Colorado Division of Wildlife’s weekly fishing report, May 4, 2010

Seasonal Report: A Time of Excitement!

May is the time of year when anglers really start setting their sights on all the different fishing opportunities Colorado has to offer. Many waters that were iced-over are finally starting to break free from winter’s hold. Rivers and streams are gearing up for the impending spring run-off.

In the high country, muddy roads and trails can make getting to some waters a bit of a tricky proposition, but that won’t be enough to deter anglers from trying.

Hatchery trucks are making their way across the state, as more and more waters are opening up. In fact, hatchery trucks have been rolling since early March. This is also the time of year when anglers turn their attention to a valley south of Denver, where two of the state’s most sought after fisheries await them.

Antero Reservoir has opened and early reports indicate a severe winterkill did not take place, which is great news for this popular South Park fishery. Hefty holdovers from last year should add to the excitement and keep anglers busy with fish activity in full force. The trout are active, and have been taking a variety of baits, lures, and several different types of flies and egg patterns. Antero is open to hand carried watercraft and belly boats. Denver Water plans to open the reservoir’s south boat ramp to boating Tuesday, May 4. The north boat ramp will open later in the season.

And the good news just keeps coming in!

Spinney Mountain Reservoir is finally ice-free and opened for the season on May 1st, to angler’s delight. It took a bit longer than usual this year, but the opening of Spinney means the annual early-morning tradition where anglers from across the state flock to get a piece of the early season action. Ice-out at Spinney offers some of the best fishing in the state.  Active trout looking to feed will be cruising the shorelines in search of food and anglers will be more than happy to oblige, hoping to get that rush of excitement that comes from the strike of a hungry fish on the end of their line. All boats must be inspected for Aquatic Nuisance Species prior to launch. Boat Inspectors will be available beginning at 5:00 a.m. on opening day, and 1/2 hour before sunrise each day thereafter

Fishing opportunities will continue to expand as weather conditions improve and the sun returns.  Having Antero and Spinney at their disposal, should keep anglers content and eager to enjoy some Colorado fishin’!

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).

Fishing Tip of the Week: Go Fishing, Save Money, Have Fun

Colorado offers some of the best trout and warm water fishing to be had. Within the State of Colorado there are over 4,000 lakes reservoirs and ponds, along with 8,984 stream segments which total over 54,459 miles of streams. These numbers only reflect public water, not private.

This year the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) will stock over 3 million catchable trout statewide. In addition, the DOW will stock 407 high mountain lakes by aircraft and packhorse with over 412,000 cutthroats.

Quote of the Week
“There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind.
” — Washington Irving

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 04, 2010

Akron City Lake — Akron
Anticline Lake — Pueblo
Arkansas River #3b — Pueblo
Carter Reservoir — West of Loveland
Centennial Park Lake — South Central Denver
Cherry Creek Reservoir — South East Denver
Chipeta Lake — South of Montrose
City Park Lake — Denver
Corn Lake Grand — Junction water
Cowdrey Lake — North of Walden
Doty Park Pond — Brush
Echo Canyon Reservoir — South of Pagosa Springs
Flatiron Reservoir — West of Loveland
Fountain Lake — Pueblo
Glenmere Lake — Greeley
Hasty Lake — below John Martin Reservoir
Haxtun City Lake — Haxtun
Holyoke City Lake — Holyoke
Horseshoe Reservoir — Lathrop SP
Jackson’s Pond — South of Eads
Joe Moore Reservoir — NW of Mancos
Kissel Pond — Limon
Main Lake — Denver
Martin Lake — Lathrop SP
Midwestern Farm Pond — East of Lamar
Mountain Home Reservoir — East of Ft. Garland
Ordway Reservoir — Ordway
Overland Trail Park Pond — Sterling
Parachute Lake — Parachute
Pericles Pond — Ridgeway
Pinewood Reservoir — West of Loveland
Pueblo City Park Lake — Pueblo
Pueblo City Park Lake, (kids day plant) — Pueblo
Quincy Reservoir — Aurora
Ridgeway Reservoir — Ridgeway
Ridgway Reservoir —  North of Ridgway
Riverside Park Lake — Evans
Runyon Lake — Pueblo
San Luis Lake — East of Mosca
Severance City Pond — Town of Severance
Smith Lake, Washington Park — Denver
Smith Reservoir — South of Blanca
South Platte River #5 — Lake George
South Platte River #6 — Lake George
St Vrain State Park Coot Pond — Longmont
St Vrain State Park Mallard — Longmont
St Vrain State Park Pintail — Longmont
Trinidad Central Park Lake — Trinidad
Trinidad Central Park Lake — Trinidad
Trinidad Lake SP — Trinidad
Turks Pond — Two Buttes
West Lake — Grand Junction
Windsor Reservoir — Windsor
Wolford Mountain Reservoir — North of Kremmling


Colorado River (near Granby)—The spring runoff has started. Colder, snowy conditions have slowed it down, which affects flows and water clarity. The water flows below Windy gap and below Parshall are 101cfs and 206cfs 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. 5/02/2010 

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, but still closed to boating. The water is rising daily and is about 1 ft. from 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 lake opening. There should be some good pike activity along the shorelines with big streamers or baits.

Granby Reservoir—Granby Reservoir is still mainly covered with ice; there is open water at the south end of Rainbow Bay and at the Stillwater and Arapaho Creek inlets. Conditions are changing rapidly, but colder, snowy weather has slowed the melting. There is fishable open water from Shadow Mountain Dam downstream into Columbine Bay. Fishing is excellent this time of year. 5/02/2010 

Grand Lake—Grand Lake still has ice on it, but its melting fast. However, as usual, there is open water in the channel between Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain reservoir (areas are expanding at both ends) and at the West Portal. Fishing is very good. Recently, a nice 45 inch, 40 lb lake trout was caught and released. 5/02/2010 

Green Mountain Reservoir—The main part of the lake is still frozen over. However, the ice is rotten and not safe. There is open water from the inlet to Black Creek. There is also open water at the flume, by the dam, and Cataract Bay for shore fishing. All the campgrounds are still gated and locked. 

Lake John—Lake John is still ice covered with very little open water off the North point. Once the open water has a better hold the ice will be gone very quickly. 

Muddy Creek—Currently the flow discharging into the muddy creek is 15 cfs. Fisherman are doing well catching nice quality rainbows.

Pearl Lake—4/16/10 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—Much 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. 05/02/2010

Stagecoach Reservoir—The reservoir is completely ice free and offers abundant fishing from the bank or hand launched water craft. The reservoir will open to boating May 1st and a boat inspection for aquatic nuisance species is required prior to launching. Anglers at the inlet have been catching several small to medium size fish (12-15”) using worms or powerbait. 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—4/16/10 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

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. 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. 05/02/2010 

Willow Creek Reservoir—Rainbow, brown trout and Kokanee salmon are available. Ice fishing was good and the reservoir is still ice covered, 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. 05/02/2010 

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. 

ampa River (Hayden through Craig)—Spring has sprung on the Yampa. If you were waiting for the early season/big fish season, well you missed it. 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 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)—Yampa River has been “on fire”. The river thru town is fishing great. The inlets at the local lakes are just starting to fish. The river has the best production with darker stonefly nymphs (size 8-14) on a lead fly with a San Juan worm as a second. The rubber leg San Juan’s are working best. The nymphing is the most common with some dry fly midge action on the cloud covered warmer days. The water clarity has been good with the river getting muddy in the afternoon, but not much. The runoff has not started yet. The spring fishing has been some of the best anybody can remember.


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

Blue Mesa Reservoir—Ice is still holding on. Safe ice fishing conditions still exist throughout Iola basin and into the canyon section west to Elk Creek Marina. Look for fishable open water to occur around the 10th to 15th and boat-able open water from the 20th to 25th of this month. Ice out conditions mean peak fishing for browns along the shorelines and lake trout cruising the shallows. Some of the best fishing of the season will occur from ice out through late May. 

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. 

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 (through the canyon)—The flow in the Gunnison Gorge is now 632 cfs. Fishing conditions are good and water is clear. Fishermen are using Caddis, San Juan Worms, Streamers, Egg Patterns, and Red Copper John’s. There are some May Flies possible recently. 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. 

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. 

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—Fishing is slightly better, as water is warming slowly. Crappie fishing fair on Chartreuse grubs, jigs and minnows. Bass fishing is slow on plastics and crank baits. Pike fishing is slow near rocky points. Fishing should improve very soon as water warms. Live bait is available at marina. 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 they 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 runoff. 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. Some 11,000 catchable-sized trout were stocked the end of March. Bank anglers have been doing well using night crawlers, red salmon eggs and silver or gold Kastmasters. The Brown trout are in the Mear’s Bay area. Two boys fishing near the boat dock caught a 3 1/2 pound Brown on a gold Kastmaster last Sunday the 18th. 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. 

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 excellent. Flows are up to 300 cfs. The low winter flows that negatively impacted the habitat for both fish and bugs are over. Many of the smaller rainbows drifted down river this winter but are returning, along with the bugs. I saw several people fishing (Sunday 25 April) with San Juan worms and stimulators. They landed and released quite a few Rainbow as well as several larger Cutthroat Trout. 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 could 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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