Colorado Division of Wildlife’s weekly fishing report — Oct. 19, 2010
Seasonal Report: On Colder Ponds
The leaves have changed, the days are shorter and frost has returned to greet us in the mornings. Big changes are taking place as Colorado begins its yearly transformation into a winter wonderland. As temperatures plummet, the high country’s lakes, ponds and streams will soon make way for different types of fishing experiences.
One of the best things about fishing in Colorado is the year-round opportunities and challenges that it presents. The spring; its caddis and mayfly hatches can both exhilarate an angler and test their skills. Summer brings alpine fishing possibilities, full reservoirs and the barbequed catch of the day. The majestic mountain colors of autumn signal cooler waters, a surge in fish aggressiveness and the inevitability of winter.
Winter doesn’t mean that fishing has to come to an end. On the contrary; winter brings with it the promise of hard water, and ice fishing. Ice fishing presents anglers with an opportunity to fish parts of lakes and reservoirs that may have been unavailable to them during any other time of the year. It also brings with it different fishing conditions and settings, as well as the ability to try other ways of experiencing the outdoors, such as snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
You don’t necessarily have to travel to the high country to enjoy ice fishing. Aurora, Chatfield, Cherry Creek, Evergreen & Gross Reservoirs, to name a few, are all places to try your hand at ice fishing within the Front Range and Denver metro areas. Always keep in mind, whether you’re on 3ft of ice or 1ft of ice, your safety and the safety of those with you is paramount.
Ice conditions change frequently, even from day to day. Be sure you know what the conditions are for the body of water you’re planning on fishing prior to setting foot on the ice. Also be sure that you are properly equipped.
So, if you haven’t done a lot of fishing this year, now is the time. Many anglers’ favorite time of year to fish is just around the corner when the ice sets in. If you haven’t tried ice fishing, you will discover that fishing in Colorado can be enjoyed all year long.
Anticline Lake — Pueblo
Arkansas River #3b — Pueblo
Black Hole Pond at Two Buttes — South of Lamar
Catamount Reservoir — South of Steamboat Springs
Confluence Lake — Delta
Evergreen Reservoir — Evergreen
Fountain Lake — Pueblo
Georgetown Lake — Georgetown
Golden Gravel Pond #3 — Longmont
Hugo SWA Ponds — Limon
Izaak Walton LG Pond — Longmont
Karval Reservoir — Limon
Kinney Lake — Limon
Kissel Pond — Limon
Lon Hagler Reservoir — Loveland
Pike View Reservoir — Colorado Springs
Prospect Lake — Colorado Springs
Ruedi Reservoir — Basalt
Runyon Lake — Pueblo
Turks Pond — East of Springfield (BFE)
Vallecito Reservoir — North of Bayfield
Colorado River (near Granby)—The water flows below Windy Gap and below Parshall are 74cfs and 160cfs respectively. Copper Johns, RS-2s, Prince nymphs, chartreuse wooly buggers, and other emerger patterns, San Juan worms, 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. The Parshall area is usually open all winter. 10/18/2010
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 lake has started into fall fishing mode, slower but still fishing steady. The water is dropping daily as releases are used to supplement in stream river flows. Large pike in the 13-15lb range, catfish in that same 15lb range and great smallmouth 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.
Granby Reservoir—On October 1st, from Shadow Mountain Dam down to Twin Creeks has been closed to fishing; on January 1st, fishing will be allowed for 500 yards from the dam downstream until March 15th when fishing restrictions will end. The fall lake trout spawning season is a good time to catch fish up around the dikes and other rocky areas. Browns and rainbows will be up the inlet streams and sandy areas. Get ready for a great ice fishing season. The Three Lakes Ice Fishing Contest will be held on January 28th, 29th, and 30th. 10/18/2010
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. From Oct. 1st-June30th, all lakers 26-36 inches long must be released immediately. Fall fishing is very good, but get prepared for a great ice fishing season. Jigging with sucker meat is common and productive. Also, when the pumps are being run, there will be open water fishing at the West Portal and in the channel between Shadow Mountain reservoir and Grand Lake throughout the winter. The Three Lakes Ice Fishing Contest will be held on the 28th, 29th, and 30th of January. 10/18/2010
Green Mountain Reservoir—Fishing is starting to pick up, the reservoir is receding. Nightcrawlers and salmon eggs are being used. Snagging has started and some salmon are running.
Pearl Lake—9/24/10 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. The dock at Pearl Lake has been removed for the season.
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—Fishing the pump canal and the area around the mouth of the canal, throughout the winter, can be highly rewarding using flies, slip bobber rigs, lures, and nightcrawlers on the bottom. The canal and the area where it enters the reservoir are prime fishing sights: kokanee, rainbows, and browns can be caught. Small jigs tipped with wax worms, mealworms, power bait or eggs are commonly used. On October 1st, fishing from the dam down to Twin Creeks has been prohibited until January 1st when fishing will be allowed for 500 yards from the dam downstream; on March 15th the restrictions will be lifted. The Three Lakes Ice Fishing Contest will be held on January 28th, 29th, and 30th. Be ready for a great ice fishing season. 10/18/2010
Stagecoach Reservoir—Due to park construction, the reservoir level is 15 feet below full. The shore line is muddy yet still accessible for fishing. The reservoir is closed to trailered watercraft for the season, but hand launch vessels are permitted at visitors own risk until ice on. Rainbows and pike have been moving into shallow water to feed and recent fishing reports have been great. Pike have been hitting on tube jigs, spoons and Kastmasters. The tailwaters flow is at 42 cfs and dry flies like BWOs and grey, olive or black midges in size 20, and emerger patterns should produce well. Lures like wooly buggers, leeches, prince nymphs, and hares ears, or bait like nightcrawlers, or power bait should bring in a nice catch.
Steamboat Lake—9/24/10 Fishing is still good all around. With the water getting cooler the fish are biting well. One angler sent us an e-mail of a Cutthroat Trout - 24” length 13” girth 6.5lbs (approx) caught on a Kastmaster perch lure off Meadow 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 dam has been producing well also. Remember all boats on trailers have to be inspected before launching. CLEAN DRAINED and DRY are the key words for a fast inspection. The boat ramp will close on Nov.1st for the season.
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. The kokanee have gathered for the spawning run and are being caught. From the buoy line at Williams Fork River inlet upstream to first CR bridge: fishing and snagging prohibited Sept. 15-Nov. 30. Be prepared, when the ice is on, for a great winter season. 10/18/2010
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. This reservoir is a good place to take kids, and gets less fishing pressure than other area lakes. Expect and get ready for a great ice fishing season this winter. 10/18/2010
Yampa River (Hayden through Craig)—The Yampa has dropped fast. Fishing has been good all through the valley, but especially up stream. 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. The floating season has come to an end until water levels increase, late October.
Animas River—Good for smaller rainbows. Brown trout are spawning this time of year and the river is running low and clear. Recent fish surveys done by the Division of Wildlife show the highest population of trout in the Gold Medal reach downstream of the Lightner Creek confluence.
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. The water level has dropped below the concrete boat ramp. 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—Water temps are now in the low 60’s and dropping 1 or 2 deg. per day. Look for brown trout and lake trout to begin cruising the shorelines in search of spawning grounds and feed. 2 and 3 year old salmon are being caught near the dam with pink and green spinners and spoons from 15 to 30 feet deep. Boat ramps are now open 7am to 7pm. Iola boat ramp is closed for the season.
Crawford Reservoir—Trout were biting consistently this past weekend. Crappie have slowed. A few pike, and several bass (too small to keep) have also been caught. Small perch have been hit and miss.
Dolores River (lower)—The river below McPhee Reservoir is running 50 cfs. Large brown trout and some very nice rainbows were captured during recent CDOW fish collections.
Echo Canyon Reservoir—Fishing for trout has been fair. Fishing for warm water sport fish (bass and sunfish) is dropping off with the cooler water temperatures. Be prepared for very “weedy” conditions.
Groundhog Reservoir—Good for 10-16 inch rainbow trout and cutthroats. This is a great time to fish Groundhog with the aspens turning a golden color around the lake. A 26 inch 7 lb rainbow was taken last week on a nightcrawler.
Gunnison River (through the canyon)—The flow in the Gunnison Gorge is now 609 cfs but is expected to be lower by the end of October. The river is clear and fishing recently has been good. Fishermen have been using Black Sculp Zilla’s, Rag Sculpins, Hopper Droppers, Red San Juan Worms, Red Copper Johns size 16, PMDs and caddis. Killer May flies are hot and also Autumn Splendor Streamers are good right now. The North Fork is low enough to wade. Call Gunnison River Pleasure Park at 1-888-782-7542 for other information.
Haviland Lake—Fishing is slower than this summer but the remaining stocked fish have grown to 12-14 inches. Now is a great time to hit Haviland as the water temperatures cool and fish are still active.
Jackson Gulch Reservoir—Fishing has been excellent for 10-12 inch rainbow trout and yellow perch (no limit). The lake level is down but cooler temperatures have kept the fish active. Trollers have been using Panther Martins and small Rapalas. Bank anglers have had success with rainbow Power Bait. Yellow perch love those worms. Fly fishermen are successfully using various dry flies such as the “irresistible”. The west end of the dam is seeing lots of action. 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. Please call 970-882-2213 to arrange an inspection. The boat ramp is now closed for the season. A daily pass is required for day use of the park. For more information: http://www.parks.state.co.us or call 970-882-2213.
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.
Lemon Reservoir—No Reports. However, large brown trout will be seeking flowing water for spawning this time of year.
McPhee Reservoir—The trout fishing has been good at McPhee Reservoir. Some smallmouth and walleye are being taken by anglers.
Narraguinnep Reservoir—The boat ramp is currently closed to trailered watercraft to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic species. The reservoir is open to all other uses including fishing, hunting, and bird watching. Hand launched boats are allowed (float tubes, kayaks, etc.). The reservoir is low.
Navajo Reservoir – The water temp is 60 degrees. Fishing slow with some bass caught on plastic worms & crankbaits. Pike slow on large swimbaits & spoons. Crappie & catfish very slow. Kokanee snagging fair on south end.
Pastorius Reservoir—Fair for rainbow trout on Powerbait. Reservoir is shallow and weedy but what trout are left should be of quality size (14 inches).
Piedra River—The Piedra River has a good population of brown and rainbow trout on the upper end (Piedra Canyon). Fall can be a great time to seek brown and brook trout spawning in the shallows.
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 (13 September 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!
Rio Grande River—Water flows have prevented most float trips on the river, however fishing from public waters has been fair to good.
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. The boat ramp will be closed daily starting October 1st.
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.
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 good. Dry flies are working in the evenings. I saw several fishermen picking up Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout over the last few evenings. Flows are around 250 cfs; Grasshoppers are out! Try a “Parachute Hopper” or a “Ginger Quill”. Good luck.
Vallecito Reservoir—Fishing for 10-14 inch trout should be very good due to recent fish stocking. A number of large northern pike have also been taken by anglers over the last several weeks.
Williams Creek—No Reports. Brook and brown trout are spawning this time of year so it is a good time to look for larger fish in the shallows.
Williams Creek Reservoir—Fall is a beautiful time to fish Williams Creek Reservoir. Look for larger brook trout moving around the shallows and inlets to spawn this time of year.