Colorado Division of Wildlife’s weekly fishing report — July 13, 2010

Seasonal Report — Fishing the High Country

With the hot summer days at lower elevations, anglers can look to the high country for other opportunities to find fish. Many alpine lakes have been ice free for several weeks now; others may have just lost their winter skin, making them ideal spots to find hungry fish.

High mountain lakes, rivers and streams not only offer a brief reprieve from the heat, but they also give anglers beautiful backdrops and scenery, in which to fish. Getting to some of these mountain gems can be an adventure in-and-of-itself, as many waters require a bit of a walk or hike to get to.

Many alpine lakes are less than an hour away from Denver. The Mount Evans Wilderness area, south of Idaho Springs, has several different lakes to choose from. Clear Lake, Echo Lake, Silver Dollar Lakes and Summit Lake are just a few of the cool mountain waters that await you during the mid-summer heat.  Some of these lakes have trails that will lead you to them, while others are just off the road. A backpack with fishing gear, food and water will make a good companion while enjoying these pristine mountain fisheries.

Trappers Lake, in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, is one of Colorado’s largest natural lakes. The lake has an abundant population of self-sustaining Colorado River cutthroats. Another popular fishery in the White River National Forest is Lake Avery. The inlet side of the lake can be especially productive for large rainbows using worms and PowerBait and various flies and lures.

Backpacking adventurists can also look east of the Flat Tops to lakes such as, Heart Lake, Blue Lake, Chapman Reservoir, Sheriff Reservoir and Crosho Lake. A hike through the Routt National Forest offers beautiful scenery, along with the challenge of the trail, as you make your way to your fishing destination.

Heading southwest out of the town of Telluride, are several high mountain waters. Woods Lake State Wildlife Area and Trout Lake, just east of Lizard Head Pass can be accessed by a short hike off the roadway. Others, such as, Alta Lakes, Lake Hope & Blue Lake will take a bit more persistence, and hiking. That persistence will pay off in the way of big rainbows, brown trout, brook trout and cutthroat trout.

Whenever you venture out into the woods, always keep in mind that the weather can turn on you in a hurry.  Be sure that you are prepared in the event that a storm rolls through the area. If camping is allowed, please remember that you are in bear country. Properly dispose of any trash or food items that might attract other hungry critters.

Recent Stocking

Alexander Lake — Grand Mesa
Andrews Lake — 37 miles north of Durango on Hwy 550
Arkansas River #3B — Below Pueblo Reservoir
Arvada Reservoir — West Denver
Bear Lake — La Veta
Big Molas Lake — 40 miles north of Durango on Hwy 550
Blue Lake — La Veta
Breckenridge Reservoir — Breckenridge
Buena Vista Kids Pond — Buena Vista
Carp Lake — Grand Mesa
Chatfield Reservoir — South Denver
Cherry Creek Reservoir — South East Denver
Copper Mountain Pond — Southwest of Frisco
DeWeese Reservoir — Westcliffe
East Fork San Juan River — 8 miles North East of Pagosa Springs on Hwy 160
Emerald Lake — Leadville
Fraser Lions Club Pond — Fraser
Granby City Pond — Granby
Grand Lake — East of the town of Grand Lake
Haviland Lake — 20 miles north of Durango on Hwy 550
Hayden Meadows Reservoir — Leadville
Lost Man Reservoir — East of Aspen on Independence Pass Road
Maroon Lake — South of Aspen
Meadow Creek Reservoir — East of Granby
O’Haver Reservoir — Poncha Springs
Officer Gulch Pond — Southwest of Frisco
Pothole Lake #1 — Almont      
Pothole Lake #2 — Almont        
Pueblo Reservoir — West of Pueblo
San Cristobal Lake — Lake City
San Juan River #2 — San Juan River in Pagosa Springs
Sands Lake — Salida
Shadow Mountain Reservoir — Granby
Taylor Reservoir — Almont
Trent Pond — Silverthorne
Urad Mine Lake — Empire
West Fork Lakes — At the western base of Wolf Creek Pass
Willow Creek Reservoir — Granby          


Colorado River (near Granby)—The spring runoff continues to slow down. The water flows below Windy gap and below Parshall are 400cfs and 564cfs respectively. Copper Johns, RS-2s, Prince nymphs, stone fly nymphs and other emerger patterns, San Juan worms and egg patterns are doing well. Chartreuse wooly buggers also are working. Hatches should make caddis, pale duns, yellow sallies, and other dry flies productive. 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. 7/11/2010

Crystal River—Do not curse the Whitefish! Under appreciated, especially here in Colorado, the mountain whitefish is more of a sub-surface feeder and is usually not thought of as aesthetically pleasing as trout. In other states they readily rise to dries and many anglers are disappointed after working a pod of rising fish to hook and discover they have been fishing to “White fish”! Here in Colorado they rarely feed on the surface, but take nymphs readily. Especially for kids and new comers to our great sport, the “white fish” is a great sport fish. Once you locate them, they can provide hours of enjoyment. They are great to learn proper nymphing techniques such as, how to set the hook, how to fight, land and properly release fish.

Delaney Buttes—The fishing action on the Delaneys is really picking up. Anglers are having good, to excellent success for big trout, using a variety of dry flies and hardware.

Dillon Reservoir—The launch ramp at the Dillon Marina will be open 8:30am to 5:30pm daily weather permitting. The only boat launching areas will be at the Dillon and Frisco marinas. All boats launched and retrieved at the Dillon Marina will require an Invasive Species Inspection. We recommend that you check ahead with the marinas staff for hours of operation before you launch or retrieve your vessel. Inspection station hours will vary during the year depending on weather and time of season. We recommend that you check ahead with the marinas staff for hours of operation. The launch ramp at the Dillon Marina will be open 8:30am to 5:30pm daily weather permitting. The only boat launching areas will be at the Dillon and Frisco marinas. Phone (970) 468-5100 for information.

Elkhead Reservoir—The reservoir is open to fishing and boating daily and the reservoir is full. The water has improved in clarity and the fish are on. We are seeing large Crappies holding in structure areas. Small Mouth have finished spawning and are headed to deeper water. Good size Pike are being caught and not as many hammer handles as last year. ANS inspections will continue again this summer and will be the driving force for the boat ramp opening and closing schedule.

Frying Pan River – Depending on the stretch of the river, flows have been around 13cfs to 164cfs. We’re still seeing fish actively feeding on shrimp. Sight fishing on the flats is just about as much fun as you can have on the Upper Pan right now.

Granby Reservoir—Trolling deeper using deep diving lures, lead line, and downriggers can find kokanee and lake trout. Jigging is very productive. Fly fishing the inlet streams, the Colorado river below Shadow Mountain and Arapaho Creek is very good; streamers, wooly buggers, emergers egg patterns, and some dry flies are working well. Rainbows can be found all around the reservoir. The water level is higher than it has been in years, covering ground that has not been covered for quite some time; these areas are new feeding grounds for the fish. Fishing the Stillwater and Arapaho inlet areas continues to be productive. Arapaho Bay is also fishing well. Bank fishing is good, especially in the early morning and late evening. Worms are working better than usual. 7/11/2010

Grand Lake—This lake is over 270’ deep. It can be difficult, but very rewarding to learn to fish this lake. Very large lake trout, nice rainbows, browns, and kokanee salmon are available. Trolling, jigging, bait, lure, and fly fishing are all productive ways of catching these fish. Belly boats are useful. Trolling for kokanee is working well. Lake trout are still being caught in less than ten feet on lures. Two prime bank fishing areas are the mouth of the channel and around the West Portal. From Oct. 1st-June30th, all lakers 26-36 inches long must be released immediately. Rapalas, Kastmasters, and Blue Fox spinners are only some of the lures used. Jigging with sucker and shiner meat is common. Bank fishing is good from the public areas. Worms and lures are popular. 7/11/2010

Green Mountain Reservoir—Trout are being caught on nightcrawlers, power bait or salmon eggs.

Pearl Lake—6/22/10 Anglers are having some luck at Pearl. As usual though, it is a very picky lake to fish. No reports of any Grayling caught yet as of last weekend. All areas and campground are open and fishing is good until the wind kicks up. Remember all boats on trailers have to be inspected before launching. CLEAN DRAINED and DRY are the key words for a fast inspection. 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—Most of this reservoir is shallow, but trolling the channel, spin or bait fishing the east shoreline north of the dam can be productive. The south boat ramp area can also be good. Fishing the pump canal and below the dam can be highly rewarding using flies, slip bobber rigs, lures, and nightcrawlers on the bottom. The canal pumps are being run again, making the canal and the area where it enters the reservoir, prime fishing sights. Small jigs tipped with wax worms, mealworms, power bait or eggs are commonly used. The south boat ramp is open. The flow rate below the dam is low, but the spillway and the river is fishing well. All species of fish that reside in the reservoir are being caught in the spillway area. 7/11/2010

Stagecoach Reservoir—Egg pattern flies have been working well for fly fishing the tailwaters below the dam. The redds are down and fenced for protection so please be aware of footing and stay off the beds. The road from the Stagecoach dam to Service Creek is open. Pike activity has been slow with the water temperatures around 64 degrees. Rainbow trout have been hitting on brightly colored power bait, rapalas, kastmasters & spoons. Mainly stocker size trout around 14” have been landed with a few reports of 4-6 lb trout. A boat inspection for aquatic nuisance species is required prior to launching. The water level in the reservoir will begin to be lowered in mid July for a construction project at the dam and will be closed to boating this year starting September 7th.

Steamboat Lake—6/22/10 Fishing is going fast and furious right now. All anglers are having luck with just about everything, both bait and lure. All areas are open and fishing is good until the wind kicks up. Remember all boats on trailers have to be inspected before launching. CLEAN DRAINED and DRY are the key words for a fast inspection. Use this link to view our Hahn’s Peak web cam that we turned so you can see the cove behind the Visitor Center

Trappers Lake—The last of the ice came off the lake this past week. No current fishing report is available at this time

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

Williams Fork Reservoir—Rainbow and brown trout, lake trout, northern pike and Kokanee are available. Boat inspections and ramp access are from 6:00AM to 8:00PM seven days a week; ramps are closed at night. Bank fishing is staying good at the inlet and by the east boat ramp. Rainbows have been plentiful and large. Bait fishing using bottom rigs, jigs, trolling worm harnesses are productive methods of catching fish as well as lures and fly fishing. 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. 7/11/2010

Willow Creek Reservoir—Rainbow, brown trout and Kokanee salmon are available. This is a beautiful area with easy fishing access around the boat ramp area and the next bay. If a person likes to hike, taking the trail to inlet area can be rewarding. 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. Catch rates are good, making the fishermen happy. Trailered boats are still not allowed on the reservoir. Fly fishing is also very productive from shore and out of canoes and belly boats. Inquire in Granby for updates. Over the 4th of July holiday, most visitors caught many fish. 7/11/2010

Wolford Reservoir—No fishing report available

Yampa River (Hayden through Craig)—The Yampa has cleared and is dropping fast. Fishing has been very good all through the valley. Fishing dry flies as well as streamers is very effective right now. Rapalas and rooster tails are working like a charm. Fish early or late, mid day seems to be slow right now.

Yampa River (Stagecoach through Steamboat)—The water is high but clear, and water level is going down every day. The fishing is good, and we recommend using nymphs and streamers. Dry fly fishing should pick up next week. Use PMDs and yellow sallies. The conditions for the lakes remain consistent.


Beaver Creek Reservoir—The Colorado Division of Wildlife will be raising the level of the water at Beaver Creek Reservoir to approximately 20’ below the spillway. The water level will be maintained at this level so that state engineers can inspect the dam and related structures. The water may need to be maintained at that level for the entire summer. However, fishing continues at the reservoir and the fish will likely become more concentrated with less water in the reservoir. Several reports indicate anglers are having good success and catching their limits. Anglers are advised to be cautious on the steep-sided slopes.

Blue Mesa Reservoir—Salmon fishing is beginning to pick up with fish being caught at 10-20 feet around the Iola Basin or Sapinero Basin areas. Lake trout are still being caught trolling from 80-100 feet. Browns and small lakers can be caught jigging along the rocky shorelines early morning and late evening or trolling minnow type baits from 20-45 feet. Boat ramps are now open from 5:30am to 9pm.

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. Fishing is expected to be excellent throughout the summer.

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, conditions on small streams in Conejos County are changing daily. Flows on many streams are good. Fishing is expected to be excellent throughout the summer.

Conejos River—Flows on the Conejos are around 320 cfs on the lower river and 224 cfs below Platoro. Fishing conditions are excellent. Caddis, and Mayflies are hatching and fish are feeding on dry flies. Angling techniques also include dry/droppers (e.g. stimulator dry fly followed by stonefly nymph), 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 Iron Creek launch area 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 regularly catching crappie, and catfish. We have had reports of some VERY large catfish. Chicken livers seem to be the bait of choice. 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 back down to a very fishable 70 cfs. Large browns have made a comeback over the last 3 years and the forecast is for a good summer.

Echo Canyon Reservoir—Trout fishing is tapering off. Fishing for warm water species is picking up. Largemouth bass are beginning to spawn.

Groundhog Reservoir—Good for smaller rainbow trout and the occasional 14-16 inch cutthroat or Cutbow hybrid trout.

Gunnison River (below Crystal Dam)—Flows are 660CFS. Clarity slowly getting back to Gunnison Green. Look for Caddis on top; try Lafontaine Caddis Pupa, Pulsating caddis below. #16 PMDs on top. Also keep an eye out for large stone flies that have flown up river, a treat. Also standards like: #6 Woolly Buggers, #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. Keep and eye out for stones in the Warner area. May see some flyers coming up into the lower portal soon.

Gunnison River (through the canyon)—The flow in the Gunnison Gorge is now steady at 660 cfs. Fishing conditions have been excellent recently. Fishermen are using Red San Juan Worms, Copper Johns, PMDs and starting to use hoppers, plus caddis - big with orange #12. Nymphs first thing in the morning. Yellow Sallies are hot, along with big Pat’s Rubber Legs and Chernobyl ants. The North Fork is lower now and starting to clear and fishermen are wading it. Call Gunnison River Pleasure Park at 1-888-782-7542 for other information.

Haviland Lake—Good for 10 inch rainbow trout on Powerbait. Woolly buggers are also working well.

Jackson Gulch Reservoir—No fishing information is available at this time.

Joe Moore Reservoir—Joe Moore has a mix of rainbow trout, yellow perch, black crappie, and largemouth bass. The water is warming and that should improve the fishing conditions for crappie and bass.

La Jara Creek—Fishing on La Jara Creek has been good for brown trout. Fishing techniques include worms, spinners, and artificial flies. Flows are at approximately 11 cfs. Water is clear and low. Fish spook easily so anglers should take a stealthy approach.

La Jara Reservoir—The reservoir is open and accessible, and water conditions are good. Fishing pressure has been light. Fishing has been fair. Good fishing for brook trout and splake is expected throughout the summer.

Lemon Reservoir—The lake has been stocked and some anglers report catching large brown trout near small tributary inputs to the lake on Rapalas.

McPhee Reservoir—The reservoir is at full pool. The smallmouth bass fishing has really picked up over the last couple of weeks. Black crappie are larger this year than they have been in recent memory. Try a white jig for crappie, bass, and yellow perch. Anglers are also picking up rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. Although quality walleye are relatively abundant in the reservoir, not many anglers have found the key to catching them. Look for walleye around schools of kokanee.

Mountain Home Reservoir—This lake was recently 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 full. Walleye fishing has been fair to good using worms on a harness.

Navajo Reservoir—Water is clear at 70 degrees. Fishing for pike is good on spinners and crank baits. Bass fishing is good on plastic worms and crankbaits. Catfishing is fair on cut bait and dough baits. Crappie fishing is slow on grubs and minnows. The lake is in good shape for all water activities. We have live minnows and worms here at the marina. Stop in and visit and tell us your fish story! For more info call (970) 883-BOAT.

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 open and accessible. Water conditions are good. Fishing has been good on spinners and bait for browns and rainbows. Fishing for kokanee has been fair.

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. The ponds were stocked again (17 June 2010). Fishing continues to be good. Some of the larger, holdover rainbow trout from last season also are being caught. Try worms and red salmon eggs. Fly fishermen could try a Black Woolly Bugger or gold ribbed hare’s ear size #14. Good luck!

Ridgway Reservoir—The lake is full and holding steady just below spilling. Fishing is very good. Another 4,000 catchable-sized Rainbow Trout were stocked just before the 4th of July, more than 30,000 this season. Bank anglers have been doing well using night crawlers, green power bait, red salmon eggs and silver or gold Kastmasters. Woolley Buggers are working too. The Brown trout are out of the Mear’s Bay area and in the main reservoir. Try using a short set of cow bells followed by a nightcrawler or a jointed Rapala early in the mornings or late evenings, trolling slowly in the shade for a chance at a large Brown Trout. Remember to have your boat clean, drained and dry when you come in to have it inspected before launching. Good luck fishing!

Rio Grande River—The river is clearing and dropping. A moderate salmon fly hatch is occurring; however, the trout don’t seem to be targeting them quite yet.

Road Canyon Reservoir—The Colorado Division of Wildlife has investigated the extent of a recent winter fish kill at Road Canyon Reservoir. DOW aquatic biologists sampled the reservoir and found that brook trout have overwintered in the reservoir. However, no rainbow trout were collected. The reservoir will be restocked with rainbow trout the week of May 24th and throughout the summer to rebuild the fishery

San Juan River—The river has settled down and conditions are great. The water flows are 172 CFS.

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.

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 stocked 1000 large (12-14 inch) rainbow trout last week. Look for improving conditions for largemouth bass, bluegill, and crappie.

Taylor Reservoir—Everything is biting! Nothing is in the shallows anymore except the Pike. Macks are at about 45-50 feet deep and all suspended in deeper water. Trolling with Rapalas, Apex’s and many other lures are working. Brown trout & silver with blue and chartreuse with white are all popular patterns. Trolling with pop gear and nightcrawlers is working the best for Rainbows. Off the shore with sucker meat seems to be working the best for Pike.

Trujillo Meadows Reservoir—Trujillo Meadows Reservoir is open and accessible. Fishing for brown trout and rainbows has been good. Fishing has been best on spinners, fly and bubble rigs, and worms fished off the bottom.

Uncompahgre River in Ridgway Park—Fishing on the river at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk is running at about 48 degrees. Fishing is slow but should pick up as the weather warms. Flows are steady at about 400 cfs, just above the seasonal average. Grasshoppers are starting to show up! Try a “parachute hopper”. Good luck.

Vallecito Reservoir—Recent fishing tournament returned slow results for pike, smallmouth bass and trout. However, one 18 lb pike was captured during the tournament. Bass fishing should pick up on warmer days. Also, large magnum trout will be periodically stocked over the summer.

Williams Creek—Anglers report a stonefly hatch on the Creek, which typically produces outstanding opportunities to capture hungry trout!

Williams Creek Reservoir—Good for brook and rainbow trout but fish starting to move deeper with warmer weather and clear water conditions. Try worms or flies on the surface in the evenings.


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