OUT: Weekly Fishing Report April 15, 2009
Colorado Division Of Wildlife’s Weekly Fishing Report
April 14, 2009
Spring has come to Colorado and with it a time when most anglers are eagerly awaiting the prime fishing times on their favorite waters.
For some, the time already has arrived. For others, it lies just ahead. For all, the early season fishing prospects are just about as predictable as the weather.
Many parts of the state received good, early season snowfall, followed by a relatively mild winter. Spring seemed to arrive unusually early, complete with an early ice-out at the popular
South Park reservoirs, among others. Spinney Mountain Res. opened in March for only the second time in its history.
That promise of spring proved to be a false one, however. A series of new snowstorms brought a return to winter across much of Colorado. Lakes and reservoirs that had opened early remained that way, but the second wave of winter brought new snow and cold, and delayed the thaw on lakes that still had an ice cover.
Veteran observers of the state’s outdoor scene have described it as a typical spring, predictable only in its unpredictability.
For lake fishermen, that means the hot fishing times of ice-out are at hand. Though reservoirs such as Granby and Blue Mesa still have a significant ice cover, areas of open water are expanding. Though the weather may be raw, even the North Park lakes have patches of open water. Springtime ice can weaken quickly, and ice fishing no longer is recommended on reservoirs such as Wolford Mountain, which at last report still was iced-over.
Fishing at reservoirs such as Antero and Eleven Mile that opened early remains generally good, and new open-water opportunities are appearing almost daily.
At lower elevations, most lakes have been free of ice for several weeks. Many, including Front Range metro-area lakes, lakes on the eastern plains and lakes around Grand Junction have been stocked with catchable-sized trout.
Stream fishermen also are enjoying some potentially good early season possibilities.
Free-flowing rivers are in a pre-runoff mode. Though some discoloration from lower-elevation snowmelt can appear on warm days, the water generally is clear. Trout may rise to emerging midges, and warm, cloudy afternoon can produce hatches of blue-wing olive mayflies.
Tailwaters – the portions of rivers below a dam – have been producing fairly good fishing through the winter and remain a good choice through the spring and early summer.
Mountain creeks and beaver ponds remain in winter’s grip in much of the state, and as the snow receded, access can be problematic because of muddy roads.
Though the interval of mild late-winter weather reduced the snowpack in some parts of the state, almost all major basins have at least an average accumulation of snow going into the spring. That suggests adequate flows through the summer, and a normal, rather than prolonged, spring runoff. Reservoir levels, as a rule, also should be adequate through much of the summer.
Warm-water fishing generally has been slow, but with warming weather, walleyes, crappie, catfish and bass will become more active. Wipers are among the first and already have moved toward the inlet of Pueblo Res., where they can provide some excellent early season sport.
HATCHERY TRUCKS ARE ROLLING
Among the earliest signs of spring in Colorado is a Division of Wildlife fish-stocking truck pulling up to a nearby lake or stream.
Catchable-sized trout from the state hatchery system provide season-opening opportunities for many anglers, especially near urban areas, and the DOW began stocking low-elevation waters along the Front Range, the eastern plains and the Western Slope around Grand
Junction in March. Stocking of lowland lakes will continue through the spring and early summer, when their water temperatures become too warm for trout.
As the season progresses and higher-elevation waters open up, many will receive fish. The stocking of catchable trout will continue through the summer and into fall, with more than 3.34 million to be released into designated waters this year.
In addition to catchable trout, the DOW will plant approximately 15.8 million subcatchables, ranging from recently hatched fry to fingerling-sized fish, destined for suitable “put-to-grow” waters.
Some 340,000 one-inch cutthroat trout will be stocked by air into high-elevation lakes as the summer progresses.
Warm-water stocking efforts will include 61.7 million mostly small fish.
The following recently were stocked with catchable trout:
Body of Water, Location
Anticline Lake, Pueblo
Centennial Park Lake, Englewood
Chipeta Lake. South of Montrose
Clay Creek Pond, East of Lamar
Corn Lake, Clifton
Craig City Ponds, South of Craig
Craig Justice Center Pond, Craig
Harvey Gap Res., North of Silt
Hasty Lake, East of Las Animas
Highline Lake, Northwest of Fruita
Island Acres Ponds, Northeast of Palisade
Jackson’s Pond, South of Eads
Jim Baker Res., Denver
Joe Moore Res. , Northwest of Mancos
Las Animas Pond, Las Animas
Mack Mesa Lake, North of Loma
Main Lake, Lakewood
Mann-Nyholt Lake, North of Henderson
McPhee Res., Northwest of Dolores
Parachute Pond, Parachute
Pastorius Res., Southeast of Durango
Pueblo City Park Lake, Pueblo
Pueblo West Pond, Pueblo West
Ridgway Res., North of Ridgway
Rifle Pond South, West of Rifle
Aurora Res. – The reservoir is open to boating. All vessels must be inspected prior to launch.
New for 2009, a watercraft access permit is required for all vehicles bringing in watercraft.
Trout fishing is fair to good on salmon eggs, Power Bait and night crawlers. The best areas have been the dam, east shoreline and marina cove. Boat action for trout is fair to good by slowly trolling spoons, spinners, Rapalas and crawlers. Fair to good results also are reported with egg patterns, Pheasant Tails and bead-head Prince Nymphs. Some smallmouth bass reportedly have been taken on jigs and flies. All other species are slow. The limit for trout is two fish. Boating is restricted to electric motors. For more information call 303-690-1286.
Barr Lake – The water level is one foot below full. Fishing from shore and boats has been slow. Power Bait and Gulp have been successful for trout. The water temperature is approximately 50 degrees. Boaters be aware of fast-moving afternoon storms and high-wind conditions. No fishing is allowed south of the buoy line.
Bear Creek – The stream between Evergreen Lake and Bear Creek Res. has a fairly good population of 10- to 12-inch rainbow and brown trout. Though the best fishing months may be May and June, anglers can have some close-to-home fun through the summer. Trout will take a variety of dry flies, nymphs and small spinners. Fishermen may use only artificial flies and lures, and all rainbows must immediately be returned to the water alive. The limit for other trout is two fish.
Berkeley Lake – The 40-acre lake is periodically stocked with trout and also has largemouth bass, bluegills crappie and channel catfish. Boats are not permitted. A recreation center, playground and other amenities are available on the south side of the lake.
Centennial Park Lake – The lake is periodically stocked with catchable-sized trout, which provide most of the action in spring. The lake also has warm-water fish including bass, crappie, catfish and perch, which become more active later in the season. No boats are allowed on the 15-acre lake. A playground, restrooms and handicapped-accessible fishing pier are available.
Chatfield Ponds – The ponds support fairly good populations of largemouth bass, catfish and panfish. Try soft-plastic grubs, small crankbaits or spinnerbaits for the bass; night crawlers or cut baits for catfish, especially in the evening. Fishing with minnows off a bobber can be another effective technique. Only belly boats are permitted. Though a state parks pass generally is required, some free parking may be available off Highway 75.
Chatfield Res. – All tailored vessels must be inspected before launching. Inspections are conducted at the north and south boat ramps daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The water temperature is in the mid-40s. Fishing generally is slow, with some trout being caught at
Massey Draw on Power Bait. The minimum size for bass at the reservoir is 15 inches. The minimum size for walleyes is 18 inches, and only one exceeding 21 inches may be kept daily.
Cherry Creek Res. – The water level is normal and the temperature has been in the upper 40s. The reservoir is stocked with catchable-sized trout in the spring and early summer, and they provide most of the early season action. Most common warm-water species also are present, but fishing for them generally has been slow. It will improve in a few weeks when the temperature rises. The lake is open to boating. Inspections are conducted daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. No launching is permitted outside those hours without previous inspection.
Clear Creek (above Hwy. 119) – The creek holds a surprising number of trout, but few of the predominantly browns exceed 10 inches. Fly fishermen can have some fun with No. 16-18 Hare’s Ears, RS-2s, olive caddis and Pheasant Tails. Effective lures include small Mepps spinners. Respect private property along the creek.
Evergreen Lake – The lake has open water, although an especially cold night still might produce some skim ice. It offers fishing for stocked rainbow trout, as well as some browns and splake. Tiger muskies are another attraction. Boaters must have an Evergreen permit. No power boats are allowed.
Georgetown Lake – The lake is free of ice. It periodically is stocked with catchable-sized rainbow trout and also supports some brown, cutthroat and brook trout. Most common baits and lures work quite well here. Fishermen willing to walk a little distance from the primary access points sometimes do a little better.
Jim Baker Res. – The 80-acre Adams County lake offers fishing for catchable-sized trout early in the season. It also has smallmouth bass, walleyes, panfish and tiger muskies, all of which become more active when the water is warmer. Boats are not allowed. Fishing hours are sunrise to sunset.
Ketring Park Lake – The 15-acre lake offers fishing for a variety of mostly small warm-water fish. Typically, the early season action has been slow, but should pick up when the water temperatures rises. Boats are not allowed.
Main Lake – The fluctuating 45-acre lake has bass up to 18 inches, crappie, bluegills, catfish and other warm-water species. Early season fishing has been slow. No boats are allowed on the lake.
Quincy Res. – Quincy is open to boating. All watercraft must be inspected prior to launch. New for 2009, all vehicles bringing in watercraft are required to have a Watercraft Access Pass. Trout fishing is fair to good using Kastmasters, jigs and Rooster Tails. Fly casters have reported good success using a variety of flies. Bass action is slow to fair, with some success reported on crankbaits and soft plastics. Fishing for perch and crappie at present is slow. Quincy is restricted to fishing with artificial flies and lures. The limit for trout is two fish. Bass must be 18 inches or longer to possess. All boats must be hand-launched. Only electric motors are permitted. For more information, call 303-693-5463.
Rocky Mountain Lake – The lake is periodically stocked with pan-sized trout, and early season fishing for them can be quite good. A variety of warm-water fish including largemouth bass, panfish and catfish provide fairly good fishing through the summer. Boats are not allowed. The minimum size for largemouth bass is 15 inches. A playground and restrooms are nearby.
Sloans Lake – The urban lake has some bass, catfish and a few crappie, but carp comprise much of the fish population. The carp are big and strong, and have a growing following among anglers.
Smith Res. – Warm-water fishing has been poor, but will improve with rising water temperatures. Crappie provide much of the early season activity. Largemouth and smallmouth bass become active a little later and provide potentially good fishing well into the summer. The 45-acre lake also has bluegills, catfish and perch. No boats are allowed on the lake.
South Platte River (Waterton Canyon) – The river through Waterton Canyon has an exceptional population of brown trout. The section from Strontia Springs Dam downstream to 300 yards above the Marston diversion structure is restricted to artificial flies, with a two-trout limit, offers the best fishing. The most effective lures for spin-fishermen often are small Panther Martins, Mepps or Blue Fox spinners. Night crawlers usually are the most effective bait in the unrestricted lower stretch, which has fewer but somewhat larger trout.
Washington Park Lakes – The lakes are stocked with trout in the spring. Otherwise, crappie running up to 10 inches, bass, bluegills and catfish can provide some interesting fishing in an urban-park setting. Warm-water fishing has been slow but should improve with warmer weather. Try a small, green or white plastic grub or a live minnow below a bobber about 3 feet down for the crappie.
Webster Lake – The lake offers fishing for catchable trout in the spring, and for bass, perch and catfish through the summer into fall. No boats are allowed. A handicapped-access fishing pier, playground and other facilities are available.
Barnes Meadow Res. – At last report, the lake still had ice of questionable quality.
Bellaire Lake – The lake is free of ice, but few reports from fishermen have come in.
Gasoline-powered boating is prohibited.
Big Thompson River – The Big Thompson Canyon has been fishing great. Look for overcast skies when the water is low. Late last week flows were around 55 cfs and fish were feeding heavily on blue-wing-olive mayflies and midges. The best opportunity to hook up on some fish will be early or later in the day because of the sun and low water. The midge hatch can be very productive. Suggested patterns: Zebra Midge, 18-20; black Copper John, 18-20;
Stuck-in the-Shuck, 18-20; Griffith’s Gnat, 18-20. This time of year also allows the angler to fish the Baetis or BWO hatch. They appear as No. 18-24 emergers and adults. The morning will bring emergers, so look to fish flies below the surface. A gray RS-2 works well in these conditions. Most of the adults will be No. 20-24.
Boedecker Res. – The lake is open. Catchable-sized trout provide most of the early action. Warm-water fish become active a little later.
Boyd Lake – The main boat ramp located at the east end of the marina parking lot is open. All boats must be inspected before launching when the inspection station is open. The water temperature is in the mid-40s. Fishing for trout and walleyes has been good. A 13-pound walleye recently was taken. Check the DOW’s regulations booklet for size restrictions on walleyes and largemouth and smallmouth bass. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has issued a mercury advisory for large walleyes from the lake. Call the park office at (970) 669-1739 for additional information.
Carter Res. – The water level is very high, the temperature is 40 degrees and walleyes are on the spawn. Early and late, walleye fishermen are doing well in shallow water. Occasional large trout are taken by trolling, but bass fishing still is very slow.
Chambers Lake – At last report, Chambers Lake still had ice.
Douglas Res. – The ice is gone. The boat ramp has been repaired. The lake is stocked with catchable-sized trout in the spring, which provide most of the early action. The area between the boat ramp and dam often is the most productive. The Res. also has wipers, bass, crappie, walleyes and carp, which become more active a little later, when the water has warmed.
Dowdy Lake (Red Feather) – The lake has open water. Early season fishing for trout can be fairly good. Power Bait and a variety of slowly retrieved spinners often are the most productive.
Estes Lake – The early season fishing on Lake Estes has been decent. As the water temperature warms, the trout will become more active. Some midge hatches have started appearing. Look for rings and rising fish in the early morning or late evening. Fishing a streamer very slow can be productive. Fish dark patterns such as gray leeches or black
Woolly Buggers on cloudy days. A sink-tip line might be a good idea. Small spoons fished low and slow might yield some trout. The rainbows will be looking for egg patterns within the next few weeks, and live bait is always a good option. Be sure to have a good selection of non-toxic split shot. A belly boat will get you into places that fishing from shore cannot.
Flatiron Res. – Fishing is slow, but watch the stocking schedule. Fishing then will go from slow to hot overnight.
Hidden Lakes – The lakes remain frozen and generally inaccessible.
Hohnholz Lakes – The lakes are open but U. S. Forest Service Road 103 that provides access remains closed. Lake No. 2 offers pan-sized rainbow trout, which are taken on the standard assortment of baits and lures. Lake No. 3 is the largest and has the largest trout.
Kastmasters, Rapalas, Rooster Tail spinners, streamer flies and nymphs usually produce their share of browns and cutthroats as the season progresses. Fishing on No. 3 is by artificial flies and lures only. Standard regulations apply to the other lakes.
Horsetooth Res. – The water level is rising. The current elevation is 5,404 feet above sea level. The surface water temperature is about 48 degrees and rising. In the early spring months, trout are very active in the Inlet Bay area. Various Power Baits and spinners have been successful. Various jigs and crankbaits have produced some smallmouth bass and walleyes. All walleyes must be at least 18 inches long, but only one can exceed 21 inches. Smallmouth bass must be at least 12 inches. The inlet channel is closed to fishing through May 31 for the walleye spawn.
Jackson Res. – Fishing for trout continues to be good along the west shore and dam. Trout are being caught with salmon eggs. Fishing for wipers has been reported as fair. Archery action for carp in the inlet is good. Fishing for other species is slow. The courtesy boat ramp has been installed. Also, boats should be inspected for zebra mussels prior to launch. Inspection hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, with extended hours on weekends dependent on weather conditions. Call the park office at (970) 645-2551 or check the Web site for updates at http://parks.state.co.us/parks/jacksonlake.
Joe Wright Res. – The lake remains ice-covered. Grayling are the primary species although rainbow and cuttbow trout can be caught, as well. The lake has a special regulation that only artificial flies and lures may be used (no bait fishing). The daily bag and possession limit for trout is two fish.
Jumbo Res. – The reservoir is full. Fishing for all species is slow. Only 150 snow geese were using the reservoir last weekend. A habitat stamp is required to enter Jumbo and the Red Lion Annex.
Lon Hagler Res. – Fishing for warm-water species has been slow. Fishing for recently stocked trout has been the primary springtime draw. Some good, early success was reported, but the activity appears to have slowed.
Lonetree Res. – Fishing has been slow, but expect walleyes and wipers to become more active with warming weather. The minimum size for walleyes is 15 inches, and fishermen may take only one walleye longer than 21 inches per day.
Long Draw Res. – The lake is frozen and the road is closed. The ice usually melts in mid to late May and the road is cleared later.
Lost Lake (at Chambers) – The lake still has ice.
North Sterling Res. – Little fishing activity has been reported.
Parvin Lake (Red Feather) – The lake has open water. Early season fishing for brown trout
can be quite good. Brown Woolly Buggers and tube jigs are among the most productive. Fishermen may use only artificial flies and lures, and the daily and possession limit is two trout. Boating is prohibited except for float tubes used for fishing. A habitat stamp is required to use the state wildlife area.
Pinewood Res. – Fishing for trout and muskies is very slow. A stocking of trout and some warmer weather should turn the tigers on.
Poudre River – The river has been flowing low and clear, and fishing has been in its early spring mode. Though still a little slow, the activity has been gradually getting better. Midges and a few blue-wing-olive mayflies have been on the water. Otherwise, stoneflies and other nymphs have been of some interest to the fish. The lower river, with somewhat warmer water temperatures, tends to be a bit more productive this time of year.
Prewitt Res. – Fishing for all species is slow. The reservoir is full, with the water temperature in the 50s. The boat dock is not yet in place but will be put out in May, depending on the wind and water conditions. A habitat stamp is required to enter Prewitt Res..
Rocky Mountain National Park – As of late last week, the park is starting to fish. The Roaring River is waking up and the cutthroats are feeding on midges and small black stoneflies. The water is clear and temperatures still are very cold, so sight fishing to spooky fish will be the way to go over the next few weeks. The runoff season has not yet started, but look to fish areas like Glacier Creek or the upper Big Thompson during those heavy flows. Stick to small patterns like those listed in the Big Thompson report. The midge hatch will be your best bet this week, so look for dark flies on the rocks or snow banks up in the park. Longer leaders with a 6X-7X tippet will allow you to present these small flies naturally, without spooking these early season trout.
St. Vrain River – Fishing in the St. Vrain watershed will start to pick up this month. At the moment, an angler will want to fish the lower sections of this river. Much like the Big T, look for small midges and BWOs. These fish are hungry and will be feeding heavily. The water is low and around the 40-degree mark, so take your time and be observant. Standard spring midge patterns and small bead-head flies should get the job done. The rainbows will be spawning next month, so look for them to be stacking up for the pre-spawn feeding frenzy. Stick to good runs and pools due to low water. As the water warms, look to head upriver to find fresh fish and productive hatches.
Union Res. (Calkins) – Current park hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The reservoir is at 26 feet and the water temperature is about 50 degrees. Fishermen have been catching trout ranging from 10 to 16 inches. Power Bait and night crawlers are producing the most fish. A few wipers have been reported and fishing for them should improve as the water temperature rises.
West Lake (Red Feather) – The ice is gone and fishing for catchable-sized rainbow trout has been fair. Fishermen have been successful with Power Bait, worms and slowly retrieved lures.
Big Creek Lakes – The lakes are frozen and generally inaccessible. Ice-out usually occurs in mid to late May. Ice-out is a likely time to get into some mackinaw. The bag and possession limit for mackinaw and/or splake in Lower Big Creek Lake is three, of which only one can exceed 26 inches.
Blue River (below Green Mountain Res.) – The Blue below Green Mountain Dam on Monday was flowing at 100 cfs. Anglers have been getting some fish below the dam with stonefly nymphs and a black-and-red midge. The section holds its share of trout, some of which are large. Though some public access is available, much of the river courses through private property. Catch-and-release and flies-and-lures provisions are in effect for the river from the dam to the Colorado River.
Blue River (Dillon to Green Mtn. Res.) – The tailwater section below Dillon Dam is low and clear and has been fishing fairly well. Midges have been emerging almost daily sometime between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and fish have been rising to them. Below Silverthorne, the activity becomes more hit-or-miss. Some trout from Green Mountain Res. have moved into the river and are staging for the spawn.
Colorado River (below Parshall) – The river is low and barring localized low runoff, generally clear. A large black midge has been emerging around Parshall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and fishing has been fairly consistent. Below Gore Canyon, the water tends to be a little colder and the fishing slower. Little significant hatch activity has been reported, but the midges and blue-wing-olive mayflies should be appearing soon.
Colorado River (near Granby) – The Parshall Hole has been fishing very well. Flows from Windy Gap Res. on Sunday were 205 cfs. Copper Johns, RS-2s and other emerger patterns are doing well. Egg patterns and San Juan worms have been effective and lure fishing also is good. 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 Res., it is catch-and-release, artificial fly and lure fishing only. Inquire in Granby for the latest conditions.
East Delaney Lake – The lake is essentially free of ice, but a cold night still can form a skim. Fly fishermen casting streamer flies have been doing well as the lake opens up. A slowly retrieved crankbait or marabou jig also might do the trick.
Elk River – The Elk is difficult to impossible to fish. Lower reaches are high and discolored from low runoff; upper reaches still have ice, with snow preventing easy access.
Elkhead Res. – Elkhead is in its spring mode as the ice starts to pull back. The shoreline is open but the lake still has about a 75-percent ice cover. The lake is open to shore fishing. Boat access will be opening later in the month, with mandatory inspections. Fishing was good during the winter but has slowed, typical of many warm- water fisheries.
Granby Res. – The reservoir is still ice-locked, with some ice fishing continuing. However, the ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly. Extreme caution must be used if going onto the ice. A short period of pumping into Granby Res. from Willow Creek Res. has opened a small patch of water at the base of the spillway and created thin-ice areas at the south end of Rainbow Bay. Conditions, one way or the other, will change quickly depending on the weather. Increasing flows from all inlet streams will create open water and thin-ice areas. Fishing will be increasingly good as the ice moves out. Inquire in Granby for the latest conditions.
Grand Lake – A lot of ice remains, but there is open water at the West Portal and the west end and channel area. Fishing has been decent. Consistent fishing on this deep, natural lake requires some learning and experience but it can be highly rewarding. The water level of this lake remains constant. Trolling, jigging, bait fishing, lure and fly fishing are productive methods of catching fish on Grand Lake. Prime bank-fishing areas are around the public dock, the west portal and the channel between Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Res.. Fishing off the ledge along the east bank also can be good. Inquire in Granby for updates.
Gypsum Ponds – Fishing on the state wildlife area ponds can be fair to good on many types of baits and lures. The wildlife area bag and possession limit is two trout. Check the fishing regulations brochure for other restrictions.
Harvey Gap Res. – Harvey Gap is ice-free and at capacity. Fishing is good on the west side of the lake, however access is best with a boat. Trout, perch and crappie currently are being caught in this area with standard baits and light-test line. Once the water warms slightly, anglers should start to see improved success in fishing for pike. Please make sure that your boat is clean and dry (including bilge, ballast and live wells) prior to launching. This will help contain the spread of aquatic nuisance species.
Jerry Creek Res. – The Mesa County reservoirs near Molina have reopened to the public, after dam and spillway reconstruction work was completed. They offer potentially good catch-and-release fishing for largemouth bass and bluegills. Fishermen may use only artificial flies and lures. Scented flies or lures must be at least 1.5 inches long. A 1/2-mile hike is required to reach the lower lake. Float tubes are permitted; wading is not. A habitat stamp is required on the state wildlife area.
Lake John – The lake remains ice-covered except for the very north end, which is not yet fishable. Ice fishing is not recommended. The ice has taken on a distinctive, storm-cloud-gray color, suggesting it soon will be disappearing. As usual, conditions can quickly change with the weather.
Muddy Creek – Flows below Wolford Mountain Res. have been constant at 20 cfs. Fly fishermen have been picking up a few rainbows and browns.
North Delaney Lake – Some open water has appeared in the west end, and the remaining ice appears to be receding fairly quickly. Ice fishing is not recommended, but long-rod fishermen might do OK in the open water.
North Michigan Lake – The lake still is ice-covered. Though the ice is weakening and ice
fishing is not recommended, some die-hards enjoyed good success a week ago. The outlet has been flowing on the warm days. The inlet remains iced-up.
North Park Alpine Lakes – High lakes such as Agnes and Kelly remain ice- and snow-covered. Plowing of the Michigan Ditch road is beginning, and access to Lake Agnes and some other trails should be available a little earlier this year.
Pearl Lake – Ice is still on the lake, with lots of slush on top. Willow Creek is showing at County Road 129. Last year the ice was off on May 20, so it’s still hard to say about this year. Cutting will continue in the spring. The trail across the dam remains closed to help with repairs to the dam. Electric sites at the marina parking lot are available for $18 per day. For current conditions, call the visitors center at 970-879-3922.
Ranger Lakes – The lakes remain covered by snow and ice.
Rifle Gap Res. – Rifle Gap is ice-free and the water level is at capacity. Fishing continues to be excellent for trout, especially near the east inlet to the reservoir. Fishermen also are starting to catch some perch, crappie and pike. Fishing seems best just off the bottom of the reservoir using worms and light-test line. Please keep in mind that boats must be inspected prior to launching at Rifle Gap. The purpose of this program is to help contain the spread of aquatic nuisance species. Boaters can do their part by making sure their boats are clean and completely dry (including ballast and live wells).
Rio Blanco Lake – The lake has crappie, bass, channel catfish and northern pike. Fishing has been slow and will remain that way until the water warms up.
Shadow Mountain Res. – The canal and the area where it dumps into the reservoir are prime for open-water fishing when the pumps are on. Open water now extends from the south end of the reservoir to north of the islands, and at the north end through the channel to Grand
Lake. Browns, kokanee and rainbows are being caught. Various fly patterns (sow bugs, RS-2s, Mysis shrimp) lures and baits are productive at different times. Slip bobber fishing is very effective. Full access now is allowed from Shadow Mountain Dam downstream. Inquire in Granby for the latest conditions.
South Delaney Lake – The lake was largely ice-covered last weekend, with a little open water in the southwest corner. Remaining ice is considered unsafe and ice fishing is not recommended. Open-water areas should expand quickly, barring a return of cold weather.
Stagecoach Res. – The lake level is low. Ice covers most of the surface, with a little open water by the inlet. Though a handful of ice fishermen still were at it last week, the remaining ice is deteriorating and considered unsafe. A 10-pound rainbow trout reportedly was taken recently on a Rapala in the Yampa River channel within the high-water mark of the reservoir. Power Bait also has taken a few trout from the small area of open water.
Steamboat Lake – Ice is still on the lake, with lots of slush on top. Willow Creek is showing at County Road 129. Last year the ice was off May 20, so it’s still hard to say about this year. Electric sites at the marina parking lot are available for $18 per day. For current conditions, please call the visitor center at 970-879-3922.
Trappers Lake – The lake is iced-over and access is practically impossible. The lake is an outstanding fishery for naturally reproducing cutthroat trout. Fishermen may use only artificial flies or lures. The limit on cutthroats is two fish. All cutts longer than 11 inches must immediately be returned to the water alive. Fishermen are encouraged to keep all the brook trout they catch.
Vega Res. – Ice currently is covering the majority of the reservoir. All three boat ramps remain closed. The diversion canal is open, as well as Plateau Creek. A substantial amount of open water (8-10 feet out) is found at the Turtle Shell day use area and Oakpoint Campground. Please contact the park for daily open-water updates at 970-487-3407. The park office is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Williams Fork Res. – Ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly. Increasing inlet flows will increase open-water areas and thin ice. Conditions will change quickly, one way or the other, depending on the weather. Rainbow and brown trout, lake trout, northern pike and kokanee are available. When boating accessibility is determined, it will be announced. Inquire in Granby for the latest conditions.
Willow Creek Res. – The lake still is ice-locked, but ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly. Extreme caution must be used if accessing the ice. Depending on the weather, one way or the other, conditions will change quickly. Nice-sized rainbow and brown trout and kokanee salmon are available. This is a beautiful area with easy fishing access. It’s a good place to take kids, and generally gets less fishing pressure than other area lakes. Worms, Power Bait and salmon eggs are commonly used. This is a no-wake reservoir. Inquire in Granby for updates.
Wolford Res. – Wolford remains iced-over but the ice conditions are unsafe. No open water has been evident along the shoreline, but the ice there is very thin.
Yampa River (Hayden through Craig) – The Yampa has been clear with near-normal flows. Fishing should be good until the runoff begins later this month. River access at the state-park sites is walk-in only. Those will open to vehicle traffic as they dry out.
Yampa River (Stagecoach through Steamboat) – Fishing in the tailwater below Stagecoach Dam has been quite good with Baetis mayflies, midges and scuds. That is about the only fishable section of the river, however. Flows through Steamboat have been around 500 cfs, and the water is discolored with the low runoff. With ample snowpack in the mountains, expect a significant runoff.
Adobe Creek Res. (Blue Lake) – The reservoir currently has a good water level and the high-water ramps are usable. The lake is dropping because of irrigation releases. Fishing currently is slow for all species, with an occasional catfish or crappie being caught.
Antero Res. – The reservoir is free of ice. Winter conditions were good, and winter kill appears to have been minimal. Early season fishermen have enjoyed some excellent action for rainbow and Snake River cutthroat trout, with an occasional brown and brook trout also appearing. A good number of the fish have been large. Crankbaits, streamer flies and egg patterns all have been effective. Trailered boats will not be permitted until May 1, but hand-launched craft already may be used. Boating hours will be 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset. All trailered boats must be inspected before launching. All inspections will be conducted at the south ramp.
Anticline Lake – The small lake below Pueblo Dam is stocked with trout in the spring. The typical baits and lures are effective then. Try worms, Power Bait and salmon eggs.
Arkansas River (Buena Vista to Salida) – The Arkansas is running about 225 cfs through this reach, with clear water and a temperature in the 40s. The low flow has made wading very effective and has allowed the fish to disperse throughout the riverbed. Blue-wing-olive mayflies are hatching in this section through the afternoons, particularly when some cloud cover is present. Stonefly nymphs are more effective in the morning.
Arkansas River (Leadville to Buena Vista) – The upper river is running low, cold, and clear at 129 cfs by Granite, of which 17 cfs is coming out of Twin Lakes. Some blue-wing-olive activity has been evident in the Buena Vista area, but above there it is still stonefly nymphs, caddis larvae and some midges.
Arkansas River (Salida to Canon City) – The Arkansas through Bighorn Sheep Canyon is low and clear, running at 279 cfs last Saturday. At these flows the river is very approachable for waders, and the fish are able to disperse over more of the riverbed. Blue-wing-olive mayflies are hatching daily; look for good top-water action from noon to 5:00 p.m. on both adults and emergers, particularly when some cloud cover is present. Glossoma caddis also are hatching and fish will come up to take a caddis dry, particularly late in the day. The Brachycentrus caddis are sealed up and already pupating throughout this section in preparation for the big emergence to come. With low flows and good sun, the river already has been warming into the 50s. As soon as these caddis have matured, the hatch should begin in earnest.
Blue and Bear Lakes – The lakes southwest of Cuchara remain inaccessible because of heavy snow and the locked U.S. Forest Service gate.
Bonny Res. – The water still is cold, about 50 degrees, and few fishing reports have come in. The lake came up 3 feet over the winter and is open to small- and medium-sized boats. The boat-ramp depth is 4-5 feet, with a channel 30-36 inches deep going out to the lake. Be cautious - not all hazards may be marked. All boats are subject to spot ANS inspections and regulations. With the cold water, be sure to wear your life jacket. Generally, the catfish will start to bite from the north shore, and walleyes are taken off the face of the dam this time of year. For current conditions visit: http://parks.state.co.us/Parks/BonnyLake/Conditions/
Brush Hollow Res. – The water level at present is good, but irrigation drawdowns by early June are common. Catchable-sized trout provide most of the early season action, with crappie becoming active in late April and May. The lake also has strong populations of largemouth bass and walleyes, and catfish, bluegills and perch. Expect warm-water fishing to improve as the water temperature rises. A habitat stamp is required to use the state wildlife area. A mercury advisory by the Colorado Department of Public Health is in effect for walleyes of a certain size.
Catamount Res., North & South – The reservoirs are part of the North Slope of Pikes Peak Recreation Area and will reopen for the season on May 1. See the entry for Crystal Creek Res. for hours and fees. Good water levels are expected at the start of the season. Both reservoirs are stocked with catchable-sized trout, especially in the spring and early summer. Both also have mackinaw, in addition to rainbows, Snake River cutthroats and possibly a few brook trout. Fishing at North Cat, the larger of the two, is restricted to artificial flies and lures.
Cheesman Res. – The reservoir will reopen to fishing on May 1, with access restricted to the north side of the Goose Creek arm. Fishing for trout likely will be slow, but the fish will be of good size. Smallmouth bass fishing should be fairly good for 12- to 17-inch fish. The reservoir also has northern pike, yellow perch and kokanee salmon. Only one pike exceeding 34 inches may be taken per day. Kokanee have been growing and a decent spawning run up the Goose Creek arm is expected in the fall.
Clear Creek Res. – Late last week the surface remained mostly covered with unsafe ice. A little open water was evident near the inlet, but a muddy shoreline made fishing difficult. Trailered boats will be permitted Thursday through Sunday from May 7 through September, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Inspection will be required before launching. The Res. usually offers good to very good fishing for pan-size rainbow and Snake River cutthroat trout, and an occasional larger brown. Kokanee salmon and tiger muskies also are present.
Cottonwood Lake – At last report the lake still was ice-covered, but with springtime conditions, ice fishing is not recommended.
Crystal Creek Res. – The reservoir and the rest of the North Slope of Pikes Peak Recreation Area will reopen for the season on May 1. Hours of operation will be: May 1-21, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; May 22-Sept. 7, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sept. 8-30, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Oct. 1-18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The area will be closed July 19 for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb auto race. A NSRA entry fee of $4, or 30 visits for $100, must be paid at the Pikes Peak Highway tollgate.
Crystal Res. is easily accessible from the highway. It regularly is stocked with catchable-sized trout, and fishing with the standard array of baits and lures usually is quite good. A good water level is expected when the area opens.
Daigre Res. – Fishing has started out slowly, but anglers have been taking some trout on Pistol Pete flies in various colors. Fishermen may use only artificial flies and lures at the lake.
DeWeese Res. – Conditions are good, with the water level way up. Fishing for trout with Power Bait, salmon eggs and night crawlers has been fair. Some smallmouth bass also have been caught. Habitat stamps are required of everyone using the wildlife area.
Eleven Mile Res. – The action at Eleven Mile Reservoir is on. The lake is fully thawed and open for boating (north ramp only), with mandatory inspections for aquatic nuisance species. Boaters can be prepared by cleaning, draining and drying all compartments and tanks on their vessel before arriving. Trout action has been excellent, with mornings the best time. The usual Elevenmile gear is producing beautiful spawners. Try spoons, spinners, Panther Martins, Power Bait and night crawlers. The best locations include the north ramp area,
Sucker Cove and Howbert Point. Kokanee and northern pike fishing is slow. The limit for trout is four fish, of which only two can be 16 inches or longer. The possession limit is the same as the daily bag. No live minnows may be used.
Fountain Lake – Like other urban lakes in Pueblo, this one is stocked with catchable trout through much of the year except during the heat of summer. Most standard baits and lures are effective. The lake also has some catfish that can grow quite large.
Horseshoe Res. – The water level is good and fish are thriving in this small lake. It offers largemouth and smallmouth bass and bluegills, as well as sauger, tiger muskies, catfish and trout. Bass fishing should be especially good, with the possibility of some high-quality fish. Lots of trout will be stocked, and their growth rate is very good. Testing has found mercury levels in some sizes of smallmouths and sauger exceed the state’s human health standard. Log on to http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/wq/FishCon/index.html for details. Boat inspections will be conducted at the lake. Call the park office at (719) 738-2376 for more information.
Huerfano River – The main public access to the primarily brown trout fishery is on the Huerfano State Wildlife Area southwest of Gardner. At present, access is problematic because of intermittent snowfall. Fishing generally can be good, but conditions are very brushy. The upper river, from the national forest boundary to the headwaters, has a flies-and-lures restriction and a two-fish limit.
Jefferson Lake – The lake remains frozen, and at 10,000 feet, ice-out usually occurs in late May or early June. Trailered boats will be prohibited until further notice, but hand-launched craft will be permitted. Fishing for holdover rainbow and occasional brook trout should be fairly good early, and regular stocking will keep it good through the summer. The lake also has mackinaw. Shore fishing for larger mackinaw is best at ice-out and in the fall, but 12- to 18-inch lakers can be taken from shore throughout the season.
John Martin Res. – Fishing for walleyes and wipers has been very good in the spillway below the dam. Most of the anglers seem to be using green- or chartreuse-colored Mister Twisters. Please notice that swimming, boating and wading are prohibited from the dam to the first bridge across the Arkansas River. Lake Hasty has been stocked with trout and fishermen have been doing well on Power Bait. John Martin Res. is rising and at present has more water in it than at any time last year.
Karval and Kinney lakes – Fishermen at Kinney Lake and the nearby Hugo State Wildlife Area ponds have enjoyed fair to good success for recently stocked trout. Power Bait and night crawlers have been the most effective. Fishing for warm-water species remains slow. Both lakes and the ponds have most of the common warm-water species and are stocked with catchable-sized trout in the spring.
Lake Henry – Water-level and boat-ramp conditions are good. No fishing reports have come in yet. Fishing should be good for catfish and crappie as the water warms through the spring.
Lake Meredith – Water levels and boat ramps at Meredith are good. No fishing reports have come in yet. Fishing for crappie should be good through the spring as the water warms up.
Manitou Lake – The lake is free of ice. The popular U.S. Forest Service lake north of Woodland Park is heavily stocked with catchable-sized trout through the summer. Fishing success largely depends on the stocking. Weekdays are less crowded. The water level is good. Payment of an entry fee is required. Campgrounds and other amenities are nearby.
Martin Lake – The lake will be full in 2009. The reservoir has a variety of fish including bass, bluegills, catfish, northern pike, walleyes, saugeyes, wipers, trout and perch. Some quality fish are available among all the species, but heavy boat traffic and expanding weed beds can create challenging conditions for fishermen. Expect good fishing for trout, with high numbers to be stocked, and for pike, which have proliferated. Boat inspections will be conducted at the lake. Check with the state-parks office for details.
Montgomery Res. – The lake at the foot of Hoosier Pass is closed to fishing until June 1.
Monument Lake – This 40-acre lake offers catchable-size trout and a variety of mostly small warm-water species. Expect good fishing for pan-sized trout in the spring and early summer. Anglers are asked to be respectful of private properties surrounding the lake.
Nee Gronda Res. – Boat-ramp conditions at Nee Gronda are poor due to low water levels and wave action. Construction to make necessary repairs is scheduled to begin in upcoming weeks. Fishing for all species currently is slow.
Nee Noshe Res. – Boat access is good from the state gravel ramp located on the south side of the lake. Fall sampling indicated catfish and small wipers should be available for fishing in 2009. Other species will be restocked throughout the season. These fish will grow quickly and should be available for harvest in coming years.
Nichols Res. – Nichols is accessed by a hiking trail leading down from the Rampart Res. dam. That road is expected to reopen in late April. Nichols is heavily stocked through the summer and offers generally good fishing for catchable-sized trout. Most popular baits, lures and flies can be effective.
Palmer Lake – The water level has been low the past few years and about 6,000 catchable-sized trout, about 60 percent of normal, were stocked in 2008. A similar number likely will be stocked this year, mostly in the early season. The lake also has catfish, bluegills and some northern pike.
Pikeview Res. – The Colorado Springs lake is heavily stocked with catchable-sized trout in spring and early summer. The lake also has some saugeyes, catfish and tiger muskies. A paved, designated parking area is available off Mark Dabling Road. Other amenities include a wheelchair-accessible sidewalk to one of two fishing piers, and enclosed pit toilets.
Prospect Lake – Catchable-sized trout are the primary attraction of this Colorado Springs lake during the spring and early summer, and fishing for them has been fairly good. Some larger brood fish from the state hatchery system usually also are stocked in the spring and fall. The lake also has saugeyes that should be 17-20 inches later in the summer, wipers to 15 inches, catfish and a good population of crappie. Numerous habitat structures to attract crappie have been placed in the north and south ends of the lake.
Pueblo Res. – The water level is high and the surface temperature is about 47 degrees. The west end tends to be somewhat warmer, and fishing there may be little better. Wipers have moved into the west end and the inlet. Jigging for them among the trees and trolling with various rigs has been producing wipers in the 5- to 8-pound range. Afternoons have been best. A few crappie also have been taken and bass have been hit-or-miss. Walleye spawn taking has been completed and they should soon be appearing in the catch. The walleye population is high and the best catch rates should be in May and June. Most fish are below the 18-inch minimum. Boaters should be aware of aquatic nuisance species inspection at the reservoir. Check with the state-parks office for complete information.
Quail Lake – The Colorado Springs city lake is heavily stocked with catchable-sized rainbow trout in the spring and fall. Catfish become active when the water temperature reaches 60 degrees, and fishing for bluegills and yellow perch should be fair after May 1.
Queens Res. – Upper and Lower Queens reservoirs are dry.
Rampart Res. – At last report, the surface remained mostly ice-covered. The primary access road is closed and expected to reopen in mid to late April. In the meantime, a bit of open-water fishing is available by walking down Rainbow Gulch to the pipeline inlet. Trailered boats will be permitted Thursday through Sunday from May 15 through October, following mandatory inspection. Boating hours will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Carry-on craft may be launched at other times. The reservoir is regularly stocked and usually offers fairly good fishing for trout. The lake also has mackinaw, which may be found in relatively shallow water early in the season.
Rosemont Res. – The 90-acre city of Colorado Springs water-supply lake off Gold Camp Road has a good population of catchable-sized rainbow trout and an occasional cutthroat and splake. Expect good early season fishing. Fishing is by artificial flies and lures only, and dogs are not allowed on the watershed. Fishing is prohibited Nov. 1-May 10.
Runyon Lake – This is one of several Pueblo-area lakes stocked with catchable-size trout through much of the year. Try night crawlers, Power Bait, salmon eggs and a variety of small spinning lures. The lake also has some channel catfish that can grow to impressive size.
San Isabel Lake – Expect very good fishing for catchable-sized rainbow trout in the spring and summer. The lake also has some brown trout and splake, but those populations are low and fish growth is poor. The lake also has some European rudd, goldfish-looking fish, of unknown origin. Fishermen are asked to remove all of those they catch from the lake.
South Platte River (btwn Spinney and Elevenmile) – The “Dream Stream” is living up to its reputation for spring success. Healthy spawners are being caught regularly on various fly patterns, including midges, scuds, egg patterns, San Juan worms and Woolly Buggers. The action is on-and-off throughout the day, so persistence should pay off. The best stretch is on the east end near Elevenmile Res.. The stream is a Gold Medal Water. Fishing is by artificial flies and lures only and catch-and-release rules apply.
Spinney Mountain Res. – Spinney Mountain is open for the 2009 season. Mandatory boat inspections for aquatic nuisance species are required for all trailered vessels. Boaters can be prepared by cleaning, draining and drying all compartments and tanks before arriving. Trout fishing is excellent with best times in early morning and evening. Successful fly patterns include scuds, various green and brown midges, egg patterns, and San Juan worms. Orange
Rapala, gold Kastmaster, and Tasmanian Devils also are producing. Northern pike action is slow. Fishing is by artificial flies and lures only, from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. The park is locked one hour after sunset. The bag and possession limit is one trout at least 20 inches long.
Tarryall Res. – The reservoir was 85-percent ice-free last weekend. Fishermen have been doing OK for holdover trout on night crawlers, salmon eggs and garlic-flavored or green or orange Power Bait. Belly boats and hand-launched craft are permitted. Trailered boats will be allowed June 1-Oct. 31 with the exception of Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Boating hours will be 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. All trailered vessels must be inspected before launching.
Trinidad Res. – The ice is off and the level has been slowly rising. Fishing has been fair for trout, slow for other species. The boat ramp is in place. Inspections at the boat ramp will resume sometime in mid to late April. All boats will be inspected before launching and when coming off the lake. Inspection hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
Turks Pond – Turks Pond currently is very low. Well repairs are scheduled for the spring of 2009. The repairs should improve water levels upon completion. Trout stocking is scheduled for this week and should provide good fishing.
Turquoise Lake – Turquoise usually is the last major lake in the region to open up, and at last report still had solid ice. Ice fishermen were taking rainbow and Snake River cutthroat trout on jigs above shallow water along the north and east shorelines, and mackinaw on sucker-tipped jigs from deeper water. The lake has an excellent population of lake trout, though most are under 20 inches. The south and east shorelines usually offer good fishing for them in June. Later, they move into deeper water, where downriggers might be required. The limit for mackinaw is two, with no size restrictions. The lake is stocked with catchable-sized rainbows and cutthroats through the summer.
Twin Lakes – The upper lake is completely ice-free while the lower is about 20-percent open. The remaining ice is going fast and should be completely gone in a week or two. The water level is low, but will come up with snow melt from the Western Slope. Few fishermen have been on the water, but some rainbows and mackinaw have been taken near the inlet from the power plant. The lake-trout population continues to rebound. Most are just under 20 inches, but fish around 40 inches have been fairly common in recent years. Ice-out traditionally is a good time for mackinaw near the power plant and the channel from the upper lake to the lower. Casting large Rapalas seems as effective as anything. The lakes also offer rainbow and Snake River cutthroat trout.
Twin Lakes (Mt. Elbert) Forebay – The forebay is completely free of ice. Anglers have been taking some rainbow and Snake River cutthroat trout. The forebay also has the best population of mackinaw in the Arkansas River basin. They average 17 inches but run up to 40-plus. The laker limit is one fish, and all mackinaw between 22 and 34 inches must be released. The lake is stocked with catchable-sized rainbows from late May through August. Holdover trout averaging 15 inches provide some good early season action. Try Woolly Worms or spinning lures along the south shore. Carry-on boats and float tubes are permitted on the forebay, but boaters should be aware of possible dramatic fluctuations of the water level.
Two Buttes Res. – Two Buttes Reservoir was stocked with catchable trout during the fall of 2008. These fish should be available for harvest during the spring of 2009. Water levels at Two Buttes are declining rapidly. Fishing may not be available after the spring.
Valco Ponds – Three of the old dredge ponds along the Arkansas River below Pueblo Reservoir are open for fishing. They offer nice-sized saugeyes and channel catfish, as well as some decent bass and bluegills. They are a great place to take kids. Limited-harvest fishing for the bass is strongly encouraged to protect their population. Valco Pond #1 is known to have some catfish up to 20 pounds, the result, in part, of a feeding program. Anglers are asked to moderate their take of catfish to allow for further growth and larger fish in the future.
Wahatoya Res. – Fishing has been a little slow, but a few trout have been taken. Various colors of Pistol Pete flies have worked as well as anything. Fishermen may use only artificial flies and lures. Boats with motors are prohibited.
Blue Mesa Res. – Shoreline fishing is available at the Lake City Bridge and from Elk Creek Campground west to the Middle Bridge. The rest of the lake remained iced-up last week. Look for ice-out in mid to late April. Trout fishing has been fair using jigs or bait.
Crawford Res. – A variety of species are available for hooking into at Crawford. The Reservoir has largemouth bass, rainbow trout, northern pike, yellow perch, black crappie and channel catfish. Fishermen have reported catching trout 12-17 inches long. Pike are in their spawn and fishing has been a little slow, but some being caught on flies have been reported.
East River – The river is low and generally clear. The water temperature still is cold, but fishing has been decent. Dead-drifted stonefly nymphs such as 20-Inchers and egg patterns have worked as well as anything. Warm days can produce a low runoff, but the main thing has not yet begun. The snowpack is normal and the runoff period should be shorter than a year ago.
Gunnison River (below Crystal Dam) – Flows have dropped from 1,060 to 650cfs. Expect the East Portal entrance to close mid November, and to reopen mid April, 2009. Effective fall fly patterns include Woolly Buggers, egg patterns, orange and green scuds, GB Poxy Back Biot Stones, GB Prince, Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails and Flashback PTs, 20-Inchers and Halfbacks. When in doubt put on a midge, egg pattern or San Juan Worm. Have a great fall and winter.
Gunnison River (through the canyon) – Fishing conditions are good from Smith Fork downstream to Pleasure Park. The flow in the Gunnison Gorge has remained about 680 cfs recently. Small caddis, San Juan worms, Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs and red Copper Johns are working now. BWOs have been hot the past few days. Some brown or olive stoneflies in size 14 also have been effective the past few days. The North Fork is too high to wade. Jet Boat Shuttle service across the Gunnison is available by calling LeRoy at the Gunnison River Pleasure Park at (970) 872-2525 for information.
Gunnison River (Upper from Almont to Blue Mesa) – Conditions have been changing almost daily. When daytime temperatures reach into the 50s, low runoff can discolor the river, especially in its lower stretches below tributaries. On cooler days, the river runs its usual Gunnison green. Blue-wing-olive mayflies have been evident on warm, cloudy afternoons and midges also have been emerging in the afternoon. Trout may be taken on or near the surface then, but hungry, springtime fish also are looking for a bigger meal. Stonefly nymphs dead-drifted along the bottom and slowly worked streamers can be productive. The main spring runoff has not yet begun. With this year’s normal snowpack, it should be shorter than a year ago. Inquire in Gunnison for conditions updates.
Jackson Gulch Res. – The lake is free of ice and open to fishing. Few fishermen have been on the water, but spring fishing typically is good for trout of 10-13 inches, and mostly small yellow perch. The inlet cove usually is a good spot for perch. Try a small jig tipped with a piece of worm or mealworm. For trout, try Power Bait along the dam and the west-side coves. The level is low and the boat ramp is out of the water. Call 970-882-2213 or visit http://www.parks.state.co.us for current conditions.
Navajo Res. – The water temperature is 46 degrees and the level is about 32 feet below the spillway. Fishing generally has been slow and few anglers have been on the water. Look for activity to improve in a week or two when the water temperature warms up a little. The marina is open and fully supplied, though hours still are variable.
Ridgway Fishing Ponds – The Pa-Co-Chu-Puk area of Ridgway State Park is excellent for children because it has 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, both by children and licensed adults, 16 years and older.
Ridgway Res. – The reservoir is free of ice and open to fishing and boating. The level is at about 85 percent of capacity and the water temperature is in the 40s. Catchable-sized trout have been stocked.
Taylor Res. – Ice covers most of the Reservoir. A few ice fishermen still are evident, but reports of their success are not available. Ice is beginning to melt in the very shallow areas, so ice fishing should end in a week or two. The marina will reopen sometime in May.
Taylor River – The lower river is very cold and ice still may be found along the edges. Trout tend to be lethargic, but fishing the right hole at the right time of day sill might produce a few. The tailwater below Taylor Dam has the usual midges, and when flows have been increased, Mysis shrimp from the Reservoir. Presentation is the key. Think small - sizes 18-24 - and use fine leader tippets. Inquire in Gunnison for updates.