Colorado statewide fishing report and conditions – April 11, 2020

PROMO Outdoors - Fishing Fisherman Aspen Maroon Bells Mountains Water Trees - iStock - Matt Dirksen
Published Saturday, April 11, 2020

Conditions Report - Metro Denver Area

Aurora Reservoir

This 762-acre impoundment is located off of E. Quincy Avenue, two miles east of E-470. As of 4/4/2020, Aurora Reservoir is open to boating (restricted to electric motors). The water temperature was recently recorded at 40 degrees. Fishing for trout from shore has been slow to fair using PowerBait; however, fly anglers have been reporting more success. Anglers should look for trout in shallow water at this time of the year. Walleye action has slow to fair. For more information, call 303-326-8425. Park Hours for April: 6:00am - 8:30pm. 
Aurora Reservoir

Chatfield Reservoir

Chatfield Reservoir This 1,356 impoundment is located in Chatfield State Park. As of 4/10/2020, Chatfield Reservoir is open to boating. There have been several reports of high visitation rates. Increased visitors and anglers puts addition pressure on the fish, reservoir, and park staff and makes fishing more difficult. Anglers wanting to fish Chatfield should be advised to either arrive early or stay late for the best chances to find fish. A recent report indicated that water temperature was recorded at 50 degrees. 
Chatfield Reservoir

Cherry Creek Reservoir

This 881-acre impoundment is located in Cherry Creek State Park, in Aurora. There are two entrances to the park, the east entrance off S. Dayton St. and the west entrance off S. Parker Rd. As of 4/9/2020, boating is open at Cherry Creek Reservoir and some anglers have taken advantage. One angler noted that they had the most successful while trolling with a lead core line with a flicker shad. Another angler reported that water temperature recently measured at 50 degrees.
Cherry Creek Reservoir

Quincy Reservoir

As of 4/4/2020, trout fishing at Quincy Reservoir has been slow to fair. Some success has been achieved with spoons and spinners. Bass fishing has been good at times but has been impacted by cold fronts. Some anglers have reported success using jigs to catch smallmouth bass from the dam. The reservoir is restricted to artificial flies and lures only. Only watercraft capable of being launched by hand are permitted. Vehicles and trailers are not permitted in the water. Park Hours for April: 6:00am-8:30pm. For more information, call 303-326-8424
Quincy Reservoir

Conditions Report - Northeast Colorado

Antero Reservoir

As of 4/7/2020, ice conditions are deteriorating at Antero Reservoir. However, one angler noted that there is still ice between 10 and 12 inches near the south ramp. Meanwhile, ice near the shoreline has become rotten. Despite these conditions, reports indicated that the few anglers fishing on the ice had some success using sucker meat on small tube jigs in the morning and mealworms as the day warms up. Anglers should use extreme caution if they decide to venture out on Antero Reservoir. Conditions are always subject to change and anglers should use extreme caution.
Antero Reservoir

Cheesman Canyon

Report courtesy of Pat Dorsey of The Blue Quill Angler. As of 3/19/2020, anglers are currently experiencing fair fishing conditions in Cheesman Canyon. "Cheesman Canyon regulars should prepare themselves for sporadic hatches of midges and look for the occasional fish eating adults in the slower runs, deeper pools, and tailouts. The Family Hole and Ice Box are two great areas to look for rising fish during the winter that are keying on midge-adults. Nymphing with midge larvae and pupae is your best bet right now, however, make sure you go small-size 24 and 26's. Target the transitional zones that funnel into the deeper runs and pools. The best fishing is between 11:00 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the water warms up a few degrees." Pat recommends the following patterns: #20-24 Medallion Midge, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #22 Jujubee Midge, #22 Minute Midge, #22 Tube Midge, #22-24 Black Beauty, #20-22 Red Larva, #20-22 Manhattan Midge, #20-26 Top Secret Midge, #22-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #20-24 Griffith Gnat, #22-24 Matt's Midge, #22-26 Parachute Adams. https://bluequillangler.com/fishing-reports/cheesman-canyon-south-platte/
Cheesman Canyon

Deckers - South Platte River

Report courtesy of Pat Dorsey of The Blue Quill Angler. As of 3/20/2020, Pat explains that, "fishing has been fair at Deckers lately. Anglers willing to work hard are picking up a few nice fish. Nymphing with midge larvae and pupae is your best bet right now. Target the transitional zones that funnel into the deeper runs and pools. The best fishing is between 10:00 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the water warms up a few degrees. Currently, the river is ice free from Deckers to Night Hawk Hill. If the flow remains above 100 cfs, the lower river should remain in good shape for a while, unless temperatures drop below zero for a period of time. The biggest challenge is the cold water, currently the water temperature is 35 degrees and raises to 38 or 39 degrees on seasonably warm days." Recommended flies include: #20-24 Medallion Midge, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #22 Jujubee Midge, #22 Minute Midge, #22 Tube Midge, #22-24 Black Beauty, #20-22 Red Larva, #20-22 Manhattan Midge, #20-26 Top Secret Midge, #22-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #20-24 Griffith Gnat, #22-24 Matt's Midge, #22-26 Parachute Adams.
Deckers - South Platte River

Eleven Mile Reservoir

Report from the Eleven Mile Marina Weekly Fishing Report. As of 4/7/2020, "the lake is approximately 85 % ice covered. There is lots of fishable shoreline as the ice has receded. Conditions change constantly, as it is springtime in the Rockies. Calling ice season over." https://www.11milesports.com/fishing-report
Eleven Mile Reservoir

St. Vrain State Park

As of 4/9/2020, there have been mixed reports coming from the ponds at St. Vrain State Park. Some anglers and park staff have reported that fishing has been great. Meanwhile, other anglers have reported that fishing has been slow on some ponds but they also noted to expect activity to improve as ambient and water temperatures continue to rise.
St. Vrain State Park

Lake Granby

As of 4/4/2020, Lake Granby has some remaining ice. An angler noted that they measured 12 inches of clear ice, 4-6 inches of cloudy ice, 2 inches of hard crust, and another 2 inches of snow. Like all lakes across the state, these conditions are subject to change due to warming ambient temperatures. Use extreme caution whenever on frozen lakes. Fishing on Lake Granby was reported as productive. Fish can be found suspended at various levels of the water column. Anglers reported that they were receiving bites using small tungsten jigs tipped with sucker and salmon eggs. 
Lake Granby

Conditions Report - Southeast Colorado

Arkansas River - Leadville to Buena Vista

Information provided by Daniel Haan with Ark Anglers. *Please note: "Chaffee County has restricted tourism and leisure traffic to the county. County locals are encouraged to recreate responsibly, but anyone outside of the county is encouraged to stay home under the current circumstances." As of 4/9/2020, "it finally feels like spring on the upper river. Though midges are still the most available food above Buena Vista, we are getting some reports of sporadic blue winged olive activity in the afternoons, which should get more consistent as we progress through April. Activity to the north is a couple weeks behind what we are seeing in Salida. The upper basin sees less angling traffic in the spring because of this. Good searching rigs through the day would be a stonefly nymph/midge pupa combo in the morning and an attractor nymph/mayfly nymph combo in the afternoons, subsurface unless you are seeing fish feed on the surface. Expect fish to still be near winter water, but definitely moving out to occupy pockets and riffles as food is available there." Flows: 90 CFS at Hayden Meadows, 111 CFS at Granite (4/9/2020) http://www.arkanglers.com/
Arkansas River - Leadville to Buena Vista

Arkansas River - Salida to Canon City

Information provided by Braden Baker with Ark Anglers. *Please note: "Chaffee County has restricted tourism and leisure traffic to the county. County locals are encouraged to recreate responsibly, but anyone outside of the county is encouraged to stay home under the current circumstances." As of 4/9/2020, "we are finally seeing strong blue winged olive hatches in both the middle basin and the lower basin below Salida, bringing with them some great dry fly fishing opportunities, especially on cloudy days. As we proceed through April, you will find fish dispersed throughout the river, and increasingly moving into riffles to forage on drifting insects. Blue winged olives are probably the most important food right now, particularly in the afternoons. You will want to keep some dun and emerger patterns handy to cover an emergence from here on out (Parachute Adams, Gulper Special, Sprout Baetis, Bat-wing Emergers, Barr Emergers, Jujubaetis, etc. in #16-18). Any pheasant tail imitation (#16-18) will cover your baetis nymphs. Immature stonefly nymphs (#10-12), caddis larva (#14-18), and midge larva/pupa (#18-20) are especially effective in the morning before any hatch activity takes place. Caddis larva are more and more active as we progress through April, and we anticipate seeing our Mother's Day caddis hatch to begin as usual, near April 15 down in Bighorn Sheep Canyon. Anglers are still advised to fish upstream from Coaldale. The river below the Hayden Pass burn scar runoff is slowly recovering from the flash flooding and sedimentation of late 2018, but the section still contains only a fraction of the number of trout as the river upstream from Coaldale." Flows: 220 CFS at Wellsville (4/5/2020) http://www.arkanglers.com/
Arkansas River - Salida to Canon City

John Martin Reservoir

As of 4/9/2020, fishing activity on John Martin Reservoir has slowly continued to warm up. Water temperature was reported to be consistently in the low 50's. Increased action has been reported among several species, including wiper, crappie, and smallmouth bass. Anglers can entice crappie and smallmouth bass using jigs along shorelines or structures. However, anglers have found the most activity while targeting trout. Also, head to Lake Hasty on the east side of the reservoir for great fishing opportunities as well. 
John Martin Reservoir

Pueblo Reservoir

As of 4/10/2020, Lake Pueblo is open to boating and fishing. For the month of April, the ANS inspection station on the North Ramp is open daily from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. The decontamination station is also open daily from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Fishing has been reported as slow on Lake Pueblo. The water temperature was recently reported at 48 degrees. Park staff and visitors have commented on the high volume of visitors to the park, making access to parking and good fishing spots competitive. 
Pueblo Reservoir

Trinidad Lake

As of 4/10/2020, Trinidad Lake fishing has slowed down. Fishing has not necessarily stalled because of reluctant fish but because of high winds on the lake. Park staff report that there have been few anglers on the water fighting recent gusts up to 30 mph. The weather service is forecasting a continuation of windy conditions for the near future and snow across the weekend and into early next week. By Wednesday, conditions should calm with highs in the 50's and a light breeze throughout the morning. When conditions on the surface turn favorable, anglers have been successful attracting trout with PowerBait. Besides trout, staff reported that there has been little action with Walleye.
Trinidad Lake

Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado

Rifle Gap Reservoir

As of 4/9/2020, the boat ramp at Rifle Gap Reservoir has opened for the season. Park Staff note that there has been an unseasonably high volume of visitors to the reservoir. There have been reports of anglers having success targeting trout and northern pike. The ANS inspection station is open seven days a week from 8 am to 4 pm. 
Rifle Gap Reservoir

Upper Roaring Fork River - Aspen to Basalt

Report from the Taylor Creek Fly Shop fishing report. As of 4/8/2020, "the river is now open from bank to bank and most ice has dissipated as of this week. We are not seeing a ton of dry fly action, but streamer fishing and nymphing has been quite productive. Small worms, stones and princes make great lead flies and follow them up with RS2s or various midge larva." Suggested flies include: NYMPHS BLM 18-20, Tungsten Bead Baetis 20, BTS Baetis 20-22, Sparklewing RS2 20-22, Freestone Emerger 20, BH Polywing Emerger 20, Kingrey's Cap'n Hook 20-22, Bead Wing Midge 20-22, Rojo Midge 20-22, Spanflex Stone 10-12, Tungsten Split Case PMD 16-18, PMD Halfback Emerger 14-18. STREAMERS: Autumn Splendor 6, Zuddler 6, Slumpies 6-8 Flows: 20 CFS below Maroon Creek, (4/8/2020) 
Upper Roaring Fork River - Aspen to Basalt

Lower Roaring Fork River - Carbondale to Glen

Report from the Taylor Creek Fly Shop fishing report. As of 4/8/2020, "in a nutshell, the lower Roaring Fork is on fire! April is a special time around here and this year is no different. The transitions of longer and warmer days seem to get the fish out of their winter funk and put on the proverbial "feed bag." Blue Wings are blanket-hatching, plus some thick midge hatches below Carbondale as we warm up around here. Like always, overnight temperatures are more of a "fishiness factor" than daytime temperatures. Once we are out of the teens at night, which we pretty much are, it is game on out there. Nymphs of note are worms and princes trailed with Tungsten Bead Baetis or RS2s; play around with sizes and colors until you dial the fish in. Streamers are good right now too, do not overlook purple!" Suggested flies include: NYMPHS: BLMs 18-20, Freestone Emerger 20, RS2s 20-22, Polywing Emerger 18-20, Biot Baetis 18-20, Thread Body Baetis 18-20, Soft Hackle BWO 20-22, Imposters 20-22, Cat Poop 8-12, San Juan Worm 10. DRIES: Perfect Baetis 20-22, No Hackle Baetis 20-22, Roy's Special Fryingpan Emerger 20-22, CDC Comparadun 18-20, Hatching Midge 20-22, HOH CDC Spent Midge 22-24, HOH CDC Midge Adult 24, Morgans Midge 18-20, Sprout Midge 18-20, Skittering Zelon Midge 20-22, Griffiths Gnat 20. Flows: 440 CFS in Glenwood Springs 
Lower Roaring Fork River - Carbondale to Glen

Vega State Park

As of 4/7/2020, Vega State Park staff reported that Vega Lake is frozen over with approximately 1 - 2 feet of ice near the dam and the Island. However, warmer temperatures are starting to soften the shorelines by afternoon. You can still access the lake for ice fishing at Angler's Stairwell, and the Island. Always use caution when accessing the lake as ice depths can vary. Fishing continues to be excellent. Anglers report catching rainbow and cutthroat trout in the 14 - 17 inch range with ice jigs and mealworms. There remains approximately one foot of snow on the ground."  
Vega State Park

Lake John

As of 4/4/2020, reports indicate that ice conditions have deteriorated on Lake John. Lake John Resort reported that the lake retains ice between 0-14 inches thick. The shoreline ice has become very thin across the lake and it is unsafe to access the ice. As always, please use caution. While the shorelines have begun to up open, there is not enough open water to fish from shore. Because of these conditions, there are few anglers traveling to Lake John and little updated fishing information to report.
Lake John

Roaring Fork- Basalt to Carbondale

Report from the Taylor Creek Fly Shop fishing report. As of 4/8/2020, "the river looks great around Basalt this week, and has been fishing well to boot. Do not fret if you see a little discoloration in the coming weeks, this is just your cue to tie on a San Juan Worm or stonefly nymph! Like the upper, we are not seeing a ton of dry fly activity, but the nymphing has been terrific once you get your appropriate fly in the right kind of water. The fish are fat and seem to have fed well through the winter months, and where you find one fish there is bound to be more. Treat the Fork as you would the Fryingpan for a little while longer- as in small flies and light tippets. Covering water is a great idea versus standing in one spot all day. If it is a cool day, start on the Fork down-valley and work your way up as the day warms." Suggested flies include: NYMPHS BLMs 18-20, Prince Nymphs 18-20, Pheasant Tails 18-24, Freestone Emerger 20, BH Polywing Emerger 18-20, Biot Baetis 18-20, Sparklewing RS2 20-22, Tailwater Assassin 20-22, Imposter 20-22, Lil Foamy 18-20, Neon Nightmare 20-22, Cat Poop 8-12, 20 Incher 10-14. Flows: 233 CFS in Basalt (4/8/2020) 
Roaring Fork- Basalt to Carbondale

Steamboat Lake

As of 4/9/2020, park staff report that fishing has not slowed down on Steamboat Lake. The lake has continued to be highly productive and some anglers reported catching bigger than usual fish. Anglers have had lots of success by while using tube jigs and other small jigs. The ice has continued to be solid at 2 1/2 to 3 feet. Shoreline ice has become soft or receded in some areas. Be especially careful while accessing the ice. 
Steamboat Lake

Conditions Report - Southwest Colorado

Animas River - Durango

As of 4/9/2020, the Animas at Durango has been showing the signs of the impending spring runoff. Warmer weather has brought more snowmelt and sediment down the river creating high discharge and murky conditions. While this transition does not bode well for the Animas, fishing nearby standing bodies of water has begun to become active. Warm water species will begin to come alive within southwest Colorado lakes. 
Animas River - Durango

Blue Mesa Reservoir

This is a 9000 acre storage reservoir that offers good fishing for kokanee salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout, and lake trout. Blue Mesa Reservoir is located within Curecanti National Recreation Area. *Please note, Gunnison County has implemented travel restrictions that may limit your ability to access the reservoir. See the county's website for more information before planning your fishing trip. As of 4/10/2020, Blue Mesa Reservoir is transitioning to open water season. Many reports indicate that the water has not fully opened up; however, what ice does remain is unfit for any ice fishing. As of right now, anglers can fish the open waters along the shoreline. 
Blue Mesa Reservoir

Crawford Reservoir

As of 3/26/2020, Crawford Reservoir has fully transition from ice to open water fishing. According to park staff, there have been very few anglers who have visited the reservoir since the water has opened. Fishing is currently restricted to the shore only. The boat ramp is scheduled to open for operation on 5/1/2020.
Crawford Reservoir

Navajo Lake

As of 4/9/2020, fishing for Northern Pike has been the most productive. Park staff reported that while Northern Pike fishing has been active, crappie, catfish, and bass fishing have all been slow. The weather has been mostly clear and breezy recently with daily highs in the 60's and lows around freezing. Colorado's Navajo State Park remains open for day use only, including the lake and boat ramp. The closure of Navajo Lake State Park in New Mexico has been extended until April 30th. The park's closure starts at the Colorado/New Mexico state line. 
Navajo Lake

Conditions Report - Statewide

Statewide

It appears that ice fishing has nearly dissipated from Colorado. While there may be many high elevation lakes still frozen over, the majority of popular ice fishing lakes are have transitioned to open water fishing. Meanwhile, spring has brought some activity (slowly in some areas) among warm water species such as walleye, crappie, and bass. The opening of boat season in many lakes across the state adds expanded opportunities for anglers to attract fish as well. Most notably, boating season opens up the opportunity to begin trolling deeper waters and accessing the entire lake in search of hungry fish. Meanwhile, many fly fishers across the state continue to enjoy the winter-spring shoulder season when the weather has turned warm in lower elevations but the rivers have yet to be blown out and murky from spring runoff. The shoulder season gives fly fishers the opportunity to target rising fish with dry flies where hatches of Blue Winged Olive, Midges, March Brown, and Mother's Day Caddis are occurring. The increase of dry fly action may be fun but should not overshadow nymphing as the best way to attract fish in early spring. 
Statewide

KiowaCountyPress.net may earn an affiliate commission if you purchase products or services through links in an article. Prices, when displayed, are accurate at the time of publication but may change over time. Commissions do not influence editorial independence.