Colorado Division of Wildlife weekly fishing report — Aug. 24, 2010

Seasonal Report: The Mighty Blue Mesa Reservoir

Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado’s largest body of water. The reservoir, when full, is 19 miles long and has over 90 miles of shoreline. Blue Mesa is known for having big fish and for having the largest kokanee salmon fishery in the United States.

More than 30 streams flow into Blue Mesa, which provides an abundance of food and spawning habitat for fish.

Spring fishing offers excellent opportunities for trophy brown trout and lake trout. In 2007, the state record for largest lake trout was set at Blue Mesa. The massive “mack” measured 44.25 inches and weighed in at over 50lbs. Now there’s a big fish!

Fishing in the summer is mostly productive trolling from boats. Kokanee salmon and rainbow trout can be found at lower depths of the reservoir. Downriggers are often needed to get down deep enough to find them. Blue Mesa has two marinas where anglers can launch their boat, the Elk Creek Marina and the Lake Fork Marina.

Fall fishing at Blue Mesa Reservoir is some of the best in Colorado. Once the cooler weather sets in, fish will move up from lower depths to feed and spawn. Trolling near the many inlets of the reservoir can be especially productive in the fall. Popular and effective trolling lures are Tasmanian Devils, Needlefish and jointed rapalas in silver, white and green.

Moving into winter, when the reservoir is frozen over, ice fishing for rainbows can be excellent. The best areas for rainbows can be Dry Gulch, East Elk, the Gunnison River inlet area and Elk Creek. Blue Mesa usually has good ice from mid-December to mid-March. Lake trout are another popular species caught through the ice in the winter, typically before noon.

Other popular fishing spots are Iola, Cebolla, Middle Bridge and Soup Creek. A great resource for information on fishing conditions and locations is to check in with folks working at the marinas.

Recent Stocking:

Barker Reservoir — East of Nederland
Big Molas Lake — 40 miles North of Durango on Hwy 550
Chalk Creek Lake — Nathrop
Columbine Ponds — Nucla
Dowdy Lake — Red Feathers
Elkhead Res — East of Craig
Evergreen Reservoir — Evergreen
Fairplay Kids Pond — Fairplay
Fooses Lake — Maysville
Jenny Lake — West of Nederland
Manitou Reservoir — Woodland Park
Mary’s Lake — South of Estes Park
Pericles Pond — Ridgway
Ridgway Reservoir — Ridgway
Riverside Ponds — Salida
Ruedi Reservoir — East of Basalt
Slack and Weiss — North of Kremmling
Tiago Lake — Southwest of Walden
Uncompahgre #3A — Below Ridgeway Reservoir
Wrights Lake — Nathrop


Colorado River (near Granby)—The water flows below Windy gap and below Parshall are 119cfs and 295cfs respectively. Copper Johns, RS-2s, Prince nymphs, stone fly nymphs, blood worms, and other emerger patterns, Joe’ hoppers, 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. Cloudy, rainy days make ideal fishing conditions, keeping the water cooler and the fish more active. 8/16/2010

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. We are seeing large crappie holding in structured areas. Small Mouth have finished spawning and are headed to deeper water. Good size Pike are being caught and not as many hammer handles as last year. This lake has really turned on. We are seeing very nice fish being caught and a variety of species. ANS inspections will continue again this summer and will be the driving force for the boat ramp opening and closing schedule.

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—Some people are catching fish and some are not. Fishing in the early morning and late evening are the best times. Some days have been cloudy and rainy; good conditions for fishing. Trolling deeper 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 staying higher, due to rainfall, 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. Arapaho Bay is also fishing well. 8/16/2010

Grand Lake—Early morning and late evening are the best times to fish. However, some days have been cloudy and raining, making conditions ideal. 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. As usual some people are catching fish and some are not! 8/16/2010

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

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. As usual, some people are catching fish and some are not. 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. 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 low, but the spillway and the river are fishing well. All species of fish that reside in the reservoir are being caught in the spillway area. 8/16/2010

Stagecoach Reservoir—Due to park construction and decreasing water levels, the reservoir measured 5 feet below full on 8/20. 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 66 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 are the best times to fish since the weather has turned hot. 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. 8/16/2010

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. This is the hard time of year for catching with some people catching fish and some are not! Inquire in Granby for updates. Cloudy, rainy conditions are ideal for catching fish throughout the day. 8/16/2010

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.


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. River is not fishable for at least a few days. 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 were working. 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 good for 10-12 inch rainbow trout and small yellow perch. Recent rains have cooled off water temperatures and thus increased fish activity. Trollers have been using Panther Martins and small Rapalas. Bank anglers have had success with rainbow Power Bait. Yellow perch are biting on worms. Fly fishermen are successfully using dry flies in the moving waters near the inflow and wooly buggers or damselfly nymphs 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—Recent rains have been great for the lake! Bass fishing has been good on buzzbaits, chugger type top water lures & live minnows. Pike fishing has been good around the rocks, with good catches reported. Catfish & crappie have been slow but will pick up when the water cools. The water temp is now 72 degrees. Bring your catch by for a free picture. Call (970) 883-BOAT for more information.

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 (17 June 2010). Fishing continues to be good. Saturday August 21st is Huck Finn Day. This is for kids 12 and under. We will have all the rods, reels and gear available at the ponds starting at 8:30 am. 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 16’ below spilling. Fishing is good. 4,500 catchable-sized Rainbow Trout were stocked the week of July 10th. This totals more than 35,000 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 starting to show up! 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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