to venture into the water, we recommend using: Large streamers in black, Brown and yellow cone-head streamers, Large stone flys


Animas River—The river is too high and muddy for effective fishing at this time. 

Beaver Creek Reservoir—The reservoir is now ice free and appears to be experiencing the spring turnover. Fishing for rainbow trout and some browns has been good. Salmon eggs and Power Bait have been getting the best results. 

Blue Mesa Reservoir—Water temps throughout the lake are in the mid-40’s. Lake trout fishing is fair trolling or jigging from 30-50 feet of water. Brown trout fishing is good jigging with marabou jigs tipped with mealworms along any of the rocky structures around the shorelines. Currently, Iola, Lake Fork and Elk Creek boat ramps are open from 6:00am to 8:30pm. 

Conejos County (high country lakes)—Conejos County has a variety of high country lakes that offer excellent trout fishing opportunities. Trout species include native cutthroats, brooks, browns and rainbows. Currently, high lakes in Conejos County are snow covered and inaccessible. Fishing is expected to be excellent throughout the summer as conditions improve. 

Conejos County (small streams)—Conejos County has a variety of small streams that offer excellent trout fishing opportunities. Trout species include native cutthroats, brooks, browns and rainbows. Currently, small streams in Conejos County are snow covered and inaccessible. Fishing is expected to be excellent throughout the summer as conditions improve. 

Conejos River—The road to Platoro is open and accessible. Flows on the Conejos are around 450 cfs on the lower river and 97 cfs below Platoro. Fishing conditions are fair to good. Be prepared for strong spring winds. Angling techniques include nymphing, spinners, and bait. The Conejos has two sections of special fishing regulation waters. The first is from the upper boundary of Aspen Glade campground to Menkhaven Resort: artificial flies only and a daily bag and possession limit of two trout 16 inches or longer. The second is from the confluence of the South Fork to the lower bridge at Platoro: artificial flies and lures only, with a daily bag and possession limit of two trout 16 inches or longer. 

Crawford Reservoir—The boat ramp at the peninsula is open and ready for anglers. You must have your boat inspected prior to launching at any time of the day. This past week, anglers have been catching limits of trout. Some of them have been reported as being up to 16 inches long. Pike are also starting to heat up. We have had some anglers that have caught pike up to almost 40 inches. We have had reports of a few crappie and perch, as well as some smaller catfish. Come out and throw in your line to see what comes out on the other side! 

Dolores River (lower)—The river below McPhee Reservoir is showing some promise for fly-fishing while other area rivers are running too high. The fishery has made a modest comeback over the last 3 years and there are some very nice rainbow and brown trout in this 12 mile section of tailwater. Check with the Dolores Water Conservancy District for latest releases below the dam at

Echo Canyon Reservoir—Trout fishing is typically very good this time of year right after ice off. The lake and boat ramp are open. Anglers are reporting good success for 14 inch catfish at the inlet. About 75 large rainbow trout broodstock were also stocked into Echo Lake a couple of weeks ago. 

Gunnison River (below Crystal Dam)—Flows are 632CFS and are on their way up, as the BuRec Spring Ramp-up will begin May 12th, with a peak of 3800cfs on the 18th if all goes according to plan. Color has been Gunnison Green, but that will change as well. BWOs on top, BWO emerges, RS2s, San Juan worms, #6 Woolly Buggers, egg patterns, #14 orange and green scuds, #10 GB Poxy Back Biot Stones, #12-16 GB Prince Nymphs, #16-20 Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails and Flashback PTs, and #10 20-Inchers and Halfbacks. 

Gunnison River (through the canyon)—The flow in the Gunnison Gorge is now 618 cfs. Fishing conditions are good and water is clear. Fishermen are using Caddis, San Juan Worms, Streamers, Egg Patterns, and Red Copper John’s. The North Fork is now running high, is off color, and is NOT low enough to wade to get to the Gunnison. Call Gunnison River Pleasure Park at 1-888-782-7542 for information on boat shuttle across the Gunnison. 

Haviland Lake—There has been some winterkill due to heavy snow and ice (see above). We will restock with catchable trout as soon as we can get a truck in there! (Maybe a week or so) 

Jackson Gulch Reservoir—No reports this week. Jackson can be very good for spring yellow perch and rainbow trout. 

Joe Moore Reservoir—The lake is probably ice free but no reports at this time. Joe Moore has a mix of rainbow trout, yellow perch, black crappie, and largemouth bass. Trout are mostly active this time of year.

La Jara Creek—Fishing on La Jara Creek has been fair for brown trout. Fishing has been best on worms and spinners. Flows are high at approximately 67 cfs and the water is off color. The gate at La Jara Creek State Wildlife Area will remain closed until the Thursday before Memorial Day. The creek on the State Wildlife Area is accessible by foot or horse.

La Jara Reservoir—The reservoir is open and accessible, and water conditions are good. Fishing pressure has been light. Fishing has been slow. Anglers should be prepared for strong spring winds. Good fishing for brook trout and splake is expected throughout the summer. 

Lemon Reservoir—No fishing reports are available at this time. Ice should be off. The lake level is very low and the boat ramp is probably going to be inaccessible for another week. 

McPhee Reservoir—Ice came off on April 12th. Main boat ramp is open and the lake is rising about 1 ft per day. Anglers report good catches of recently stocked rainbow trout. Walleye are also spawning against windswept rocky/rubbly shorelines. Walleye were illicitly stocked and there is no bag limit on walleye in McPhee Reservoir.

Mountain Home Reservoir—The lake recently was stocked with 3,700 catchable sized rainbow trout. Fishing for rainbows is reported as fair to good with the typical baits and lures. 

Narraguinnep Reservoir—Lake is open and full. Anglers are starting to pick up walleye against the rip-rap dam face. Walleye are in full spawning mode for the next couple of weeks. 

Navajo Reservoir—Start planning your fishing trip! Fishing improved dramatically this week for Crappie and Small mouth Bass. As water continues to warm Crappie fishing is improving on Minnows and Jigs. Pike fishing is very good at this time with spinner baits and kicking slab plastics. A few catfish have been reported taken on cut baits and dough baits. Visit the Marina for all your fishing needs. For current information call, (970)883-BOAT See you soon. 

Pastorius Reservoir—Winterkilled BUT we have restocked with catchable rainbows (10 inch) and 93 large broodstock rainbows (15-20+ inches). 

Piedra River—The river is too high and muddy for effective fishing at this time. 

Platoro Reservoir—Platoro reservoir is frozen and inaccessible. 

Puett Reservoir—The Lake is open and full. There are no fishing Reports at this time. 

Ridgway Fishing Ponds—The Pa-Co-Chu-Puk ponds of Ridgway State Park are excellent for children because they are the only water below the dam not restricted to artificial flies and lures or catch-and-release fishing. A limit of four trout per person may be kept there, by children and licensed adults, 16 years and older. Even though the ponds have not been stocked yet this season, the fishing is still very good. The ponds were stocked last Fall and there are many Rainbows still left over. Some of the larger, holdover rainbow trout from last season also are being caught. Try worms and red salmon eggs. 

Ridgway Reservoir—The lake is rising with the run off. The boat ramp is open as well as the Mussel Inspection Station. The water temperature is in the 40s and the fishing is still very good to excellent. 3,500 catchable-sized Hoffer/Tasmanian Trout were stocked this last week. Bank anglers have been doing well using night crawlers, red salmon eggs and silver or gold Kastmasters. The Brown trout are moving out of the Mear’s Bay area and into the main reservoir. Try using a short set of cow bells followed by a nightcrawler for a chance at a large Brown. Remember to have your boat clean, drained and dry when you come in to have it inspected before launching. Good luck fishing! 

San Juan River—The river is too high and muddy for effective fishing at this time. 

San Luis Lake—The boat ramp to San Luis Lake will be closed through May 15th to prepare for aquatic nuisance species boat inspections. The lake was recently stocked with 5,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout. Fishing is reported as fair for trout with the typical baits, and fair for carp on nymphs and streamers.

Sanchez Reservoir—The boat ramp will be closed from 8pm to 6am daily with aquatic nuisance species boat inspections taking place when the ramp is open. Spring fishing at Sanchez Reservoir is in gear. Fishing for walleyes and northern pike is reported as fair with crankbaits and jigs.

Smith Reservoir (San Luis Valley)—Smith Reservoir was drained last fall to repair the outlet structure. The reservoir was stocked with 750 14”+ fish mid-April and 2900 catchable size fish the last week of April. 

Summit Reservoir—We have reports of some dead fish along the shoreline. We had unusually deep snow for lower elevation lakes and as a result, some smaller, shallower lakes and pond may have winterkilled. A winterkill occurs not when the lake freezes solid but when the dissolved oxygen in the water becomes too low to support fish. Sometimes you can have pockets of water with better-dissolved oxygen conditions and some fish survive in these areas. We will restock with trout in the next week or so. 

Totten Reservoir—The lake is open and full. No fishing Reports at this time. 

Trujillo Meadows Reservoir—Trujillo Meadows Reservoir is frozen and inaccessible.

Uncompahgre River in Ridgway Park—Fishing on the river at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk is good to excellent. Flows are steady at 300 cfs. The low winter flows that negatively impacted the habitat for both fish and bugs are over. Many of the smaller rainbows that drifted down river this winter are returning, along with the bugs. Fishermen are doing well using a San Juan worm below a stimulator. Also, try a gold ribbed hare’s ear size 14 - 16. We have seen quite a few Rainbow as well as some larger Cutthroat Trout caught. The plan for the summer has the reservoir spilling again. That will raise the water temperature, allow better bug production and grow more fish. This should be another great year. 

Vallecito Reservoir—Ice is off as of last week. Look for spawning northern pike up in the shallows on the north end of the reservoir. The trout fishing has been very good in the inlets of the reservoir that are open. 

Williams Creek—Williams Creek below the Williams Creek Reservoir dam is high but fishable. 

Williams Creek Reservoir—The road is plowed to the lake (mud and snow still abound near the lake). There is about 30 feet of open water to the ice. Best fishing is right after ice out so grab your rods!


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