Fall brings time of changes, including year’s final fishing report
Information for Anglers
THIS IS THE LAST SEASONAL REPORT FOR THE SEASON
Oct. 4 – This is the final fishing seasonal fishing report for the 2012 season. Colorado Parks and Wildlife appreciates all of the anglers, park managers, biologists and wildlife managers who took time to send us fishing information to pass along this year.
Look for some exciting changes coming before next spring, including an interactive map-based fishing application that a team of really smart people are working on. It’s the kind of application that will give a beginning anglers some ideas on places to go and also provide the advanced anglers with easier access to some of the amazingly deep data that our agency has on many of the waters around the state. Sounds cool, huh? Watch for it soon.
FALL… 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.
The following waters were recently stocked with catchable (approximately 10”) trout:
Metro Denver – Viele Lake, Boulder County, South Boulder Rec Center
Northeast Region – Boyd Lake, Larimer County, Boyd Lake State Park; Chambers Lake, Larimer County, NE of Cameron Pass; Douglass Reservoir, Larimer County, W of Wellington; Dowdy Lake, Larimer County, Red Feather Lakes; Georgetown Lake, Georgetown; Lost Lake, Larimer County, N of Chambers Lake; Sheldon Lake, Larimer County, NW of Fort Collins; Tamarack Ranch Pond, Logan County, S of Crook; Wellington Reservoir #4, Larimer County, NW of Wellington.
Northwest Region – Meadows Reservoir, Mesa County, Plateau Creek
Southeast Region – None this week
Southwest Region – Eggleston Lake, Delta County, Grand Mesa; Road Canyon Reservoir, Hinsdale County, W of Creede
METRO DENVER AREA
Aurora Reservoir (City of Aurora) – Water temp is 60 degrees. Trout fishing from shore is slow to fair. Best success has been from the East and West end of the Dam using PowerBait and crawlers from a slip rig. Boaters are reporting slow to fair success on trout trolling with crawlers. Walleye action is fair using jigs, spoons and bottom bouncers. Most are not of legal size to possess. Perch action is fair to good using jigs and worms. We should start to see the fishing improve this month. The fall can be some of the best fishing of the year! Olive leech patterns and brown and olive wooly buggers are great fall fly patterns. Boats are restricted to electric motors only. Fall hours of operation in October are 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and November 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information please call 303-690-1286. Please Note: A watercraft access pass is required to launch any watercraft and must be inspected prior to launching. Reservoir will close to boating Dec. 1 for the season.
Arvada Reservoir (City of Arvada) – There’s nothing new to report at Arvada reservoir. Water level is low but still able to launch boats. No new stockings and none are expected for the remainder of the season. We have had some good catches of large catfish in 20-25 pound range but the trout catches have not been very good. Water temperature is cooling so hopefully the fishing will pick up. Remember, the last day of fishing at Arvada Reservoir is Oct. 31.
Barr Lake State Park (Adams County) – The reservoir will not be drained! Water clarity is good; temperature is 74 degrees. The public fish salvage is still in effect. Best times are early morning and late in the evening. Anglers are catching trout on both sides close to the dam; they are also hooking perch, smallmouth bass and carp from shore. Worms are still your best bet for bait. Corn for carp and chicken livers for catfish also doing well. The water is 6 1/2 feet deep at the yellow corrals, go 20feet west and the lake is 10 feet deep. Also try all around the west outlet. A state parks pass is required ($7 Daily Pass or $70 Annual Pass).
Chatfield State Park (South of Littleton, Douglas and Jefferson County) – The walleye fishing has picked up the past few days. Bluegill and perch are good from shore. Bass fishing has been slowing down. Rainbows are slow but cooler weather in the next few days is likely to recharge the trout for the weekend. Try targeting trout on cloudy days when feeding activity can spike early and late. Large catfish are being caught from Gravel Ponds and King Fisher off egg sacks, as well as worms.
Cherry Creek State Park (South of I-225 and east of I-25, Arapahoe County) – The water temperature is currently at 64 degrees. There is construction at Mountain Loop and Lake Loop. Be aware of periodic closures due to that construction. Walleye have been caught at Tower Loop, the Point at the Marina and on the east shore. The East Shades has produced bass and Lake Loop trout. All of this has been accomplished using lures. Boaters, please remember to stay at least 60 feet away from in front of the tower structure. The east and west boat ramps are open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Starting Oct. 1, the inspection hours will change from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. No launching is permitted outside those hours without previous inspection.
Quincy Reservoir (City of Aurora) – The water level is low and shoreline conditions are muddy. Trout fishing is slow at this time. Some reports of success using flies. Bass fishing is slow to fair using plastics, jigs and crank baits. October hours of operation are 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures. Hand launched and electric motor propelled boats only. For more information please call 303-693-5463. Please Note: A watercraft access pass is required to launch any watercraft and must be inspected prior to launching. Quincy will close Oct. 31for the season.
Standley Lake (City of Westminster, Jefferson County) – Standley Lake is open to boating and camping for the season. You must obtain a Sail/Fish boating permit ($200.00) to have access to the lake or purchase a Single-day use fishing permit ($15.00). These are available for boats with 20 horsepower or under engines only and must meet current quarantine times to access to the lake. Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) regulations are in effect. Fishing times are 7 a.m. to sunset and will be strictly enforced. Aquatic bait is not allowed at Standley Lake; this includes salamanders, leeches, crayfish, frogs and minnows. Call for more details. A $7 fee is charged for all drive-in traffic. Drive-in access is available from 70 a.m. to sunset. For more information, contact the Standley Lake Nature Center at (303) 425-1097.
Antero Reservoir (Park County) – Fish reporter Brian was out at Antero on Saturday, Sept. 29. Here’s what he said about the trip: “We had four on board to launch about 2:30 p.m. and cruised to the weed lines on the south shore. We were into fish almost immediately drifting along the weeds and tossing lures right above them. The fish attack with vengeance but it does seem they are slightly less aggressive than earlier in the year when the water warmed and bugs were everywhere. We caught and released so many fish it didn’t seem to matter about color selection, especially when cloud cover dulled the bright sunlight. The water has cooled somewhat but the fish continue to forage. One group of boaters professed to catching an eight pound rainbow the day before! It was cold camping and duck hunters were quick to launch and deploy their decoys the next morning. We were the last boat out on Saturday but by Sunday morning the lake had a fair amount of boaters out and about as we launched. The Southside was productive but we headed to the inlet and cast from boat to shore. We were rewarded with a mix of browns and cut bows, including a rod bender at about 22”. I think several we hooked might have been larger but the fish instinctively head for the weeds and throw the lures from their eager mouths quickly, a quickset seems mandatory, and even the slightest slack seems to allow them to spit as they are hooked. In total we landed and released about 40 fish so I am going to give Antero a huge THUMBS UP as the season winds down. I declare get out there while you can and enjoy one of the finest fisheries in Colorado and many thanks to Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Denver Water for providing trophy waters for the brave hearts who trek to Antero in hopes that BIG WALLY is right around the bend and every cast is potential for trout some only dream about. I don’t think there is rhyme or reason to the next catch and anything seems possible. I do find it a little weird that the trout tend to group in similar size schools and when you are into big fish the rest seem to fit the same profile. Maybe it is the feeding patterns as they swarm on smaller fish and engorge until moving on. Catch and release the big ones seems appropriate and my hope to keep the fishery a quality water despite open regulations that allow bait even though those folks seem to missing the fly and lure action.
Boyd Lake State Park (North of Loveland, Larimer County) – Trout fishing is slow with some success reported on spinners around the lake. Bass anglers are reporting a good catch with largemouth hitting plastics in the shallows and smallmouth taking tubes in five to six feet of water. White bass fishing has been good from shore but excellent from boats with a gold minnow imitation lure doing the trick, especially in the north end of the lake. Bluegill fishing is good on jigs near the dock. Carp fishing has slowed considerably. Catfish anglers report good conditions at night on stinkbaits in 12 to 15 feet of water. Crappie are hitting minnows in the south end and near the marina. Walleye fishing has been poor with some success in the deeper waters. The current water temperature is estimated to be hovering in the mid 70’s with a depth of 30.9 feet. PLEASE NOTE: Any Live fish collected for use as bait may only be used in the same body of water from which they were collected. All live baitfish from a commercial source and transported by anglers must at all times be accompanied by a receipt for the source. See the Colorado Fishing Regulation for further clarification and information.
Carter Lake (Larimer County) - Walleye activity is fair. Trout fishing is picking up with cooler weather. The forecasted rains may improve fishing this coming weekend, especially for the early morning hours. Inspections for invasive mussels are required before entering any Larimer County waters so please check times for inspections.
Eldorado Canyon State Park, South Boulder Creek (Boulder County) – Fishing in South Boulder Creek is picking up as the weather cools down. The creek is running low for this time of year, but low water can bring great fishing. The water level is currently running at 18 cfs. South Boulder Creek holds some nice fish, mostly browns in the 8 to 12 inch range, and an occasional 12 plus inch fish. We have also seen more and more rainbows that make it down from Gross Reservoir, one recent report of a 14 inch rainbow. The water is clear, cold, and is home to an abundant number of fish. The best time to fish is 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Fish are hitting on a variety of nymphs: #16 RS-2s, and yellow CDC flashback pheasant tails, #18 midges and purple psycho princes just to name a few, but most any dry fly we have seen success with.. For the younger kids and non fly fishers we have also seen some success with live worms and salmon eggs. Live bait spinning rods and fly fishing all permitted and success rate for each is high. Come early (at sunrise) and avoid the picnic crowds and please be careful on the slick rocks. We also now sell fishing and hunting licenses at the Visitor Center please come in and get yours today!
Eleven Mile State Park (Park County) – Trout (VERY GOOD To EXCELLENT) Boaters are having the best success throughout in 10-20’ of water. Shore fishermen are reporting the best bite from sunrise to late afternoon along the south side from Witcher’s Cove to Lazy Boy. Rainbow and chartreuse Powerbait are hot, Nightcrawlers w/PopGear or floated with a marshmallow. If using lures try Tazmanian Devils, Kastmasters or Trout HDs for the best success. An unusually large number of 4-8 # trout have shown up this fall. Pike (VERY GOOD to EXCELLENT) Reports are in of big pike (8-12 pounders) being caught along the west end of the reservoir. Spinner baits are working well if used properly. Jig and flutter works better than a cast and fast retrieve. Salmon (SLOW) Last reports of success were in the main channel out from North Boat Ramp and around Deer Island. Try Arnies Dynamic, Needlefish or Pop Gear with wedding rings.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park Ponds (Jefferson and Gilpin Counties) – Golden Gate Canyon State Park offers five fishing ponds open year-round to all park visitors. The ponds are Kriley, Slough, Ranch Ponds East and West, and Dude’s Fishing Hole. Currently, water levels are low in many of our ponds. Kriley and Slough Ponds are recommended. Each angler is allowed four fish per day with eight being the maximum number in position. Anglers have the best success in the early morning and the hour before dark. No live baits are allowed with the exception of worms. Please call the Visitor Center for directions at 303-582-3707.
Horsetooth Reservoir, Lory State Park (Larimer County) - No report this week from Larimer County. The six northern most coves of Horsetooth Reservoir are accessible from Lory State Park for fishing. A fishing license from the state of Colorado is required to fish. All Colorado Parks and Wildlife fishing regulations apply. Known species of fish in the reservoir include walleye, smallmouth bass, perch, and trout.
Jackson Lake State Park (Morgan County) – Some of the water edges are muddy. Water temperature is approximately 70 degrees. Shore fishing in the lake has been good for channel catfish and fair for all other species. The reservoir is very low. Our boat ramp is closed due to no water at the ramp. We will allow hand carry vessels (canoes, belly boats, etc.) but one will have to carry them out to the water.
Jumbo Reservoir (Logan and Sedgwick Counties) – The boat ramp at Jumbo Reservoir (Logan and Sedgwick Counties) has been closed as the water level has dropped below the end of the ramp. The boat ramp will reopen next spring when water levels begin to rise. Hand- launched boats are still allowed. Shore anglers at the reservoir are asked to harvest any fish that are caught using legal methods. The fish salvage order currently in effect at Jumbo Reservoir means that size, bag and possession limits at the lake are currently lifted however only legal methods of take are allowed. No commercial fishing is allowed under the salvage order. The reservoir will be stocked next spring when water levels begin to rise.
North Sterling State Park (Logan County) - On September 17-18 we experienced a fish kill due to low oxygen levels after the lake turned over. The low water levels and wind contributed to this die off where fish were deprived of oxygen. It is not a total kill, but we did loose most if not all of the shad and we lost some wiper and walleye and only a few crappie, catfish, bluegill, and perch. Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists are already working on a restocking plan for the lake if water storage levels improve this winter.
Prewitt Reservoir (Washington County) – Prewitt water levels have dropped and the boat ramp is unusable and closed for the rest of the season.
Spinney Mountain State Park (Park County) – Spinney – Trout (VERY GOOD - EXCELLENT) Reports are showing successful catches from the Eastern Shorelines. Egg patterns, scuds, wooly buggers, copper johns, pheasant tails, tazmanian devils, khaos, and daredevls. Pike (GOOD) Pike action is picking up throughout the reservoir. Try crank or jerk baits, large tube jigs, & Tazmanian Devils. South Platte above Spinney – Streamflow is at 67.6 cfs on 9/12/12 at 3:45 pm. Dream Stream – (GOOD) Pale morning dunns, elk hair caddis, rs2, eggs, and scuds. The bends in the river towards 11 Mile and near the red barns have seen some big fish caught lately.
St. Vrain State Park ponds (Weld County) – Fishing for trout is slow and warm water species are biting well. Bass, Sunfish and Catfish have been biting well in the mornings and evenings and catfish are active, especially at night. Bass are being caught on buzz baits and crank baits (mainly in the early morning on Bald Eagle Pond). Sunfish have been active on worms and flies with casting bubbles. Catfish have been caught on worms and stink baits. Please note that Bald Eagle Pond has the following Restrictions: 1. Fish with flies and lures only. 2. All bass must be returned to the water immediately. PLEASE REMEMBER TO CARRY YOUR FISHING LICENSE WITH YOU WHILE FISHING.
Adobe Creek Reservoir/Blue Lake (Kiowa and Bent Counties) – Water levels are low. Fishing for catfish is fair to good both from shore and from a boat.
Arkansas River (Lake, Chaffee and Fremont Counties) – Here’s a report on the upper reaches of the Arkansas River from fish reporter Dane Davis:
“Not much has changed on the upper reaches. In the Two Bit Gulch and Hayden Meadows reach of the Arkansas River fishing has been fair. My sage advice would be to employ a blue winged olive during the morning and shift to prince nymphs in the afternoon. Midday water temperatures had been in the low 50’s. For the Balltown to Granite reach of the Arkansas River, fishing has been fair. Anglers reported catching brown trout on elk hair caddis and PMD’s near Balltown. The sizes of the brown trout anglers reported catching were between 10 to 14 inches. Midday water temperatures had been in the low 50’s. Between Otero and Railroad Bridges, fishing has been fair. Anglers reported success with brown trout taking emergers. No rainbow trout were reported being caught that week. Midday water temperatures had been in the high 40’s.”
Here are some fall and winter fishing pointers from Greg at ArkAnglers: “With the 90-day forecast (NOAA) calling for above average temperatures, it seems likely that 2012 will mirror recent years in terms of productive late fall fishing on the Arkansas River. We can anticipate post-spawn brown trout returning to active feeding in later October (rather than retiring to winter holes) while rainbows will continue to feed whenever there is food, likely throughout the winter. While there are currently several species of active mayflies and caddis, plus the ubiquitous midges, in the coming weeks look for the available food supply to narrow to blue wing olive mayflies and midges. Moving into November, midges may be the only emerging insects left. Despite this, active fish will maintain an opportunistic posture and continue to take representations of these bugs, as well as stonefly nymphs, caddis larvae, and a variety of attractors. As the days grow shorter and the sun sits lower in the sky, water temperature becomes a more significant driver of fish activity. Suffice it to say that November anglers will want to focus their efforts on the warmest part of the day and, particularly, on those days when the sun is full on the water.”
Brush Hollow Reservoir (Fremont County) – Fishing is slow. Boat ramp is inaccessible due to low water levels.
Clear Creek Reservoir (Chaffee County) – Sept. 30 was the last day of the season the lake is open to trailered boats, although it remains open to shore and, eventually, ice fishing. Hand-carried watercraft such as canoes, kayaks and belly boats are allowed. Slow fishing this past week. Fish that were caught were generally on Kastmasters; however, one fisherman did well trolling with a small Spinner Minnow by Vibrax. In keeping with the generally poor results this past week, one longtime Clear Creek fisherman declared that this past week was the worst he has seen in the past 66 years. Kokanee catches were almost non-existent, as opposed to the good catches the past three Septembers. Similarly, only two Tiger Muskies were reported caught all summer long - although many were reported seen almost each day- where in past summers twice that number were reported landed every week in the last half of the summer. From shore, both PowerBait and worms have produced one to four trout caught in three hours’ time, with a few in the 14-inch length sizes. Fly fishermen have had similarly unremarkable results.
In general, Clear Creek Reservoir is open to trailered boats May through September. Although the 2013 schedule is as yet undetermined, the past four summers it has been from the first week in May though the last week in September, with longer hours for June, July, and August.
DeWeese Reservoir (Custer County) – Fishing has been slow. Remember, there are no size restrictions for the smallmouth bass in DeWeese. The daily bag limit for bass in DeWeese is five of any size.
Henry Lake (Crowley County) - Fishing for channel catfish from shore is fair to good with an occasional wiper being caught. Currently, boats can only be hand launched at Henry.
John Martin Reservoir State Park (Bent County) – The fish activity on the reservoir is increasing, and the white bass are starting to bite again. The crappie bite should be starting soon as well. The spillway is not being fished very often.
Lake Pueblo State Park (Pueblo County) – As the temperatures start to drop and the fall weather sets in, you will see an increased number of dead shad littering the shoreline. Understand that this is normal and it happens every year. shad are very sensitive when it comes to temperature change and then die off not affecting the fishing. In fact, word has it that anglers have been very productive floating worms on top and even floating them off the bottom. There has been word that most of the fish being caught (smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass)have been fat with shad with shad in their bellies. If floating worms isn’t your game, jiggling spoons from the boat can start to produce fish. This technique imitates a dying bait fish which can trigger a predatory response. If all else fails, trolling the lake can be productive. I have heard of several big carp being caught on Rapala’s as well as a few walleye and bass. This technique is a good way to cover a lot of water in a limited amount of time. The Arkansas River below the dam has been hot lately but due to the reduced flows, fishing for big fish has become more technical, RS2, WD40’s, and caddis are going to be the fly of choice when fishing.
Martin Lake and Horseshoe Lake, Lathrop State Park (Huerfano County) – Fishing continues to be good on both lakes. We are still seeing trout being caught with the majority of the trout being in the 10-14 inch range. Trout are being caught on PowerBait.
Meredith Reservoir (Crowley County) – Water levels are low at Meredith. Fishing for catfish from shore is fair, using a variety of baits. The main boat ramp at Meredith is closed and the gravel boat ramp is use at your own risk.
Trinidad Lake State Park (Las Animas County)– Trinidad Lake is approximately 434 surface acres with the surface temperature about 61 degrees. With the cooler weather moving in fishing has been great. We are seeing lots of large rainbow trout being caught along with some great walleye and yellow perch. The black crappie have also been hittin’ hard! Jiggin’ for walleyes and black crappie is working best and a bright colored power-bait or night crawlers are getting the trout. ANS boat inspections are taking place so be sure your boat is “CLEANED, DRAINED, and DRIED”. Boaters beware of floating debris and unmarked hazards as the water level continues to slowly fall. Anglers are reminded to check the regulations for bass and walleye and to always wear your PFD!! For more information call the Visitor’s Center at 719-846-6951.
Turquoise Reservoir (Lake County) – Turquoise is now closed to boating for the season. The reservoir is currently 20 feet below maximum capacity with surface water temps in the mid-50s. All interviewed boaters on September 30 caught at least six trout in their group. Most of the catch comprised of rainbow trout along with a few lake trout being landed from a boat. Boaters had success trolling with either a krocodile or a daredevil. On the other hand, fishing from shore remains less productive than boat fishing. Only one out of the ten interviewed shore anglers caught over four trout on September 30. A two hour period of fishing generally yielded one or two trout from shore. One shore angler reported catching three lake trout at the corner of Sugar Loaf Dam on a jig coupled with mealworms.
Twin Lakes Reservoirs (Lake County) - Fishing is slow but should start picking up now that the calendar and the temperatures are turning to fall.
Delaney Buttes, Cowdrey and Lake John (Jackson County) - No report this week.
Elkhead Reservoir State Park (Moffat County) – Fishing at Elkhead Reservoir continues to be excellent for bluegills. Crappie and bass are biting all around the lake; pike are big and currently elusive.
Harvey Gap State Park (Garfield County) – Anglers are having luck catching perch and pike throughout the lake. Several channel catfish have also been caught recently.
Highline Lake State Park and Mack Mesa Reservoir (Mesa County) – Fishing is improving at Mack Mesa as the weather is beginning to cool down. Seventy 10-pound-plus catfish were stocked in Highline and Mack Mesa on Sept. 12. Bluegill, bass, and crappie are still out there waiting to be caught in Highline and Mack Mesa. As things cool off keep checking back as we will be stocking fall trout soon.
James M. Robb Colorado River State Park (Mesa County) - Catfish are really biting at Fruita. Liver seems to be working best. Trout are being caught at Island Acres and Fruita early in the morning and late evening. Most fish are small in size. Popular forms of bait have been worms, PowerBait and flies. Bass fishing at Connected Lakes has really picked up over the last few days with reports of bass up to 6 pounds.
Lake Granby (Grand County) - Fishing has really picked up, especially on the east shoreline and around the islands. Cooler temperatures are here and the fall scenery is hard to beat but take a good jacket for the early morning fishing, it seems to be the best time of day for trout action.
Pearl Lake State Park (Routt County) - Fish early for best results. The willows near the spillway have been a good location using flies and lures.
Rifle Gap State Park (Garfield County) - Recent stockings have the trout anglers seeing an increase in action on the reservoir. Stream action is also going well as fall temperatures have arrived. Rainbow and brown trout are found in East Rifle Creek which flows through Rifle Falls. Fish up to 19 inches long have been taken, with six to nine inch fish being the average size. Brown and Black flies or spinners work the best.
Stagecoach State Park (Routt County) - Pike and trout activity has been picking up with cooler water temperatures. Spinners, spoons and kastmasters seem to be working for pike, and wooly buggers, worms, and power bait have been working well for trout. In order to protect and sustain the trout population at Stagecoach, wildlife managers are encouraging anglers to harvest any pike caught. Some pike are tagged with orange tags at the base of the dorsal fin for study. Please report your catch information to the number on the tag. Tailwaters fishing is phenomenal during the cooler months. Blue winged olives, elk hair caddis and san juan worms have been doing the trick for tailwaters anglers. Small sections of shoreline have been roped off to help prevent erosion.
Steamboat Lake State Park (Routt County) – Fishing from shore has been pretty good in the morning but tapers off as the day warms up. Shore fishing in the morning has been best at Rainbow Ridge and Meadow Point. Fishermen have been successful using night crawlers or power bait as well as spinners and various flies. Later in the day, fish the deep water by the dam. Boaters have been doing well using minnow lures and spinners in the lake.
Sylvan Lake State Park (Eagle County) – Last stocked with catchable-size rainbow on Aug. 21, fishing has been good with worms and PowerBait. Anglers are also doing well with a variety of small, drab-looking flies and spinners.
Vega State Park (Mesa County) – Water levels are low and all three boat ramps are CLOSED for the season. No trailered boats at this time however, hand launching of small watercraft is permitted until the lake freezes. Shore fishing is still good, with successful anglers using PowerBait and worms. You may purchase fishing licenses at the Visitor’s Center from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily.
Williams Fork Reservoir (Grand County) - Boat ramp is closed for the year. Hand-launched boats only.
Blue Mesa Reservoir (Gunnison County) – Fall fishing on Blue Mesa can be excellent. Browns and Lake Trout begin their spawn in October and these fish can be caught along the shoreline in any gravel structure. Kokanee salmon fishing is also good in the Sapinero basin area. Ice fishing should resume in Iola basin around the Dec. 1 and from Elk Creek Marina west to the dam around the end of January. Boat ramps at Elk Creek and Lake Fork will remain open until iced in.
Crawford State Park (Delta County) – It is a long walk to the waters edge. There are fewer fishermen willing to journey that far. There is a road which is accessed from the Clear Fork camp ground area that allows a vehicle to get closer to the water’s edge. Be sure to stay away from the mud so as to not get stuck.
Gunnison Gorge, Gunnison River (Gunnison - Delta County) – Gunnison River Expeditions says flows are holding at around 480 cfs. We are expecting the river flows to start dropping into October. We have had some stone fly action in the gorge. It appears the bugs are molting their shells. Hopper droppers, Tricos, and streamers are also working well right now in the Gorge and on the lower Gunnison. For more information please call the Gunnison River Pleasure Park.
Jackson Gulch Reservoir, Mancos State Park (Montezuma County) – The lake has dropped due to warm, dry weather and domestic demands on the water supply. Ten inch rainbow trout were stocked monthly through the summer. In spite of the low levels fishing has been good for rainbow trout around 10-12” and 4-6” yellow perch with an occasional large brown trout. Please use caution accessing the shoreline for shore fishing as the banks can be steep and muddy with the low water level. The trout enjoy various PowerBait (especially rainbow and garlic), florescent green and gold spinners and worms. Fly fishing is popular in the early mornings and evenings. Perch love nightcrawler, mealworm, or waxworm so a small jig tipped with nightcrawler works well. 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. Fishing licenses can be purchased at the park entrance station.
Navajo State Park (Archuleta County) – Fishing has slowed some. 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 fall colors are amazing and the fishing has really picked up with the cooler weather. The reservoir is at 61 percent capacity and holding. Both shore fishermen and boaters are reporting average fishing for stocker-sized fish (8”-14”) with a few larger fish (18”-20”) also being caught. The catch is mainly rainbows, but there have also been some brown trout, splake, and a few smallmouth bass. Shore fishermen are doing best between the Dutch Charlie fishing pier and the mouth of Mears Bay, and also along the Dallas Creek day use area shoreline. Shore fishermen should try green, orange, and pink PowerBait, or worms off the bottom; Kastmasters and Mepps are the favored lures. Boat fishermen are having luck with Rapalas and Kastmasters near the dam, along the west shoreline and around the opening to Mears Bay. Fishing in the Uncompahgre River at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk is very good. The river flows are currently at around 103 CFS, depending on the downstream call for water. Fly fisherman are doing well on Wooly Buggers (brown), Copper Johns, and Pheasant Tails (red is doing well); small midges are also working. Spin fisherman are doing well with Mepps and Panther Martins. Please remember that the Uncompahgre River in Pa-Cu-Chu-Puk is restricted to flies and lures only, and all fish caught must be returned to the river immediately. The ponds at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk have a good population of rainbows and some brown trout. Fishing in the ponds has been average. There have been occasional larger fish (18”-20”) caught. Fishermen have been doing best with worms and salmon eggs near the surface in the mornings and evenings, and various colors of PowerBait off the bottom at other times. Remember that the Uncompahgre River adjacent to the ponds is restricted to flies and lures only.
Taylor Reservoir (Gunnison County) – Marina closed on Sept 30… see you next spring!
Keep in mind that fishing conditions change on a constant basis. We encourage anglers to explore some of the numerous private websites that offer fishing condition reports. Examples include: http://www.fishexplorer.com, http://www.coloradofisherman.com, http://www.fishhound.com and http://www.sportfishcolorado.com. Many other fly shops and marinas also offer fishing condition reports on their websites as well.