Colorado Division of Wildlife’s weekly fishing report — Oct. 12, 2010

Seasonal Report: The Season of Change

As we make our way through October, many things will begin to change. Overnight lows will begin to dip below freezing, giving way to the appearance of skims of ice around the edges of some high mountain lakes. Several species, such as brown and brook trout will go into their fall spawning mode.

Some small mountain streams will offer good chances to catch spawning brookies.

Summertime hatches, such as mayflies, damselflies and stoneflies have gone for the year, but fly fishing anglers may still find some success with BWOs, woolly buggers or dead drifting nymphs. Fishing the tailwaters of rivers can also be rewarding experience for fly fishing anglers in October.

Many species are gearing up for winter and are actively feeding in the shallows of lakes and reservoirs. Anglers can take advantage of this opportunity to catch fish that are a bit more accessible to them this time of year.

Consecutive warm days may increase the activity for warm water species. Some walleye are taking leeches and minnows fished off the rip-rap. Catfish are hitting night crawlers, cutbaits and minnows in shallow coves.

Fishing for pike can be especially good in the fall. These hefty, hard-fighting fish can be found in the shallow gassy areas of lakes and reservoirs. Hooking into a pike can provide an angler with a rush of excitement they won’t soon forget.

Recent Stocking

Boyd Lake — Loveland
Catamount Reservoir — South of Steamboat Springs
Chamber Lake — North of Cameron Pass
Clear Lake — Southwest of Georgetown
Estes Lake — Estes Park
Fort Morgan Ponds — Fort Morgan
Georgetown Lake — Georgetown
Hale Ponds — North of Burlington
Hohnholz Lake — Hohnholz SWA
North Lake Park Pond — Loveland
Stalker Lake — Wray
West Wacker Pond — Snyder


Colorado River (near Granby)—The water flows below Windy Gap and below Parshall are 121cfs and 187cfs 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. 10/04/2010

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 instream 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—Colder nights and brisk mornings are making fishing better. 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. Fly fishing the inlet streams at Still Water and Arapaho Creek is very good; streamers, wooly buggers, emergers egg patterns, and some dry flies are working well. Finding fish has been fairly easy and getting them to bite is improving. The lake trout have begun their spawning season and will be up around the dikes and other rocky areas. Browns and rainbows will be up the inlet streams and sandy areas. 10/04/2010

Grand Lake—Fish activity is 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. Two prime bank fishing areas are the entrance to 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. The channel between Grand Lake and Shadow Mtn. will be closed for the month of October. Of course, this will stop boating access between the lake and reservoir. 9/27/2010

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—For the month of October the channel between Shadow Mtn. Reservoir and Grand Lake will be closed, stopping boat access between the two bodies of water. Fishing the pump canal and the area around the mouth of the canal 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 are being 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. 10/04/2010

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 wooley 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. 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 by the east boat ramp and in the Fingers. 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. The kokanee are gathering for the spawning run. Fall fish activity is picking up and some fishermen are doing well. From the buoy line at Williams Fork River inlet upstream to first CR bridge: fishing and snagging prohibited Sept. 15-Nov. 30. 10/04/2010

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. Fishing is very good. 10/04/2010

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 warmwater sportfish (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 604 cfs. The river is clear and fishing recently has been good. Fishermen have been using Black Sculp Zilla’s, Rag Sculpins, Hopper Droppers, Green hoppers 10-12’s. 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”. 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 970-533-7065 or 970-882-2213 to arrange an inspection. The boat ramp will close Oct. 16 for the season. A daily pass is required for day use of the park. 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.

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 67 degrees. The water is clearing after much needed rainfall and the fishing seems to be improving. Crappie are still slow on jigs and grubs. Bass have been fair on deep diving crankbaits and pike are good on spoons and large swimbaits. Catfish have been slow.

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.





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