Colorado Division of Wildlife’s weekly fishing report — Sept. 28, 2010

Seasonal Report: Autumn Angling

Fall is upon us. The leaves are beginning to change, hunting seasons have started and some high mountain peaks are reporting light dustings of snow.

Several species, such kokanee salmon, lake trout and brown trout are beginning to spawn. Many of these species can be found in the shallow areas of lakes and reservoirs, creating some exciting action for anglers.

Many hunters will pack along their rods and reels while out in the field. If the hunting action is slow, they’re prepared to look for action in back-country rivers and streams.

BWOs, caddis and red-quills have all been taking fish on cloudy days. Flows in the Arkansas River basin are low and clear, and anglers will find conditions ideal for wading.

Though mornings and evenings are still the most successful times to fish, anglers are starting to notice an increase in the number of bites throughout the day.

Lake Granby, Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Reservoir are all seeing improved fishing conditions, as fish are feeding more aggressively. The standard salmon eggs and worm combination, PowerBait and various types of lures and spinners are all drawing strikes.

Though the water temperatures may be decreasing, many warm water species are becoming more active. Several walleye and white bass have been taken on crankbaits at Bonny Reservoir. Lake Meredith has seen some nice catches of wiper, striper, crappie and channel catfish. Fishing for bullhead catfish has been very good.

It’s the time of year when things begin to slow down from the summer hustle and bustle, so take some time to get out there and enjoy a relaxing day of fishing.

Quote of the Week

“I am not against golf, since I cannot but suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering trout…”  — Paul O’Neil

Recent Stocking

Bellaire Lake — Red Feather
Boyd Lake — East of Loveland
Chartiers Pond — North of Brush
Cottonwood Reservoir #1 & #4 — Grand Mesa
East Wacker Pond — North of Brush
Elkhead Reservoir — Northeast of Craig
Evergreen Reservoir — Evergreen
Lake John — North of Walden
Lon Hagler Reservoir — South of Loveland
Mack Mesa Lake — North of Mack
Milavec Reservoir — North of Firestone
Sheldon Lake — Fort Collins
Sleepy Cat Pond — Southeast of Meeker
Tarryall Reservoir — South of Jefferson
Thomas Reservoir — Longmont
Union Reservoir — East of Longmont
Ward Creek Reservoir — Grand Mesa
Wellington Res. #4 — West of Wellington
West Lake — Grand Junction
West Lake — Red Feather
West Wacker Pond — North of Brush

Northwest

Colorado River (near Granby)—The water flows below Windy Gap and below Parshall are 114cfs and 184cfs respectively. Copper Johns, RS-2s, Prince nymphs, chartreuse wooly buggers, yellow colored flies, 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. 9/27/2010

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. This lake has really turned on. We are seeing very nice fish being caught and a variety of species. 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.

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—Fishing in the early morning and late evening are still the best times. Colder nights and brisk mornings are making fishing better. The kokanee are staging for their spawning run and are being caught in Grand Bay and toward A Bay. On October 1st, from Shadow Mountain Dam down to Twin Creeks will be 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, 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. The water level is still high, but is dropping rapidly. Finding fish has been fairly easy and getting them to bite is improving. 9/27/2010

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, 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. 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, will be prohibited; on January 1st, fishing will be allowed for 500 yards from the dam downstream and on March 15th the restrictions will be lifted. 9/27/2010

Stagecoach Reservoir—Due to park construction and decreasing water levels, the reservoir is 15 feet below full. The muddy shore line is exposed and algae is visible. The reservoir closed to trailered watercraft September 6th for the season to allow for ramp construction. 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, emergers and RS2’s have been working well for fly fishing the tailwaters. Green colored PowerBait, Kastmasters, and trolling with a crayfish lure have yielded some larger sized trout in the reservoir. Pike have been hitting on tube jigs and Kastmasters. The water temperature is in the low 60’s.

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. From the buoy line at Williams Fork River inlet upstream to first CR bridge: fishing and snagging prohibited Sept. 15-Nov. 30. 9/27/2010

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. The weather has cooled down and fish activity has picked up. 9/27/2010

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. Double bridges west of Hayden will temporarily close after Labor Day due to stream bank work. It will re-open later this fall.

Southwest

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. 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—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—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 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 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. The lake has a lot of crayfish in it and lures/patterns that imitate crayfish could be a good choice.

Gunnison River (through the canyon)—The flow in the Gunnison Gorge is 604 cfs. The river is clearing and fishing recently has been good. Fishermen have been using Hopper Droppers, Green hoppers 10-12’s. Red San Juan Worms, Red Copper Johns size 16, PMDs, Caddis Pupa Tan #14 and May Fly Midges Brown, 18-20’s. Light hatches of caddis coming off now. Autumn Splendor Streamers are good right now. #16 orange and brown stimulator as been hot this week. 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: http://www.parks.state.co.us 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.

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—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—Reservoir is low and the fishing is very poor.

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.

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 (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.

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. The boat ramp will be closed daily starting October 1st.

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 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 has picked up with recent fish stockings. 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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