Colorado Division of Wildlife’s weekly fishing report — Aug. 31, 2010

Seasonal Report: Prime fishing time

Prime fishing days are finally upon us! September brings a welcomed reprieve from the dog days of summer in Colorado. The weather starts to cool, fish activity increases, the crowds will decrease and the change from summer to autumn makes the scenery nothing short of spectacular.

Fly fishing anglers can look forward to optimal flow rates and clear waters. Occasional rain showers can make conditions murky at times, but that shouldn’t be enough to deter an eager angler. Trico mayflies, blue-wing-olive mayflies, caddis and pale-morning-dun mayflies can still be found hatching on rivers and streams, but with cooler evenings and mornings, hatches may be less predictable. Grasshopper activity will soon decrease as the month wears on.

Lake anglers will find excellent conditions for fishing in September. Trout activity should increase as water temperatures begin to cool. Trout will make their way up from deeper parts of the lake and begin feeding closer to shore. Some of these trout have grown larger over the summer and are a lot of fun to catch. Some fish, such as lake trout, can get so big that you’ll have another story to tell about, “the one that got away”!
Along with the trout and other cold water species, warm water fish will become more active as well. Walleye and wiper can provide some exciting late-season action, and anglers may want to try their luck for both species at Pueblo Reservoir.

And last, but certainly not least, the annual kokanee spawn will take place at many lakes and reservoirs such as Blue Mesa, Shadow Mountain, Granby, Williams Fork and Green Mountain Reservoirs. (Check the Colorado Fishing Regulations Brochure, for dates and restrictions) 

Many anglers consider September to be one of the best months for fishing in Colorado. Do you count yourself among one of those anglers? There’s only one way to find out; so get out there and enjoy this wonderful time of year! 

Quote of the Week

“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.” — John Buchan

Recent Stocking

Beaver Lake — East of Marble
Crystal River #1 — South of Carbondale
Crystal River #2 — South of Carbondale
Georgetown Lake — Georgetown
Golden Gate State Park lakes — Northeast of Blackhawk
Nichols Reservoir — Woodland Park
Platoro Reservoir — Alamosa
Rampart Reservoir — Woodland Park
South Platte 3B — Deckers
Vallecito Reservoir — North West of Durango


Colorado River (near Granby)—The water flows below Windy gap and below Parshall are 145cfs and 279cfs respectively. Copper Johns, RS-2s, Prince nymphs, chartreuse wooly buggers, yellow colored flies, and other emerger patterns, Joe’s hoppers, grasshopper and egg patterns are doing well. 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. Cooler nights and mornings make better fishing conditions, keeping the water cooler and the fish more active. 8/29/2010

Delaney Buttes—The fishing action on the Delaney’s 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 water has improved in clarity and the fish are on. This lake has really turned on. We are seeing very nice fish being caught and a variety of species. Large Pike in the 13-15lb range, Cat fish in that same 15lb range and great Small Mouth are being taken. Crappie fishing has really slowed, but they are still being caught on the north end. ANS inspections will continue through September and the boat ramp will remain open. We will close the ramp Oct. 1, but hand launch and shore fishing is still available.

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—Fishing in the early morning and late evening are still the best times. Colder nights and brisk mornings are making fishing better and the fall spawning season is just around the corner. Trolling, 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 still high. Arapaho Bay is also fishing well. 8/29/2010

Grand Lake—Nights are becoming colder and mornings are brisk. Fish activity will be picking up. 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, Mepps, Panther Martins, and Blue Fox spinners are only some of the lures used. Jigging with sucker meat is common and productive. 8/29/2010

Green Mountain Reservoir—Fishing is slow due to the heat and activity on the lake. Trout are being caught on nightcrawlers, power bait or salmon eggs. Popular colors for lures are hot pink, orange, red and green. Best fishing times are early morning and evening.

Pearl Lake—7/15/10 Anglers are having some luck at Pearl. As usual though, it is a very picky lake to fish. All areas and campground are open and fishing is good. 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

Rifle Gap Reservoir—The water level is low, and has resulted in a very muddy shoreline. The best access to the lake is from the rocky points and outcroppings. Trout fishing is fair to slow, with the best action being on rainbow Power Bait, fished off the bottom. All other species are reported as slow.

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. Fishing the pump canal, the area around the mouth of the canal, and below the dam can be highly rewarding using flies, slip bobber rigs, lures, and nightcrawlers on the bottom. Early morning pumping makes the canal and the area where it enters the reservoir, prime fishing sights; kokanee, rainbows, and browns are being caught. Small jigs tipped with wax worms, mealworms, power bait or eggs are commonly used. The flow rate below the dam is low, but the spillway is fishing well. All species of fish that reside in the reservoir are being caught in the spillway area. Cooler weather is coming and will increase fish activity. 8/29/2010

Stagecoach Reservoir—Due to park construction and decreasing water levels, the reservoir measured 7 feet below full on 8/28. The muddy shore line is exposed and algae is highly visible. The reservoir will close to trailered watercraft on September 7th for the season. Hand launch vessels are permitted at visitors own risk until ice on. With decreasing water levels, the flow at the tailwaters is estimated to stay at 142 cfs through September. Midges, San Juan worms, emergers and RS2’s have been working well for fly fishing the tailwaters. Brightly colored PowerBait, Kastmasters, and trolling with a crayfish lure have yielded some larger sized trout in the reservoir. Pike activity has increased due to cooling water temperature, which is at 67 degrees.

Steamboat Lake—7/15/10 Fishing is still good all around. As of last weekend, most anglers are using a variety of baits and doing well. Meadow Point and Rainbow ridge are very popular all day long. The coves won’t hit hard until the weekend. 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—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 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. Early morning and late evening remain the best times to fish. Some nice cloudy, rainy days can make fishing good throughout the day. 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. 8/29/2010

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 the 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. Trailered boats are still not allowed on the reservoir. Fly fishing is also very productive from shore and out of canoes kayaks and belly boats. Inquire in Granby for updates. As the weather cools down, fish activity is picking up. 8/29/2010

Wolford Reservoir—No fishing report available.

Yampa River (Hayden through Craig)—The Yampa is cleared and has dropped fast. Fishing has been very good all through the valley. Fishing dry flies as well as nymphs 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. Fish the seams and deeper pools. As water temperatures increase, be very aware of your landing techniques if you are going to release. The floating season is coming to an end until water levels increase. Hayden pump station is closed so float fishermen will need to move down stream or walk-wade. Double bridges west of Hayden will temporarily close after Labor Day due to stream bank work. It will re-open later this fall.


Animas River—Finally, the monsoons arrive (with a vengeance!) and water levels are up. Bad news, expect turbid conditions at times. Fishing has been generally slow.

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—Mature Kokanee salmon are beginning to move up towards the inlet area of the lake. Large schools of fish can be found from 40 to 70 feet down. Trolling remains effective with larger offerings in pinks and green. These salmon can be caught using spoons vertical jigging once a large school is located. Small lake trout and browns are also being caught throughout the lake trolling minnow imitations and spoons from 25 to 60 feet deep. Water temperatures are beginning to cool with morning temps from 68 to 70 and dropping one to two degrees per week. 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 good. Fishing is expected to be excellent throughout the summer.

Conejos River—Flows on the Conejos are around 128 cfs on the lower river and 204 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 and hot dogs seem to be the bait of choice. Rainbow trout were just stocked on Friday. Fishing has been good both from shore and from boats.

Dolores River (lower)—The river below McPhee Reservoir is running 70 cfs. Large browns have made a comeback over the last 3 years; however, the fishing remains very slow.

Echo Canyon Reservoir—Fishing for trout has been fair. Fishing for green sunfish, black crappie, catfish, and largemouth bass is good. Be prepared for very “weedy” conditions.

Groundhog Reservoir—Fair for 10-16 inch rainbow trout and cutthroats. Fish typically move a little deeper this time of year. The lake has a lot of crayfish in it and lures/patterns that imitate crayfish could be a good choice.

Gunnison River (below Crystal Dam)—Flows are 660CFS. Clarity is Gunnison Green. Caddis and PMDs on top; try Lafontaine Caddis Pupa, Pulsating caddis below. #16 PMDs on top. 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.

Gunnison River (through the canyon)—The flow in the Gunnison Gorge is 609 cfs. Fishing conditions have been very good until August 20th. Heavy rains have caused the river to be off color. The river is starting to clear and fishing is slowly getting better. Fishermen have been using Hopper Droppers, Green hoppers. Red San Juan Worms, Red Copper Johns, PMDs, Caddis Pupa Tan #14 and any May Fly. Streamers and Big Hoppers are good right now. The North Fork is low now but off color. Call Gunnison River Pleasure Park at 1-888-782-7542 for other information.

Haviland Lake—Fishing has slowed but still fair for 10 inch rainbow trout on Powerbait. Woolly buggers are also working well.

Jackson Gulch Reservoir—Fishing has been excellent for 10-12 inch rainbow trout and small yellow perch (no limit). It continues to rain almost every day thus keeping water temperatures cool and fish active. Trollers have been using Panther Martins and small Rapalas. Bank anglers have had success with green Power Bait. Yellow perch love worms. Fly fishermen are successfully using various dry flies in the moving waters near the inflow and wooly buggers in the lake. Be sure to bring plenty of bait as there is no place nearby to purchase it. Jackson Gulch requires an ANS inspection before launching boats. An inspector is on duty 8AM to 8:30PM daily through Labor Day. Mancos State Park offers canoe, pedal boats and sit on top kayak rentals. For more information: or call 970-533-7065.

Joe Moore Reservoir—Joe Moore has a mix of rainbow trout, yellow perch, black crappie, and largemouth bass. Joe Moore is very weedy this time of year and the warm water species should be quite active.

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 10 cfs. Water is clear and low. Fish spook easily so anglers should take a stealthy approach.

La Jara Reservoir—Water conditions are good. Fishing pressure has been light. Fishing has been challenging. The reservoir is plentiful with natural food sources, often causing the fish to be selective feeders. Fish inventories show good numbers for splake and brook trout. Good fishing for brook trout and splake is expected throughout the summer.

Lemon Reservoir—Fair for 8-10 inch rainbow trout. Large brown trout are occasionally taken in this reservoir and some kokanee salmon.

McPhee Reservoir—Most fish species are moving deeper into the reservoir to avoid warm temperatures. However, the anglers are still doing well for rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. Smallmouth bass fishing remains steady. A few walleye have been captured in the House Creek arm of the reservoir.

Narraguinnep Reservoir—Walleye fishing has been fair using bottom bumpers and crayfish lures.

Navajo Reservoir—28 members from 5280 Basshunters club caught and released 76 nice Bass during the weekend. Better catches of crappie have been caught on minnows. Pike fishing has been good on crank baits. Kokanee are still being caught at around 40 ft deep. Fishing for catfish has been slow.

Pastorius Reservoir—Fair for rainbow trout on Powerbait. Reservoir is shallow and weedy.

Piedra River—The Piedra River has a good population of brown and rainbow trout. River is running high and muddy with the strong monsoonal pattern we have been in over the past 2-3 weeks.

Platoro Reservoir—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 (18 August 2010). Fishing continues to be good. Try worms, grasshoppers 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 falling and is now at about 20’ below spilling. Fishing is good. 1,450 additional catchable-sized Rainbow Trout were stocked the week of August 10th. This totals more than 40,000 this season. Bank anglers have been doing well using the standards: night crawlers, green power bait, red salmon eggs and silver or gold Kastmasters. Olive and Black Woolley Buggers with spinning rod and bubble are working too. The Brown trout are out of the Mear’s Bay area and deep in the main reservoir. Try early in the mornings or late evenings, trolling slowly along the shoreline - 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!

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—Fishing for rainbow trout is fair. Most trout range between 12-14 inches.

Taylor Reservoir—The lake trout are at 100 feet plus. Trolling with lures has been effective for the smaller ones. Fishing off the bottom, anchored, with worms has been working too. Trolling an apex lure tipped with a worm has also been working. Rainbow trout are really on a strong bite even with the full moon! Trolling with cowbells and nightcrawlers, or an Assassin Spinner along with cowbells have been doing very well. A few Salmon have been caught while trolling for lakers. They are stacked up in about 50 ft. of water. Not much happening with Pike right now.

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—Water temperature on the river at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk is running at about 56 degrees. The water is slightly off color with the afternoon rains. Fishing is outrageously good and dry flies are working in the evenings. I saw several fishermen hooking Rainbows over the last few evenings. Flows are around 350 cfs; Grasshoppers are out! Try a “Parachute Hopper” or a “Ginger Quill”. Good luck.

Vallecito Reservoir—Fishing has been slow for kokanee and trout. Anglers are finding smallmouth bass along the dam face and rocky points and picking up a few northerns around the lake. We will be stocking 3000 13 inch RBT in the next few weeks.

Williams Creek—No Reports. All area streams are running high and turbid with the rain.

Williams Creek Reservoir—Fish are moving into deeper water as the summer progresses. Try the inlet to Williams Creek.


Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

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