Colorado fishing report for April 24
Ready to fish for a million?
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is once again joining with Cabelas to offer a few lucky anglers the chance to win up to $2 million in cash and more than $225,000 in additional prizes by catching tagged fish at select lakes across the United States. Colorado is one of 19 states participating in this year’s “Wanna Go Fishing for Millions?” event, which is designed to give anglers a little extra incentive to get outdoors and on the water between May 5 and July 8. The waters in Colorado that will be part of this year’s contest will be announced the first week in May but you can get a jump on things by registering now and reading the rules at http://www.cabelas.com/fishformillions.
Boat inspectioins ramping up
Warm weather has boaters and anglers itching to get out on the water. Inspection stations for aquatic nuisance species are opening early around the state. If you’re headed out and want to know learn more about the mandatory boat inspection program, you can find more information and a list of inspection stations and hours of operation online at: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/Pages/MandatoryBoatInspections.aspx
Delaney Buttes, Cowdrey and Lake John (Jackson County) – Cowdrey Lake and Lake John were both stocked with catchable rainbow this past week. The lakes are free of ice. Here’s what the folks at Lake John Resort are telling us this week: “Due to the reclamation, we still need a little more water to top off Lake John. The inlet has been running for about three weeks, with levels coming up slowly. Initially, we’ll only have water until ranchers need to irrigate, which will be another few weeks. At that point, the topping off will need to wait until after the haying season. But that’s all right, ‘cause we’re only a foot or two low, and the boat ramps are working fine. Speaking of boat ramps, the local Parks and Wildlife personnel have put the docks in for use early this spring.”
Fryingpan, Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers (Pitkin and Garfield County) – Here’s some information on the middle Roaring Fork (Basalt to Carbondale stretch) from the folks at Taylor Creek Fly Shop: “Flow is currently 286 cfs in Basalt with water conditions green and clear. FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midges 18-24. Stoneflies 16-20. Beatis 18-22. Caddis 16-18. Consistent fishing from in-town Basalt down to Catherine’s store bridge with beatis, stoneflies and caddis. Dry-fly action has been best between noon and 4 p.m. with beatis and midges and caddis in the late afternoon till dusk. Nymphing will be the most productive in between hatches with stoneflies as a lead fly and beatis or midge patterns trailed behind. Now’s the time to be on the freestone rivers, bugs are coming off in good numbers and the trout are on the feed. Good beatis or blue winged olives in the fast riffle water and midge action on the surface in the slow slack water, keep your eyes peeled for those rising fish. Nymphing fishing has been best between those bug hatches with light weight set ups in the faster riffles and tailouts.”
Harvey Gap State Park (Garfield County) – “The Gap” was stocked this past week with 3600 catchable (~10”) trout. Anglers are reporting good success for yellow perch throughout the lake. Fishing has also been good for northern pike.
Highline Lake State Park and Mack Mesa Reservoir (Mesa County) – Fishing at Mack Mesa is still excellent - more trout have been stocked into Mack Mesa in the past week or so and they are still biting. Highline Lake will also be stocked with more trout soon. The bass are finally biting; a 5 pounder was landed recently! So far no word on crappie. Power Bait is available in the Visitor Center, along with nightcrawlers and fishing licenses. For those who prefer to troll Highline Lake, ANS boat inspections are available at the WEST ramp, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ONLY. As always, “… the worst day fishing is better than any day at work.” If you catch or see a Northern Pike at either lake, please remove it from the water if possible and show it to the park staff.
James M. Robb Colorado River State Park (Mesa County) – Fishing has been great at Island Acres. People are catching their limit in trout at Old Orchard Lake and there are a few large trout that were stocked that have been biting on flies. At Corn Lake the trout fishing is excellent as well and most people are using power bait. The water at Red Rocks Lake in Fruita is warm enough now for the crappie and catfish to be active. The trout are still biting and there have been a few lucky people who have caught trout that were over 24 inches long!
Lake Granby (Grand County) – The lake trout are hitting well, according to the chatter on coloradofisherman.com. Sounds like anglers in deep water trolling from boats are bringing them in. Water temps are in the 46-48 range so laker fishing is NOW at Granby.
Pearl Lake State Park (Routt County) – Pearl Lake is ice free and a few reports of the fishing getting very good. The road is open to motorized traffic. Please remember Pearl Lake is regulated to flies and lures only, with a bag limit of two 18”+ trout.
Rifle Gap State Park (Garfield County) – Most anglers are looking for perch (no limit), pike (no limit) or trout (limit 4). Most recently some large walleye have been spotted on the bottom of the lake off the Cedar campground loop. It was reported that a 22” walleye and a 24” northern pike were caught by the same angler.
Stagecoach State Park (Routt County) – No recent updates out of Stagecoach but anglers are fishing the open water near the inlet and coves. Tailwaters anglers are using San Juan worms, RS2’s and zebra midges. CR 18 is now open. During the busy season for the Tailwaters, anglers are asked to be mindful of the resources and help avoid overcrowding.
Steamboat Lake State Park (Routt County) – All fishing acces roads are open with the exception of Sage Flats we are letting that dry out more. The reports on fishing are Great! reports of 17-20 inchers being caught. The fish seem to be hitting just about everything. Remember only hand launched boats are allowed at this time.
Sylvan Lake State Park (Eagle County) – Lake is ice free as of April 12. Fishing should really take off over the next few days. East and West Brush Creek are open, but slightly cloudy from the runoff. The beaver ponds between the lake and Visitor Center have been good for smaller brookies and browns on a variety of flies.
Vega State Park (Mesa County) – Fishing is excellent with rainbows being caught in the 12 - 18 inch range. Early Settlers boat ramp is open at this time. All trailered boats must be inspected at the Visitor’s Center prior to launching.
Blue Mesa Reservoir (Gunnison County) – Blue Mesa is boatable and the ice is off. Local anglers say this is the earliest they can remember ice off in quite a few years. Elk Creek and Lake Fork boat ramps are open from 6:30am to 6pm. Base water temps are from 40-42deg. Water levels are about 30 feet below full pool. Fishing around rocky shorelines has been very good for browns and rainbows using marabou jigs and small tube jigs tipped with meal worms. Lake trout fishing is fair with some bigger fish coming out of 20-50 feet of water jigging large spoons or tube jigs. Kokanee salmon fishing is also good with fish being caught across the west end of the lake trolling from 5-25 feet deep.
Crawford Reservoir (Delta County) – The pike have been hungry! Therefore, they have been biting well lately. We have recently had one caught that was over 19 lbs. Lots of other pike ranging from 9 to 17 pounds and up to 42” have been reported. Pike anglers are encouraged to keep as many fish as they can due to an overabundance of pike in Crawford Reservoir. There are no limits on northern pike at Crawford. Biologists are monitoring the fishery to gather data and work with anglers on a new lake management plan. Crappie have also been reported as more anglers get out along the shore and in boats.
Gunnison Gorge, Gunnison River (Delta County) – The crew at Gunnison River Expeditions sent a note. They say, “Flows are 358 CFS through the Gunnison Gorge. The fishing conditions are very good with clear water at 40 degrees. The blue winged olives, small midge, caddis nymphs, and small March stone flies are the flies of choice. The micro midge and killer mayflies are the most productive. Best time of day is mid day; fishing well all day. The North Fork is wadeable early but the water does come up in the afternoon. The lower Gunnison is blown out.”
Jackson Gulch Reservoir, Mancos State Park (Montezuma County) – The snow continues to melt in the high country so the inlet on the north side of the lake is flowing and this is always a good place to fish. Ten inch rainbow trout were stocked monthly through last summer and plenty of holdovers are still around. Fishing has been excellent for rainbow trout around 10-12” and 4-6” yellow perch with an occasional large brown trout. The trout are hanging out in 5-20 feet of water and also around the inlet. Powerbaits are working well, especially garlic. Also try florescent green and gold spinners and worms. Perch love nightcrawler, mealworm, or waxworm so a small jig tipped with nightcrawler works well. Perch are spending their time right down on the bottom of the lake. Perch are small, averaging about 4-6”, but anglers should keep them if they’ll eat them. There is no limit on the number of perch you can possess and they make great fish tacos! This also helps to work towards thinning the perch population in the lake. The daily limit for trout is 4. Remember to purchase your new fishing license (your old one expired 3/31). For fishing rules/regulations and information please visit: http://www.flipseekpubs.com/publication?i=99616.
Lake San Cristobal (Hinsdale County) – Got word this week that the ice is off the lake as of April 17.
McPhee Reservoir (Montezuma County) – Ice is off and the reservoir has been stocked this spring. The main boat ramp is open. Nearby Echo Canyon, Groundhog, Pastorius, Totten, Summit, Narraguinnep and Puett Reservoirs are also ice-free and fishable.
Navajo Reservoir State Park (Archuleta County) – Northern pike and catfish have started biting. Water temperature is currently approximately 49 degrees. Call our marina at 970-883-2628 for more information. Colorado and New Mexico fishing licenses are available at the Visitor Center.
Ridgway State Park (Ouray County) – The boat ramp opened on March 15. You must have your boat inspected for aquatic invasive species BEFORE launching. We have seen several brown trout in the 5 plus pound category caught lately, with a 9 lb 6oz brown trout caught in recent weeks. There have been at least two browns that were in the 10 lb range. As of April 2 we have stocked 29,000 rainbow trout (from 8” to 14”) in the reservoir. Shore fishing has been very good. Try a gold Kastmaster or worms. Boat fishermen are using Rainbow Rapals, Kastmasters and brown leadhead jigs. Fishing at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk has been great. The river flows remained above 60cfs which resulted in a very good survival rate and therefore good numbers of fish to catch. The Ponds at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk have a good population of holdover rainbow and brown trout. Fishing the ponds this spring has been very good. Please remember that the Uncompahgre River running adjacent to the ponds is restricted to flies and lures only and all fish caught must be returned to the water immediately.
Sanchez Reservoir (Costilla County) – Sanchez Reservoir is currently closed to all trailered watercraft. The boat inspection station will open on May 11 at which time trailered boats will be allowed on the reservoir. The inspection station will be open approximately 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Please be aware that the concrete boat ramp is currently closed due to low water. However, boats may be launched from the shoreline after being inspected.
San Luis State Park (Alamosa County) – Anglers are advised that San Luis Lake will not be getting water this year in an effort to reduce salt loading in the lake and the Rio Grande River. A press release explaining the change can be found at http://dnr.state.co.us/newsapp/press.asp?pressid=7633.
Vallecito Reservoir (La Plata County) – Ice is off but no fishing reports out of Vallecito yet. The boat ramp is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. but you need an appointment if you show up on a weekday (call 970-884-2558).
The following waters were recently stocked with catchable (approximately 10”) trout:
Northwest Region – Routt County : Big Pond, Casey Pond; Dillon Reservoir; Summit County; Dolan Gulch, Garfield County; Fletcher City Pond, Steamboat Springs; Harvey Gap, Garfield County; Kenney Reservoir, Rio Blanco County; Lake John, Jackson County; Parachute Pond, Town of Parachute; Rangely Fishing Pond,
Town of Rangely.
Southeast Region – Frantz Lake, Chaffee County; Horseshoe Reservoir, Huerfano County; Lathrop State Park, Quail Lake, Colorado Springs; Twin Lakes, Lake County.
Southwest Region – Beaver Lake, Gunnison County; Crystal River east of Marble; Chipeta Lake, Montrose; Confluence Lake, Delta; Island Lake; Town of Marble; McKee Lake, Gunnison County, near Marble.