Colorado Division of Wildlife’s weekly fishing report, May 25, 2010
Seasonal Report: Let’s Fish!
Memorial Day weekend is the time for road trips, weekend getaways, cookouts with family and friends, and of course, fishing. For many folks, Memorial Day weekend represents the unofficial start of summer and kicks off the outdoor recreation season.
From recent statewide stocking to ever changing aquatic hatches, Colorado waters are flourishing with activity. This is a great weekend to take advantage of Colorado’s outdoor playgrounds.
Rivers and streams are alive with bugs, hungry fish and fast moving waters. Huge caddis hatches are occurring on the Colorado River through Glenwood Springs and fly fishing anglers are taking full advantage while they can. On the Frying Pan River, the BWO action is keeping anglers happy and productive.
Higher elevation waters continue to lose ice and add to the growing list of fishing opportunities that anglers can choose from this holiday weekend. Twin Lakes, for example, are ice free and offer great opportunities for lake trout. These lakes also have Snake River cutthroats and rainbow trout. Even though weather conditions are improving, the weather in the higher elevations this time of year can change at any moment, so be prepared.
Down in South Park, Spinney Mountain Reservoir has been good for trout from the shore on jigs and Woolly Buggers. The South Platte River through Eleven Mile Canyon is fishing well with dry flies and emerger patterns.
Those looking for a fishing challenge can look to Grand Lake. Grand Lake is a deep natural lake and has a wide variety of species to choose from, such as lake trout, rainbows, browns and kokanee salmon. Fishing for lake trout this time of year can be highly rewarding, especially from boats in deeper water. Green Mountain Reservoir is another popular fishery that is thawed and fishing well for trout.
Consecutive days of warm weather have increased the activity of warm water species. Smallmouth bass activity is starting to picking up at several metro area fisheries such as Aurora Reservoir and Main Lake in Lakewood. At Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins, walleye are starting to spawn. Crappie fishing has improved at Lake Meredith and the wiper action has been good at John Martin Reservoir.
The weather looks promising for the holiday weekend, so take advantage of all the fishing opportunities that Colorado has to offer. Have a safe and fun filled holiday weekend!
Spring and summertime fishing is also the time for thunderstorms, complete with lightning and possibly heavy rain. Colorado is among the top states in the country for recorded lightning strikes.
Lightning poses some special hazards to fishermen, especially if they are on or near large bodies of water, on exposed hillsides, or carrying graphite fishing rods.
When thunderheads are building up, it’s best to get off the water quickly. Seek appropriate shelter, but avoid tall objects such as trees. If necessary, lie flat on the ground under low-profile brush until the storm passes. Don’t carry graphite rods or aluminum rod cases; leave them on the ground, find shelter and return for them later.
Allen Park Lake — Greeley
Axial Basin Lake — South of Craig
Beaver Lake — Marble
Billy Creek Lake — Montrose
Bittersweet Lake — Greeley
Boxelder Reservoir #3 — North West of Wellington
Buena Vista Kids Pond — Buena Vista
Chalk Lake — Nathrop
Cherry Creek Reservoir — South Denver
Christine Lake — Basalt
Clear Creek Reservoir — North of Buena Vista
Cottonwood Lake — Buena Vista
Craig City Pond — Craig
Craig Justice Center Pond — Craig
DeWeese Reservoir — Westcliffe
Dillon Reservoir — Frisco
Haviland Lake — 20 miles north of Durango
Hayden Meadows Reservoir — Leadville
Island Lake — Marble
McKee Lake — Marble
Mt. Elbert Forebay — Above Twin Lakes
O’Haver Lake — Salida
Pastorius Reservoir — 4 miles south of Durango
Pine Valley Ranch — Deckers
Prospect Lake — Colorado Springs
Pueblo West Pond — Pueblo West
Quail Lake — Colorado Springs
Ridgway Reservoir — Ridgway
Rifle Gap Reservoir — North of Rifle
River Bottom Park Pond — Montrose
Sheldon Lake — Fort Collins
Smith Reservoir — Blanca
South Platte River #1A — Denver
Spectacle Lake — West of Antonito
Wellington Reservoir #4 — North West of Wellington
Willow Creek Pond #1 — Fountain
Windsor Reservoir — Windsor
Wrights Lake — Nathrop
Colorado River (Glenwood to Rifle)—It won’t last long, but some of the better fishing on the Collie is happening right now, right here through Glenwood. The Caddis have showed up and they’ve done it with a vengeance. HUGE numbers of winged insects have been working their way up stream and huge numbers of heavy hungry fish have been working their way to the surface to eat them. Floating is going to be the best way to hook into these fish, but before you make the trek, give us a call for current conditions as they are changing on a daily basis. Time is of the essence folks, it’s time to get up here. And if you do get here, and for some reason the Collie doesn’t happen, you can always fish the Fork or the Pan.
Colorado River (near Granby)—The spring runoff is getting stronger; the river is definitely murky. The water flows below Windy gap and below Parshall are 1100cfs and 1514cfs respectively. Copper Johns, RS-2s, Prince nymphs and other emerger patterns, San Juan worms and egg patterns are doing well. Stone Fly nymphs are effective. 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. 5/24/2010
Crystal River—Do not curse the Whitefish! Under appreciated, especially here in Colorado, the mountain whitefish is more of a sub-surface feeder and is usually not thought of as aesthetically pleasing as trout. In other states they readily rise to dries and many anglers are disappointed after working a pod of rising fish to hook and discover they have been fishing to “Whities”! Here in Colorado they rarely feed on the surface, but take nymphs readily. Especially for kids and new comers to our great sport, the “whitie” is a great sport fish. Once you locate them, they can provide hours of enjoyment. They are great to learn proper nymphing techniques such as, how to set the hook, how to fight, land and properly release fish.
Delaney Buttes—There is some open water on the Delaney’s. East Delaney is about 60% open. Fisherman are having fair to good success in these areas of open water.
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 and will open for boating the weekend of May 22. The water is rising daily and the reservoir is 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 the lake opening. There should be some good pike activity along the shorelines with big streamers or baits. Rain and snow continue to keep fishing slow so nice days should help with activity.
Frying Pan River—The flows have come up about 40cfs over the last few days and as a result we’re starting to see fish move into new holding spots. We’re also seeing those 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. But wait… it gets better! As the daily midge hatch starts to taper off, the BWO hatch is gaining strength. Look for a string of good weather followed by a nice overcast day to produce one of the Pan’s most prolific hatches!
Granby Reservoir—Both Stillwater and Sunset Point boat ramps are open. Trolling and spin fishing in fairly shallow water is finding many large lake trout that have been caught, measured, weighed, and released. Bank fishing is also doing well. J13, F18 Rapalas are being used with great success. Jigging is also productive. Fly fishing the inlet streams, the North Fork and Arapaho Creek is very good. The water level is rising quickly.
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. Trolling, jigging, bait, lure, and fly fishing are all productive ways of catching these fish. From Oct. 1st-June30th, all lakers 26-36 inches long must be released immediately. Rapalas, Kastmasters, and Blue Fox spinners are only some of the lures used. Jigging with sucker and shiner meat is common. The only boat ramp open on Grand Lake is at the east end. Since the ice went off, fish have been feeding close to the surface and fishing is very good.
Green Mountain Reservoir—The lake is thawed and fishing is good. Red power bait or nightcrawlers are working.
Lake John—Lake John has some open water on the south end and west shoreline, and should continue to shed its wintery grip as temperatures begin to rise. The boat ramps are open but there is limited open water at this time. Fishing is fair, but will greatly improve as ice gives way to more oxygen rich water.
Muddy Creek—Currently the flow discharging into the muddy creek is 15 cfs. Fishermen are doing well catching nice quality rainbows. Pearl Lake—5/13/10 Winter has decided not to leave this year, we have some open water at the inlet but, a lot of snow in the fields. The road is not open into Pearl yet and there is log cleanup going on. Use this link to view our Hahn’s Peak web cam that we turned so you can see the cove behind the Visitor Center http://220.127.116.11/view/index.shtml
Roaring Fork River—Break out the Aquel and Dry shake and put all those caddis dries that have been sitting in your box to work. Good BWO dry fly fishing has been best around mid-day and then after dinner the caddis come. Single or double dries have been the best route when fishing the evening caddis hatch, just make sure the two dries arent too close together when throwing the tandem rig. Sometimes you’ll find that “bumping” the caddis as opposed to skating can be more effective.
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. The south boat ramp area can also be good. Fishing the pump canal and below the dam 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. The south boat ramp is open. 05/24/2010
Stagecoach Reservoir—The reservoir is completely ice free and opened for boating May 1st. A boat inspection for aquatic nuisance species is required prior to launching. Anglers at the inlet have been catching several medium size fish (12-14”) using worms or powerbait. Multiple 3-4 lb trout have been landed from the shore. Due to recent high winds, the water is murky. Pike activity has been low. 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—5/13/10 Willow Creek is open for about 50-75 yards where it comes out below RCR 62. Winter has decided not to leave this year, the lake has not thawed out much. We have open water along the edges with most inlets open but 12-18 inches of snow in the fields. Most anglers fishing the creeks have not reported many fish coming up stream yet. Use this link to view our Hahn’s Peak web cam that we turned so you can see the cove behind the Visitor Center http://18.104.22.168/view/index.shtml
Vega Reservoir—Vega is open for boating. Fishing is picking up and should continue to improve. 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 very good at the inlet and by the east boat ramp. 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. 05/24/2010
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. Worms, Powerbait, salmon eggs and many different lures are commonly used. Recent catch rates have been very good. Trailered boats are still not allowed on the reservoir. Inquire in Granby for updates. 05/24/2010
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 http://www.wolfordcampground.com Enjoy the 2010 open water season.
Yampa River (Hayden through Craig)—Spring runoff has begun on the Yampa. 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 full 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)—After a long winter, Stagecoach Lake is finally unfrozen and open. You can find plenty of good fishing at the inlet. We recommend using small olive and black streamers, as well as woolly buggers and leeches. The Tailwaters at Stagecoach is also a good place to fish at the moment. It can get a little crowded in this 1/4 mile water area, so be sure to use your best fishing etiquette, and be careful. We recommend using blue-winged olives and various midges. The Yampa River through Downtown Steamboat Springs is alright, but variable. Before heading out be sure to check for clarity and water level. Cool evenings are a good sign that the fishing will be good the next day. We recommend using stoneflies, blue wings, and dry flies.
Animas River—The river is too high and muddy for effective fishing at this time.
Beaver Creek Reservoir—The reservoir is now ice free and appears to be experiencing the spring turnover. Fishing for rainbow trout and some browns has been good. Salmon eggs and Power Bait have been getting the best results.
Blue Mesa Reservoir—Water temps throughout the lake are in the mid-40’s. Lake trout fishing is fair trolling or jigging from 30-50 feet of water. Brown trout fishing is good jigging with marabou jigs tipped with mealworms along any of the rocky structures around the shorelines. Currently, Iola, Lake Fork and Elk Creek boat ramps are open from 6:00am to 8:30pm.
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. Currently, high lakes in Conejos County are snow covered and inaccessible. Fishing is expected to be excellent throughout the summer as conditions improve.
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, small streams in Conejos County are snow covered and inaccessible. Fishing is expected to be excellent throughout the summer as conditions improve.
Conejos River—The road to Platoro is open and accessible. Flows on the Conejos are around 450 cfs on the lower river and 97 cfs below Platoro. Fishing conditions are fair to good. Be prepared for strong spring winds. Angling techniques include 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 peninsula 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 catching limits of trout. Some of them have been reported as being up to 16 inches long. Pike are also starting to heat up. We have had some anglers that have caught pike up to almost 40 inches. We have had reports of a few crappie and perch, as well as some smaller catfish. Come out and throw in your line to see what comes out on the other side!
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 http://www.doloreswater.com/releases.htm
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 (below Crystal Dam)—Flows are 632CFS and are on their way up, as the BuRec Spring Ramp-up will begin May 12th, with a peak of 3800cfs on the 18th if all goes according to plan. Color has been Gunnison Green, but that will change as well. BWOs on top, BWO emerges, RS2s, San Juan worms, #6 Woolly Buggers, egg patterns, #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 now 1760 cfs. Fishing conditions are Fair. Fishermen are using San Juan Worms, Wooly Buggers and Stone Fly Nymphs. Best results are fishing tight to the bank. The North Fork is still 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—The lake level is rising quickly due to spring runoff. The inlet is a great fishing spot for rainbow trout using PowerBait just off the bottom or slow in-line spinners. The west end of the dam and the coves have also seen some success for rainbow trout and yellow perch. May 1 12,000 10” rainbow trout were stocked, so they should be very active by now. Fly fishing should start picking up as the temperatures warm.
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.
La Jara Creek—Fishing on La Jara Creek has been fair for brown trout. Fishing has been best on worms and spinners. Flows are high at approximately 67 cfs and the water is off color. The gate at La Jara Creek State Wildlife Area will remain closed until the Thursday before Memorial Day. The creek on the State Wildlife Area is accessible by foot or horse.
La Jara Reservoir—The reservoir is open and accessible, and water conditions are good. Fishing pressure has been light. Fishing has been slow. Anglers should be prepared for strong spring winds. Good fishing for brook trout and splake is expected throughout the summer.
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.
Mountain Home Reservoir—The lake recently was stocked with 3,700 catchable sized rainbow trout. Fishing for rainbows is reported as fair to good with the typical baits and lures.
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—Current water temp is 54 degrees. High winds over the weekend have slowed the fishing; however we have reports of limits of crappie being taken at the tires and the coves near the boat ramp, on minnows and black and blue chartreuse grubs. Pike are being caught on minnows, and floating Rapalas. Stop in and see us for current reports. See you soon. Call 883-BOAT for current conditions.
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.
Platoro Reservoir—Platoro reservoir is frozen and inaccessible.
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 have been stocked. The fishing is excellent. Some of the larger, holdover rainbow trout from last season also are being caught. Try worms and red salmon eggs. Fly fishermen could try a Black Wolley Bugger.
Ridgway Reservoir—The lake is still rising with the run off. The boat ramp has been open since early April as well as the inspection station. Fishing excellent. 4,000 catchable-sized Rainbow Trout were stocked this last week. Bank anglers have been doing well using night crawlers, red salmon eggs and silver or gold Kastmasters. Wolley Buggers are working as well. The Brown trout are moving out of the Mear’s Bay area and into the main reservoir. Try using a short set of cow bells followed by a nightcrawler for a chance at a large Brown. 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.
San Luis Lake—The boat ramp to San Luis Lake will be closed through May 15th to prepare for aquatic nuisance species boat inspections. The lake was recently stocked with 5,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout. Fishing is reported as fair for trout with the typical baits, and fair for carp on nymphs and streamers.
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. Spring fishing at Sanchez Reservoir is in gear. Fishing for walleyes and northern pike is reported as fair with crankbaits and jigs.
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—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.
Taylor Reservoir—Taylor Park Reservoir is almost free of ice. The marina will open on Saturday, but boat rentals will be pending ice off. The fishing from shore has been good most of the time, but now we have front developing and not sure what that will do to the fishing. We also were just stocked with Rainbows.
Totten Reservoir—The lake is open and full. No fishing Reports at this time. Trujillo Meadows Reservoir—Trujillo Meadows Reservoir is frozen and inaccessible.
Uncompahgre River in Ridgway Park—Fishing on the river at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk is good to excellent. Flows are steady at 300 cfs. The low winter flows that negatively impacted the habitat for both fish and bugs are over. Many of the smaller rainbows that drifted down river this winter are returning, along with the bugs. Fishermen are doing well using a San Juan worm below a stimulator. Also, try a gold ribbed hare’s ear size 14 - 16. We have seen quite a few Rainbow as well as some larger Cutthroat Trout caught. 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 should 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—Williams Creek below the Williams Creek Reservoir dam is high but fishable.
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!