Colorado DOW weekly fishing report, April 20, 2010

The Season of Transition

Take a look around; trees are blossoming, birds are out to greet us in the morning and the days are getting longer. Things are changing all around us and with that change, comes a period of transition. The time of year when Mother Nature is still trying to decide whether it’s time for shorts or jackets. That transition from winter to spring was evident this past week as another round of showers and cooler temperatures swept through the state. The cooler temperatures should help keep the mountain snowpack tight, for now, and hard-water fishermen content that there’s still time for a few more rounds of ice fishing. Pre-spawning rainbows and cutthroats should be actively looking to feed, which can make for some exciting early season action. Rainbows and cutthroats will soon begin spawning in areas where ice isn’t present. Anglers are advised to keep an eye out for “redds” or fish egg nests along gravel areas, riffles and possibly even lake shorelines, for the next few weeks. The Arkansas River caddis hatch is in full swing and the BWO action along the river from Leadville down through Buena Vista and Salida has also begun to pick up. River flows along the Arkansas are also starting to strengthen and will continue to do so as we get farther along into spring and early summer. Now is a good time to experience the river before the run-off really picks up and muddies up the water. For warm water species, action is still slow, but spring offers the promise of hot summer days, warmer waters and feisty fish. As temperatures start to rise with more consistency, warm water fishing will begin to attract anglers to some of the warm water fisheries across the state. Soon, winter’s chill will be a distant memory, as anglers start gearing up for the prime fishing season!

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).

Safety Tip  

We decided to vary the format for this week and include a very important safety tip instead of the Fishing Tip of the Week. The Fishing Tip of the Week will return next week.

Hypothermia is the effect of cold conditions, water or wind on the body’s temperature. More cases of hypothermia are reported each year during the spring and summer than in the fall or winter. Outdoors enthusiasts tend to be better prepared for colder temperatures but fail to realize the danger of hypothermia is always present given the right conditions.

Hypothermia or, cold-related illness as it is referred to, is the process when the body loses heat, (specifically to its vital organs) at a rate faster than it can be produced. This cooling off of the body core can be fatal if it is not addressed in the early stages.

Normal body temperature is 98.6 ° Fahrenheit or (37 ° Celsius) hypothermia will occur when the body’s temperature falls below 96 ° Fahrenheit or (35.5 ° Celsius). The initial symptoms of hypothermia may not be noticed, as this is a gradual process usually beginning with confusion and difficulty thinking.

Older adults, infants, younger children and individuals who have low body fat may be more at risk for hypothermia when subjected to lower temperatures. This is especially true if they have other illnesses, or are on medications which may affect the body’s ability to regulate its core temperature. There have been cases of older individuals developing mild hypothermia in their own home from the use of air-conditioners. Others at greater risk for hypothermia are drug or alcohol abusers.

Quote of the Week

“Something to think about: If you fish the wrong fly long and hard enough, it will sooner or later become the right fly.”—John Gierach

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:
Anticline Lake — Pueblo
Axial Basin Lake — Between Meeker and Craig
Barr Lake — Brighton
Black Hole Pond at Two Buttes — South of Lamar
Brighton City Park Lake — Brighton
Chipeta Lake — South of Montrose
Clay Creek Pond — Lamar Higbee SWA
Confluence Lake — Delta
Corn Lake — Grand Junction
Craig City Pond — Craig  
Craig Justice Center Pond — Craig
Fountain Lake — Pueblo
Highline Lake — North of Loma
Island Acres — Lake Palisade
Las Animas Pond — Las Animas
Mann-Nyholt Lake — Adams County Fairgrounds
McPhee Reservoir —  Dolores
Nottingham Lake — Town of Avon
Pastorius Reservoir — South of Durango
Pike View Reservoir — Colorado Springs
Prospect Lake — Colorado Springs
Quail Lake — Colorado Springs
Rifle Pond — South in Rifle
Runyon Lake — Pueblo
Standley Lake — North West Denver
Turks Pond — East of Springfield (BFE)
Ute Park Lake — In Montrose
Willow Creek Pond #1 — Fountain
Willow Creek Pond #2 — Fountain


Colorado River (near Granby)—Winter fishing has been good below Parshall and the rest of the river is now open. The water flows below Windy gap and below Parshall are 224cfs and 272cfs respectively. Copper Johns, RS-2s, Prince nymphs and other emerger patterns, San Juan worms and egg patterns are doing well. Stone Fly nymphs have already been effective. Lure fishing is good. 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.

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 covered with ice, no open water on the reservoir itself. Some are still ice fishing at their own risk; conditions are changing rapidly so this activity is not recommended. There is fishable open water at the mouth of Arapaho Creek and from Shadow Mountain Dam downstream into Columbine Bay. Fishing is excellent this time of year. 4/18/2010

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 (large areas at both ends) and at the West Portal. Fishing has been good. 4/18/2010

Green Mountain Reservoir—The lake is still frozen over. However, the ice is rotten and not safe. There is open water at the inlet to McDonald Flats. There is also some open water at the flume. All the campgrounds are still gated and locked.

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. However, the pump canal is open water including the southern end of the reservoir out to 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. 04/18/2010

Stagecoach Reservoir—The ice on the lake has opened enough to offer ample shore fishing at the inlet and the coves on the north side of the lake. 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. Ice fishing was good, but no longer recommended. It is still ice covered; however, conditions are changing rapidly. There is some open water fishing at the inlet. 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. 04/18/2010

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 all around the banks (not open enough for fishing yet). 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. Inquire in Granby for updates. 04/18/2010

Yampa 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 a slow. A cold spell is your friend right now, 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 run off has not started yet. The spring fishing has been some of the best anybody can remember.


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.

Gunnison River (through the canyon)—The flow in the Gunnison Gorge has remained about 563 cfs. Fishing conditions are good and water is clear. Fishermen are using San Juan Worms, Egg Patterns, Red Copper John’s and Caddis. Red San Juan worms have been the hottest fly recently. The North Fork is now running high, is off color, and is not low enough to wade.

Navajo Reservoir—Fishing slow on all species, a few crappie were being caught in Bancos Canyon. The water is very murky and still cool at 49 degrees. The Marina is now open and we have Minnows and Worms. See you soon!

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 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 getting ready for run-off. Ice is off! The boat ramp is open and the Mussel Inspection Station is open. The water temperature is in the 40s and the fishing is good to excellent. Some 11,000 catchable-sized trout have been stocked already. Bank anglers have been doing well using night crawlers, red salmon eggs and silver or gold Kastmasters. We expect the larger Brown Trout to be chasing the stocked Rainbows throughout the Spring. Remember to have your boat clean, drained and dry when you come in to have it inspected before launching. Good luck fishing!

Uncompahgre River in Ridgway Park—Fishing on the river at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk has been slow. Flows are up to 300 cfs. The low winter flows negatively impacted the habitat for both fish and bugs. Many of the smaller rainbows drifted down river this winter but as the flows increase the fish will return, as well as the bugs. The plan (right now) calls for having the reservoir spill again and that will make the fishing outstanding as it was last year.


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