Colorado Division of Wildlife’s weekly fishing report — June 29, 2010
Seasonal Report: July Preview
When people think of July, they think of fireworks, burgers and dogs on the grill, swimming pools and ways to find relief from the hot summer days. Relief can often be found in the mountains of Colorado. Not only are the higher elevations a little cooler, they also offer exciting possibilities for fishing.
Most, if not all, of the higher elevation lakes will be ice-free by the end of July. Many require a bit of a hike to get to, which only adds to the adventure. Anglers can find good action for browns, brooks, cutthroats and rainbows in the mountain waters of Colorado. Streams and beaver ponds are great places where anglers can find fishing success.
For anglers at lower elevations, fishing patterns will soon become more predictable. Early mornings and evenings are typically the most productive fishing times.
Walleye, bass and wipers are a few of the warm-water species most commonly caught in July.
Fishing for walleye and catfish at night can be very rewarding for those anglers willing to try their luck in the dark. Bass can also be taken in the evenings, using top-water baits.
Waters in the Denver Metro area are an excellent way to spend an evening unwinding after a long day at work and can yield some surprising results.
Fly fishing anglers can look forward to most rivers and streams returning to normal flows, as the run-off continues to die down. Summertime hatches, such as pale-morning-dun mayflies, Yellow Sally stoneflies, large green drake mayflies and Trico mayflies, will soon be hatching on rivers, streams and lakes in Colorado. Fly fishing generally improves in the month of July.
With the dog days of summer on their way, July is a great time to take advantage of the multiple fishing resources this great state has to offer.
Quote of the Week
“When you are on the river, ocean or in the woods, you are the closest to the truth you’ll ever get” — Jack Leonard
Alta Lake, Lower — South West of Telluride
Andrews Lake — South West of Silverton
Beaver Lake — South of Carbondale
Crystal River #1 — South of Carbondale
Crystal River #2 — South of Carbondale
Dolores River #4 — Town Dolores to West Fork of Dolores River
Dolores River #5 — West Fork to Headwaters
Dolores River, West Fork — North West of Stoner
Dowdy Lake — Red Feathers
Elkhead Reservoir — West of Craig
Fruita Reservoir #2 — Near Fruita
Georgetown Lake — Georgetown
Golden Gate state Park — Near Blackhawk
Grizzly Reservoir — Northeast of Aspen
Gypsum Ponds — Near Gypsum
Island Lake — South of Carbondale
Le Platt Lake — Bayfield
Mary’s Lake — Central City
McKee Lake — South of Carbondale
Mesa Lake — Grand Mesa
Mix Lake — Platoro
Molas Lake, Big — South West of Silverton
Pastorius Reservoir — South East of Durango
Pine Valley Ranch — Pine
Platoro Reservoir — Platoro
Riverside Ponds — Salida
Sands Lake — Salida
Smith Reservoir — Blanca
Stabilization Reservoir — San Luis
Sunset Lake — Grand Mesa
Vallecito Reservoir — North of Bayfield
Ward Creek Reservoir — Grand Mesa
Ward Lake — Grand Mesa
Wolford Mountain Reservoir — North of Kremmling
Colorado River (Glenwood to Rifle)—It won’t last long, but some of the better fishing on the Collie is happening right now, right here through Glenwood. The Caddis have showed up and they’ve done it with a vengeance. HUGE numbers of winged insects have been working their way up stream and huge numbers of heavy hungry fish have been working their way to the surface to eat them. Floating is going to be the best way to hook into these fish, but before you make the trek, give us a call for current conditions as they are changing on a daily basis. Time is of the essence folks, it’s time to get up here. And if you do get here, and for some reason the Collie doesn’t happen, you can always fish the Fork or the Pan.
Colorado River (near Granby)—The spring runoff continues to slow down. The water flows below Windy gap and below Parshall are 818cfs and 919cfs respectively. Copper Johns, RS-2s, Prince nymphs, stone fly nymphs and other emerger patterns, San Juan worms and egg patterns will do well as the river settles down. Hatches should make caddis, pale duns, 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. 6/27/2010
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—There is some open water on the Delaneys. East Delaney is about 95% open. Fisherman are having fair to good success 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 the water is rising daily and the reservoir is full. The water will remain muddy for some time so be patient a couple of weeks and things will improve. ANS inspections will continue again this summer and will be the driving force for the boat ramp opening and closing schedule.
Frying Pan River—The flows have been at around 660cfs over the last few days. We’re 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. The BWO hatch is gaining strength. Look for a string of good weather followed by a nice overcast day to produce one of the Pan’s most prolific hatches!
Granby Reservoir—Both Stillwater and Sunset Point boat ramps are open. Trolling deeper using deep diving lures, lead line, and downriggers can find kokanee and lake trout. Jigging has also become more productive. Fly fishing the inlet streams, the Colorado river below Shadow Mountain and Arapaho Creek is very good. 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. Natural water flows are still up, coming in from Stillwater and Arapaho creeks, which carry food that attracts fish and helps keep fishing good. Arapaho Bay has also been a very productive area. Worms have been working better than usual. 6/27/2010
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. 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. The only boat ramp open on Grand Lake is at the east end. Bank fishing is good from the public areas. Worms and lures are popular. 6/27/2010
Green Mountain Reservoir—Due to the lake rising about a foot a day the fishing is slow. Trout are being caught on nightcrawlers, red 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 http://22.214.171.124/view/index.shtml
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; however, the canal pumps have not been run for some time. This causes the fishing productivity to drop off. 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 steady and the river, down to the lake is fishing well. All species of fish that reside in the reservoir are being caught in the spillway area. 6/27/2010
Stagecoach Reservoir—The water level at the tailwaters has been fluctuating and the reservoir is spilling over the dam. RS2’s, PMDs, zebra midges, and barr emergers have been working well for fly fishing. The redds are down and fenced for protection so please be aware of footing and stay off the beds. Stagecoach State Park asks anglers at the tailwaters to be aware of overcrowding on the river. Pike activity has picking up with warming water temperatures around 60 degrees. Rainbow trout have been hitting on brightly colored power bait, Kastmasters, and rooster tails. Mainly stocker size trout around 13” have been landed with a few reports of 4-6 lb trout. Releasing stocker size trout will ensure for an ample catch next year. A boat inspection for aquatic nuisance species is required prior to launching.
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 http://126.96.36.199/view/index.shtml
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. The “Fingers” have also seen many fish caught. Last report received, the pike were still in the shallows, exciting many fishermen; floating Rapalas, “poppers”, and other surface lures are effective (worms and sucker meat are also still popular). However, getting the pike to bite has been difficult. Rainbows have been plentiful and large. 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. 6/27/2010
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 (working well), Powerbait, salmon eggs and many different lures are commonly used. Catch rates have stayed 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. 6/27/2010
Wolford Reservoir—No fishing report available
Yampa River (Hayden through Craig)—spring runoff is in full swing on the Yampa. The river has muddied as flows increase, try moving up stream and fish early mornings. We are in peak runoff so try some of the local lakes that are fishing great.
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 500 cfs on the lower river and 320 cfs below Platoro. Fishing conditions are good. Salmon flies, Caddis, and Mayflies are hatching and fish are feeding on dry flies. Angling techniques include nymphing, dry/droppers (e.g. stimulator dry fly followed by stonefly nymph), 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.
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. Stone flies are moving up from below Smith Fork. Fishermen are using Red San Juan Worms, Wooly Buggers and Stone Fly Nymphs, Lots of caddis - big with orange #12. Nymphs first thing in the morning. Yellow Sallies are hot, along with big Pat’s Rubber Legs. The North Fork is lower now and starting to clear and fishermen will soon be able to wade it. Call Gunnison River Pleasure Park at 1-888-782-7542 for information on boat shuttle across the Gunnison.
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 15 cfs. Water is clear and 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 temp is 69 degrees and the water is clear. Pike Fishing is excellent trolling with floating jointed Rapalas. Small mouth Bass fishing is fair with tubes and crankbaits. Catfish are still being caught with doughbaits. Crappie fishing is very slow. 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 excellent. 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. 10,000 catchable-sized Rainbow Trout were stocked (6/2/10), more than 25,000 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 for a chance at a large Brown. Several larger (7 pound class) Brown Trout have been caught since the end of May. 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 is too high and muddy for effective fishing at this time!
San Luis Lake—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 stocked 1,000 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 popgear and nightcrawlers working the best for Rainbows. Off the shore with suckmeat 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 getting better and many fish are being caught. Flows are down again this week at about 400 cfs - just about the seasonal average. The smaller rainbows that drifted down river this winter are returning. Fishermen are doing well using a San Juan worm or gold ribbed hare’s ear. The water temperature in the river is rising, allowing better bug production and growing more fish. This should be another great year.
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.