Fishing report; Parks and Wildife says walleye spawn successful
Colorado fishing report April 17 – Walleye spawning wrap-up for 2012: Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists say this year’s walleye spawning effort at Chatfield, Cherry Creek and Pueblo Reservoirs ensured another year class of walleye and saugeye for the anglers of Colorado. Thanks to staff and a whole bunch of volunteers, we were able to take 119 million (119,205,031) walleye eggs in late March. The eggs have since hatched and many of them have already been stocked (as 1/4” fry) in the lakes and reservoirs around the state. Because of the success of this year’s spawning program, some eggs were traded with other states to help increase our hatchery stock of wipers and catfish.
METRO DENVER AREA
Aurora Reservoir (City of Aurora) – The City of Aurora tells us that the water temp is 48 degrees. Trout action from shore is fair to good. Shore anglers have been using power bait, salmon eggs, bright colored spoons and flies. Olive leech patterns seem to be working best for fly casters. Some walleye from boats trolling with bottom bouncers and reports of walleye caught from shore using swim baits and jigs. All other species slow or no report. Aurora Reservoir is restricted to electric motors only. Park hours for April are 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Arvada Reservoir (City of Arvada) – Arvada Reservoir has had a great first two weeks of fishing. A lot of fishermen have been getting their limit. Most catches are rainbow trout in the 10” - 12” range. We also recorded a 2 1/2 pound smallmouth bass, a 36” catfish and a 20” walleye taken this week. The favorite bait seems to be powerbait in varied colors followed by eggs and worms. Also effective was the fly and bubble with a Pistol Pete. Catches have been made from shore as well as from boats. The water level is high and the water temperature, according to my thermometer, is around 50 degrees. Thanks again to all you boaters for your cooperation in following the new Colorado State regulations on boat inspections. Our goal is keep the Zebra and Quagga mussels and other Aquatic Nuisance Species out of our reservoir. Remember, clean, drain and dry boats upon entering and leaving the reservoir.
Barr Lake State Park (Adams County) – No current update for Barr Lake. Last report several weeks ago showed bass hitting on worms north of the boat ramp. Don’t forget Barr Lake’s Earth Day celebration this Saturday. There will be events for the kids and the kid in all of us from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Google search the park and hit the web page for information.
Chatfield State Park (South of Littleton, Douglas and Jefferson County) – Rainbows are good from all areas of the lake with powerbait. Large sizes are being caught along the dam. Walleye of keepable size are being caught from boats off bottom-bouncers at approximately 15foot depth. Bass are starting to pick up.
Cherry Creek State Park (South of I-225 and east of I-25, Arapahoe County) – The lake is open for boating. The walleye spawning is complete. Fishing for walleye is still good. There have been many reports of rainbow and crappie being caught at Mountain Loop, Lake Loop and by the tower using salmon eggs and jigs. Please remember to stay 60 feet away from the Tower on Tower Loop. Make sure you have a parks pass for your vehicle and a valid fishing license. Remember, fishing is prohibited from the dam and within 100 feet of the dam.
Quincy Reservoir (City of Aurora) – Water temperature at Quincy Reservoir is 56 degrees. Quincy is restricted to artificial flies and lures only. Other special use rules are also in effect. Bass fishing has been fair for most anglers and good for some. Try the dam for smallmouth using jigs and crank baits. The coves on the east side have been productive for largemouth bass using soft plastics and crank baits. Some reports of crappie and perch caught using small jigs. Park hours for April are 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Standley Lake (City of Westminster, Jefferson County) – Standley Lake is currently closed to boating and camping for the season but will reopen on May 1. Fishing is allowed from shore only at this time. The current lake temperature is approximately 51 degrees. Fishing times are 7 a.m. to sunset and are strictly enforced. Aquatic bait is not allowed at Standley Lake - this includes salamanders, leeches, crayfish, frogs and minnows. Aquatic Nuisance Species regulations are in effect. A $7 entry fee is charged for all drive-in traffic. Drive-in access is available from 7 a.m. to sunset. For more information, contact the Standley Lake Nature Center at 303- 425-1097.
Antero Reservoir (Park County) – No report this week from Antero.
Boyd Lake State Park (North of Loveland, Larimer County) – Trout fishing is strong on worms around the lake. Largemouth bass fishing remains poor but smallmouth bass fishing has been fair this past week at Boyd Lake. Smallmouth anglers should try minnows around the north end of the lake. White bass are also hitting in the same area. No reports on bluegill, carp, catfish at this time. Crappie anglers doing well with trolling bait as are the walleye anglers north of the buoys. The current water temperature is estimated to be hovering around the High 40’s to low 50’s, with a depth of 52.1”. 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 2011-2012 Colorado Fishing Regulation for further clarification and information.
Carter Lake (Larimer County) – Will at Larimer County says the walleye fishing has been pretty slow but the water temps are starting to rise so that could change this week. Current temp is about 50 degrees. Trout have been very active from the shore. This is a great time of year to fish from a boat at Carter. Launching hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Minimum size for largemouth and smallmouth bass is 15 inches. Walleye bag limit is three and they must all be over 21”.
Eleven Mile State Park (Park County) – The lake opened to boating on April 3. TROUT: GOOD - The bite is short in duration but intense when it is on. Mid-morning is the best. The Lur Jensen Needlefish has been outstanding once the correct color of the day is determined. Use a red head lure regardless. The west end is holding the most fish with the Stoll, Lazy Boy, Cross Creek triangle being very productive. Lead Core line rigs are working very well. Try a 20 ft - 4# to 6# mono filament leader with lure tied directly to that and work it down 2 to 4 colors. Shore anglers are also doing well - mostly west. Typical baits (nightcrawlers, eggs, spawn sacs) with chartreuse or white Power Bait leading the pack for now. SALMON: No report yet. NORTHERN PIKE: GOOD - The pike continue their late ice season aggressiveness. Action is strong mid-morning and continuing into early afternoon. Work the west end from the wash out to the North side. The big ones are hugging the bottom in 23 to 25 feet of water. The down rigger and a large Rapala will put you where you need to be. All trailered vessels are required to go through a MANDATORY Inspection prior to launching a boat on the reservoir or removing it from the reservoir.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park Ponds (Jefferson County) – Ponds were last stocked with Trout on Oct. 5. 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 Dudes Fishing Hole. Each angler is allowed four fish per day with eight being the maximum number in possession. 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) – The six northern most coves of Horsetooth Reservoir are accessible from Lory State Park for fishing. Anglers can target walleye, smallmouth bass, perch, and trout.
Jackson Lake State Park (Morgan County) – Fishing from the boat, people have been catching trout. Fishing from the inlet and the dam, people have been catching mainly trout and a few wipers.
Jumbo Reservoir (Logan and Sedgwick Counties) – The lake is almost full. Water temp is reported at 52 degrees. Trout are being caught on worms and power bait.
North Sterling State Park (Logan County) – The reservoir is completely full, with the inlet and outlet both shut off. Few fishermen have been out so far this year but park staff has seen some trout and some excellent catfish that have been caught. Don’t forget to volunteer for the “Put Down Roots” tree-planting and tree-care day this Saturday (April 21) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers get a free BBQ lunch. Also on Saturday, you can hang out late at North Sterling and get a guide to the night sky as Northeastern Junior College Professor David Cole will offer stargazing tips with telescopes provided. Call the park for details on events 970-522-3657.
Prewitt Reservoir (Washington County) – Heard from one angler who landed a 19” wiper while drift fishing Prewitt this past week. Nice work. Also reports of carp hitting on shad-type lures. Water temp at Prewitt is 55 degrees. Outside of the band of winter weather that swept through conditions have been nice enough to keep anglers on the water for full days.
Spinney Mountain State Park (Park County) – Spinney Mountain State Park opened on April 2. Both ramps are available for use. A wide variety of fishing tube jigs, flies and lures are all working great so get set for some of the best fishing of the year. Shore fishing is excellent. The quantity of fish caught on opening day was good with a pretty fair percentage of them being browns. Pike have already become active and aggressive. Belly boaters and shore fishermen are all doing well. South Platte River (“Dreamstream”) below Spinney: Flow at 104 cfs on 4/13. Flows remain very consistent. Fishing is fair to good from Eleven Mile to the weir. Better numbers above, but they might not be as large in size. Fish being caught are bigger in size just below Spinney dam. Try a dry fly, nymph or small midge. South Platte above Spinney: 49 cfs on 4/13. No report, but the action should be good with a calmer flow than below the reservoir.
St. Vrain State Park ponds (Weld County) – Sandpiper, Mallard and Coot ponds were stocked with trout several times this spring and will be stocked frequently through May. Fishing for trout is good at this time. Folks up at St. Vrain tell us that Coot Pond is a hot spot if you’re using powerbait and worms on the bottom or bubble flies in the evening around dusk. Fishing for warm water species has been slow, but it is getting better as the water temperature warms. Please note that Bald Eagle Pond is restricted to fly and lure only and all bass must be returned to the water immediately.
Union Reservoir (Longmont) – The reservoir was stocked a couple of weeks ago with 2,000 catchable trout. Perch and trout reports are good along with a few walleye.
Adobe Creek Reservoir/Blue Lake (Kiowa and Bent Counties) – Slow for all species, small numbers of crappie and channel catfish are being caught, with the best fishing for crappie being from boats.
Arkansas River (Lake, Chaffee and Fremont Counties) – Here’s what the folks at ArkAnglers are saying about conditions on the Arkansas River: “Cool, cloudy weather moved through the valley Friday-Sunday, dusting the peaks and stopping what little melt we were receiving. The blue wing olive mayfly hatches were strong as a result and many people got into pods of rising fish during the afternoons. With warm weather forecast for Tuesday through Sunday, I expect the river to rise a little bit, hopefully back up to 300 cfs, and the water to warm up again, driving both insect and fish activity. In addition to the blue wing olive mayflies, morning midge activity has been excellent with fish moving into riffly water to take pupae from 9:00 till 11:00 or so.
Reports from early last week indicated the brachycentrus caddis hatch was underway in Canon City, with a few early bugs in the Parkdale area. We have not seen any of these caddis above Texas Creek though there are small numbers of other species around. The warming trend this week should restart the movement of this hatch and at least strengthen it in the lower canyon. We will keep you posted on that as it develops. Meanwhile, stonefly or attractor nymphs trailed by a midge in the morning, blue wing olive emerger trailers on sunny afternoons/bwo dries on cloudy ones, and then a return to stonefly nymphs for the final hours of the day.
De Weese Reservoir (Custer County) – The lake is full and ice free. Fishing for trout has been great, with most fish measuring 14” in length and some in the 16” to 18” range. Anglers have been very successful using power bait. Bass fishing has not been as productive but should pick up soon.
John Martin Reservoir State Park (Bent County) – Severe wind has slowed down the fishing a bit, however the spillway is still producing several wipers, and saugeye being taken with mussels, and Mr. Twisters. The north shore access gates are now open, and boating is allowed on John Martin Reservoir. Main lake is open, but wind is making boating difficult, crappies and white bass can be taken close to shore with crawlers, and red jig heads. Lake Hasty was stocked with trout the first week of March, and is still producing several trout fairly easily on powerbait.
Lake Pueblo State Park (Pueblo County) – The walleye are finished spawning. The best fishing for walleye is typically at night. Try using suspended jerkbaits, or live bait. Fishing for other species should pick up as the weather warms. Expect turbid water during periods of high wind this time of year. In the Arkansas River below the dam, the river levels are low, but fly fishing for trout has been consistent.
Martin Lake, Lathrop State Park (Huerfano County) – Stocking trucks made an appearance at the lake list this past week so the trout fishing is picking up. Try worms, powerbait and fireballs.
Meredith Reservoir (Crowley County) - Fishing at Meredith Reservoir is generally slow. Slow to fair for wiper, fair for black bullhead, also a few crappie being caught.
Mt. Elbert Forebay (Lake County) – Lots of carryover fish from last year’s stoking have fattened and are being caught on all kinds of bait and lures.
Turquoise Reservoir (Lake County) – Still ice on Turquoise but definitely DANGEROUS. Might try the Twins of the Mt. Elbert Forebay while the ice comes off a bit more.
Trinidad Lake State Park (Las Animas County) – Trinidad Lake is approx. 698 surface acres and the surface temp is holding at about 50 degrees. Fishing this past week slowed down some due to the wind and weather. We are expecting things to pick back up this week as the weather improves. The boat ramp opened in March and the dock was also installed. 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 rise. Anglers are reminded to check the regulations for bass and walleye. We also advise boaters to wear your PFD. For camping information call the Visitor’s Center at 719-846-6951.
Twin Lakes Reservoirs (Lake County) – Lower Twin went ice-free on Saturday. That’s really early for the ice to be off. Upper Twin was ice-free even earlier. Boat ramp at Upper Twin isn’t scheduled until May 18. We’ll let you know if that changes. Because ice-off was so early, not a lot of anglers are hitting the Twins right now.
Delaney Buttes, Cowdrey and Lake John (Jackson County) –Here’s what the folks at Lake John Resort are telling us this week: “All the local sagebrush lakes are free of ice and have been for several weeks. Due to the reclamation, we still need a little more water to top off Lake John. The inlet has been running going on two 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. They were out this past Saturday on John, and don’t know for certain, but I would bet the Delaneys and Cowdrey will be done soon, if not already, providing the ramps weren’t damaged during the winter. Let’s talk fishing—I mean, catching. You don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you what tactics will catch fish presently on Lake John, ‘cause about any type of angling will do. Of course you need to sort through some of the smaller fish for a dinner limit, but that just makes it all the more fun. Boat fishing or shore, trolling or casting, the action is hot. And there are still a lot of big ones to be had.”
Fryingpan, Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers (Pitkin and Garfield County) – Here’s some information on the Crystal River near Redstone from the folks at Taylor Creek Fly Shop:
“The flow is 533 cfs at Redstone. The Crystal River has been fishing well as of late. Now that we are experiencing warmer weather, the flows have increased and the water visibility will slowly drop with snow melt. Think big buggy flies with flash to get the fishes attention. Clarity on the Crystal has been day-to- day right now with warm weather. With that being said, think bigger flies with more flash such as: Beadhead Princes, Flashback Pheasent tails, Green and Red Copper Johns. Fish slower riffles and runs as well as big slow pools. “
Harvey Gap State Park (Garfield County) – 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 excellent - a total of 3,000 trout were added to the lake in March. These are 10”-12” trout, and they are still biting - and according to rumor, they bite on just about anything and everything! Highline Lake received 4,000 rainbows in March, and the water in Highline Lake should soon be warm enough for the trout, bass and catfish to start looking for your hook. It’s time to hang up the “Gone Fishin” sign and come to Highline or Mack Mesa Lake for a great day of fishing - bring everyone along, and share a fresh-fish fry! 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. Stop at the Highline Lake visitor center for your 2012 fishing license on your way to the lakes. Anglers are asked that if they catch or see a northern pike at either lake, please remove it from the water and alert the parks staff.
James M. Robb Colorado River State Park (Mesa County) – Catchable rainbow trout were stocked this past week in Old Orchard Pond in Island Acres. Last week’s stocking truck stopped at Red Rocks Lake in the Fruita section. Fishing at Corn Lake is always popular this time of year for families. Additional stocking will occur throughout the month of April until the water becomes too warm, generally around May 1.
Lake Granby (Grand County) – Bruce sent a note (thanks Bruce!). He says Granby is wide open and ice-free. He was able to catch and release half a dozen 12” rainbows on hardware.
Rifle Gap State Park (Garfield County) – Most anglers are looking for perch (no limit), pike (no limit) or trout (limit four). Rifle Gap was stocked with 2,000 catchable rainbow trout Feb. 22. When the ice was on, one angler had to leave a rainbow in the lake that wouldn’t fit through his 6” augered hole in the ice. Another angler pulled out a 23”, 4 pound 12 ounce brown trout.
Stagecoach State Park (Routt County) – Anglers recently started 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) – Meadow Point is now open to vehicle traffic and fishing is getting good. The reports on the inlets are fish are starting to come up them. Remember only hand launched boats are allowed at this time.
Sylvan Lake State Park (Eagle County) – The 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) – The lake level is rising rapidly and is completely ice free. Fishing is excellent with rainbows being caught in the 12 to 18 inch range. Early Settlers boat ramp is open at this time. All trailered boats must be inspected for aquatic nuisance species at the Visitor’s Center prior to launching.
Blue Mesa Reservoir – 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 40-42 deg. 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.
Jackson Gulch Reservoir, Mancos State Park (Montezuma County) – Fishing has been good for 10” to 12” rainbow trout and 4” to 6” yellow perch. Anglers report an occasional large brown trout on the hook. Worms, powerbait, and spinners have been successful for all fish. The ice has been off the lake for a week now and the inlet is running strong with snow melt from higher elevations. The trout especially like hanging out near the inlet in the flowing water. Be sure to bring your own bait/lures as there is no place nearby to purchase these items. Fishing licenses will not be available in the park until mid-May. The boat ramp is not open for trailered boat launching. You can hand launch smaller boats if you want to get out on the lake.
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) – Up until the last storm system, the catfish and northern pike anglers were reporting some success. Things slowed as the latest storm system moved through but action is likely to start picking up again as stable weather holds. Call the marina at 970-883-2628 for more information. Anglers are reminded that this reservoir spans the state line with New Mexico and you will need to have the appropriate state fishing license for the area of the lake you are fishing. To assist anglers, 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 this week. There have been at least two browns in the past week 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 all winter. 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
Taylor Reservoir (Gunnison County) – Taylor Reservoir is still frozen over.
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:
Northeast Region – Georgetown Lake, Georgetown; Mead Pond #2 (middle pond), Mead; North Lake Park Pond, Loveland; Pioneer Lake, Yuma;
Northwest Region – Axial Basin Lake, Moffat County; Craig City Ponds, Craig; Craig Justice Center Pond, Craig; Highline Lake,Mesa County; Old Orchard Pond, Island Acres, James M. Robb State Park, Mesa County; Riverbend Park Pond, Palisade.
Southeast Region – Martin Lake, Lathrop State Park, Walsenburg.
Southwest Region – Chipeta Lake, Montrose; Confluence Lake, Delta; Joe Moore Reservoir, Montezuma County; Pastorius Reservoir, La Plata County; San Miguel River, Norwood Hill Bridge to South Fork San Miguel River; Weatherill Pond, Russell Lakes State Wildlife Area, Saguache County.