Colorado Division of Wildlife’s weekly fishing report, April 27, 2010

Seasonal Report: Front Range Fun!

With ice still holding on to popular spring fisheries such as Spinney Mountain Reservoir, Eleven Mile Reservoir & Turquoise Lake, this may be the time of year to focus your energy on some of the lakes and reservoirs along the Front Range and lower elevations.

Most Front Range and lower elevation waters have been stocked, or will be within the coming weeks. Ample amounts of fish await those anglers eager to try their luck at some early season action. Barr Lake has all the makings of a great fishing adventure and an excellent opportunity to enjoy viewing wildlife at its best. The lake is full, water temperatures are in the lower 50’s, which will lead to more active and aggressive fish and the lake is open to boating. Arvada Reservoir is reporting some good action for trout using various types of bait, lures and flies. Carter Reservoir, in Boulder, has boasted some reports of large rainbows being caught from its shorelines.

The rainy weather towards the end of last week didn’t do fly fishermen any favors. Many of the rivers and streams that were hot earlier in the week have slowed down considerably due to stained and murky water from all the rain. This pattern of discoloration will continue off and on throughout the spring as the run-off begins to pick up steam. It won’t be long before we’re in the midst of warmer weather and more settled conditions and we’ll be able to enjoy more of what Colorado fishing has to offer.

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: Spring is a Bugger time of the year

Spring is an invigorating time of the year. The ice is receding off lakes, reservoirs, streams and rivers. Trees are showing signs of new life, and with increased oxygen levels, the trout are raring to go.

Fishing with flies and lures is very effective throughout the year, and spring is no exception.  With schnook winds slowly eating away at the ice and snow, and water temperatures beginning to climb, anticipation of ice-off runs high. Early spring fishing has its benefits and its pitfalls. Spring storms are always around the corner, and waters that have started to lose their icy grip on winter may once again be sealed without notice.

When fly fishing early in the year, we recommend that you have a wide variety of flies with you.  Large nymphs, like AP nymphs, Bead Heads and Hare’s Ear are all good choices. Small nymphs, in sizes #16-#22, such as Tricos, Baetis, BWO’s and Yellow Stone Flies to name a few. Streamers like Wooly Buggers or Muddler Minnows are always good choices.

Recommended flies and lures:

Nymphs – Hare’s Ear, Pheasant Tail and the RS2, which are used to imitate BWOs, in sizes 16-24. 

Woolly Buggers – Wooly Buggers imitate leeches, dragonflies, damselflies and small baitfish. Preferred colors are green, purple and black. Sizes 2-10 will work,
with a #6 being ideal for most trout. 

Mepps Spinners – Black Fury “Dressed” (black with yellow or orange spots) and Aglia Marabou (chartreuse) are a deadly combination for all species of trout, in
all bodies of water. Acme Kastmasters, in colors CHNB (chrome and blue), RT (Rainbow Trout), G (Gold) and BKT (Brook Trout, are all productive.

San Juan Worms – The San Juan Worm doesn’t really imitate an insect, but who cares, they work. Size 10-14 in tan, red and black are preferred colors.

Egg Patterns – Fishing egg patterns can be very productive when used properly. You will, however want to have a good supply of egg patterns with you, as it is easy to break them off on river or lake bottoms. They can be fished dead-drifted downstream, or using a spinning rod and reel with one or two #3/0 removable split shot weights. Most productive colors are chartreuse, red and orange.         

Quote of the Week

“I look into… my fly box, and think about all the elements I should consider in choosing the perfect fly: water temperature, what stage of development the bugs are in, what the fish are eating right now. Then I remember what a guide told me: ‘Ninety percent of what a trout eats is brown and fuzzy and about five-eighths of an inch long.”  Allison Moir

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:

Brush Hollow Reservoir — Penrose
Corn Lake — Grand Junction
Echo Canyon Reservoir — South of Pagosa Springs
Frantz Lake — Salida
Hasty Lake — East of Las Animas
Hugo SWA Ponds — South East Limon
Jackson’s Pond — Eads
Karval Res — South of Limon
Kenney Reservoir — Near Rangely
Kinney Lake — South of Limon
Kissel Pond — Limon
Manitou Reservoir — Woodland Park
Midwestern Farms Pond — East of Lamar
Ordway Reservoir — North of Ordway
Palisade River Bend Park Pond — Palisade  
Prospect Lake — Colorado Springs
Pueblo West Pond — Pueblo West
Quail Lake — Colorado Springs
Rangely Fishing Pond — Near Rangely
Rifle Gap Reservoir — North of Rifle
Runyon Lake — Pueblo
Sands Lake — Salida
Shalberg Pond — Town of Sheridan Lakes
Sleepycat Ponds — Near Buford
Uncompahgre River #3A — Below Ridgeway Reservoir Dam


Colorado River (near Granby)—Fishing has been good. The spring runoff has started which effects flows and water clarity. The water flows below Windy gap and below Parshall are 278cfs and 319cfs 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. 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. 4/25/2010 

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 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. Pumping has begun into the reservoir from Willow Creek Reservoir. Fishing is excellent this time of year. 4/25/2010

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. 4/25/2010

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.

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 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. 04/25/2010

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. It still has ice; however, large areas are fishable from the banks. The area of open water at the inlet is expanding. 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. 04/25/2010

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. 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. 04/25/2010

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.

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 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. 

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 has remained about 559 cfs. Fishing conditions are good and water is clear. Fishermen are using San Juan Worms, Streamers, Egg Patterns, Red Copper John’s and Caddis. 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.

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 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!

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.

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. 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 rising with the run off. The boat ramp is open as well as the Mussel Inspection Station. 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. Brown trout are in the Mears 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.

Uncompahgre River in Ridgway Park—Fishing on the river at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk has finally gotten good. 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 are returning, along with the bugs. 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 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!

Williams Creek—Williams Creek below the Williams Creek Reservoir dam is high but fishable.


Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

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