Colorado statewide fishing report and conditions – April 25, 2020

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Published Saturday, April 25, 2020

Conditions Report - Metro Denver Area

Aurora Reservoir

As of 4/20/2020. Aurora Reservoir is open to boating and current water temperature remains around 42 degrees. Trout fishing from shore continues to be slow to fair with a few good reports of anglers using power bait. Fly fishermen are reporting fair to good success attracting trout. The west dam has been a good area for fly fishermen wishing to fish from shore. Most trout are being caught in shallow water. Some reports of walleye and perch being caught in 30-40' of water. A few reports of large mouth bass being caught using soft plastics. For more information call 303-326-8425. Park Hours 6:00am-8:30pm. Restricted to electric motors only and portable gas tanks must be removed.
Aurora Reservoir

Chatfield Reservoir

This 1,356 impoundment is located in Chatfield State Park. As of 4/19/2020, Chatfield Reservoir is experiencing high rates of visitation. Despite many anglers on the shore or the water, fishing has been reported to be slow. There are some reports of anglers having success with Walleye and Trout.
Chatfield Reservoir

Cherry Creek Reservoir

As of 4/23/2020, reports indicate that there has been high visitation rates at the park and many boats on the water. Visitors are strongly encourage to retain appropriate social distancing. Boaters are also encourages to give other boaters appropriate space on the water as well. Several reports suggest that water temperature has been consistent at 52 to 53 degrees. Over the past several weeks, multiple anglers have touted their success trolling with a lead core line with Shad lures to connect with fish. 
Cherry Creek Reservoir

Quincy Reservoir

As of 4/20/2020, trout fishing has been fair while using spoons and spinners. Bass fishing has also been slow to fair with a handful of some good reports. There are some reports of Smallmouth Bass being caught from the dam using jigs. 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. *Please note: Quincy has been experiencing higher than normal visitation and has been hitting capacity often on weekends. When this happens visitors that walk in will not be permitted in Quincy. Park Hours: 6:00am-8:30pm. For more information call 303-326-8424.
Quincy Reservoir

Barr Lake

As of 4/20/2020, park staff note that "wipers are biting, and several good sized fish have been caught recently. Trout were stocked last week and have been active along the shoreline and from the fishing pier. Walleyes are holding close to the bottom in the deeper areas of the lake. Water temperature measurements have been approximately 49 degrees throughout the lake."
Barr Lake

Conditions Report - Northeast Colorado

Eleven Mile Reservoir

As of 4/23/2020, Eleven Mile Reservoir is reported to be completely melted and the water is completely open. The reservoir remains closed to boating and there is no date set for opening the reservoir to boating. Fishing is available from shore. Park staff note that the following locations are opening for fishing access: Coyote Ridge, North Shore Main area by the marina, Stoll Mountain, Cross Creek Day Use, Sucker's Cove Day Use, and Witcher's Cove Day Use. 
Eleven Mile Reservoir

St. Vrain State Park

As of 4/24/2020, the ponds at St. Vrain State Park have begun to experience a transition. Throughout the colder months, Sandpiper, Mallard, and Coot ponds are known for their abundance of stocked trout. While the ponds still have plenty of trout to catch anglers are not hauling in the same large quantities they were a month ago. Meanwhile, ponds that hold warmer water specifies have begun to experience increased fishing action. Park staff indicated that catfish have come alive throughout the ponds at St. Vrain State Park. Established areas for walking, biking, and fishing remain open to the public. Parking is limited on the north side of the park. More parking is available at the south end of the park. 
St. Vrain State Park

Boyd Lake

As of 4/23/2020, reports from Boyd Lake have indicated that anglers have had some mixed results. Fishing for Walleye, Bass, and Blue Gill remains fair while we wait for air and water temperatures rise. Meanwhile, trout fishing has remained strong on the lake. Body Lake is open for boating, the ANS station is open daily from 7am to 7pm.
Boyd Lake

North Sterling Reservoir

As of 4/23/2020, North Sterling Reservoir has been slow. Shore anglers have been able to have limited success bringing in Walleye, Crappie, and the rare Drum. Water temperatures remain between 47 and 48 degrees and the reservoir is full. Fishing is expected to heat up by early to middle May. The reservoir is open to boating from the Elks ramp near the north entrance of the park. The ANS station is open daily from 8am to 4pm.
North Sterling Reservoir

Spinney Mountain Reservoir 

As of 4/21/2020, Spinney Mountain Reservoir has completely transitioned to open water, however, it remains closed to both boating and fishing. There has been no date set for the reopening of the park and reservoir to the public. 
Spinney Mountain Reservoir

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 4/20/2020, "flows rose slightly last week as the Twin Lakes release was increased to 100 cfs. Flows at Granite have stabilized at 200 cfs and should remain near this level through the end of April. Though midges are still the most available food above Buena Vista, we are getting some reports of good 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. Hatching blue winged olives are typically size #16-18. The low, clear water can make fish spooky, so approach with caution and be thoughtful in your presentations. Strikes can be subtle with the lower flows, so bring your A-game!" Flows: 100 CFS at Hayden Meadows, 210 CFS at Granite (4/20/2020) http://www.arkanglers.com/
Arkansas River - Leadville to Buena Vista

Arkansas River - Buena Vista to Salida

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 4/23/2020, Braden notes that "we've got some nice, mild weather in the forecast for this week, which should continue to prompt great mayfly hatches in the afternoons. The middle basin is seeing considerable blue winged olive activity most days in the afternoons between 1-3pm. With the availability of food, low flows and ideal water temperatures, you'll find fish are able to spread out and occupy much of the river, in stark contrast to the isolated holding areas you'll see in the winter months. Outside of a hatch scenario, pheasant tail variations in a #16-18 will consistently get some attention as imitations of baetis nymphs, especially in or near riffled water in the afternoons. If you find yourself in an afternoon hatch, you'll want to be armed with some dun and emerger patterns (Parachute Adams, Gulper Special, Sprout Baetis, Bat-wing Emergers, Barr Emergers, Jujubaetis, etc. in #16-18). 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. Flows: 300 CFS at Hecla Junction (4/23/2020) http://www.arkanglers.com/
Arkansas River - Buena Vista to Salida

John Martin Reservoir

As of 4/23/2020, fishing activity on John Martin Reservoir has slowly continued to warm up. Water temperature was recently reported to be 49 degrees. Anglers have reported catching several species, including Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Wiper, and some Crappie. Anglers have found success using a combination of worms and minnows. One angler reported they had success trolling with deep diving crankbaits. Trout have also been active on Lake Hasty, directly east of John Martin Reservoir. Boating is currently open on the lake. The East and West boat ramps are currently open and operational. 
John Martin Reservoir

Pueblo Reservoir

As of 4/23/2020, it seems to depend on the day whether anglers have been catching fish on Lake Pueblo. Recent winter storms have dropped water temperature minimally but should be on the rise. Water level was recently reported to be dropping. Water clarity has also been reported to be fair, in some areas visibility of about 2-3 feet. When the fishing is good, anglers have reported having the best luck fishing near the dam with jigs and jerkbaits. 
Pueblo Reservoir

Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado

Vega State Park

As of 4/21/2020, the reservoir is no longer accessible for ice fishing. There is approximately 20 - 30 feet of open water at the shoreline. There have been no reports of fishing conditions in the newly opened water around the shores of Vega Reservoir. Fisherman's Flats road is closed due to excessive mud.  
Vega State Park

Lake John

As of 4/15/2020, the ice on Lake John has receded considerably. Lake John Resort reported that the shores have opened up and are available for shore fishing. Few reports have indicated the fishing conditions in the newly opened water. 
Lake John

Steamboat Lake

As of 4/23/2020, park staff reported that fishing on Steamboat Lake has halted to a stop. While ice does remain on the lake, thawing shorelines has made the rest of the lake inaccessible at this time. However, shorelines have not opened up enough to usher in any open water fishing opportunities. Nearby creeks have begun to open up and may be fishable, however, accessing creeks may be difficult with persistent snow accumulations. Anglers in the Steamboat Springs area looking to do some fishing before the lake opens up can head up Hwy 129 for public fishing access south of the Red Dirt Trail head on the Elk River. 
Steamboat Lake

Colorado River

As of 4/21/2020, there has been good fishing opportunities on the Colorado River, including dry fly action. Taylor Creek Shop reports that "blue Wings are hatching heavily now and we are seeing a handful of caddis here and there! Streamers and nymphs have been deadly, and if you can find some soft water midday, you'll find some risers here and there. This week fishing in the sun has been better than the shade, although usually we say the opposite." They suggest anglers consider the following flies: DRIES: Pearl and Elk Caddis #14-18, Lawson's EZ Caddis #16-18, Parachute Adams #18-20, Red or Yellow Humpy #16-18, CDC Transitional Midge #20-22, Griffiths Gnat #18-22, Sprout Midge #20-22, HOH Spent Midge #20-22, Hatching Midge #20-22. NYMPHS: Prince #16-18, BLMs #18-20, San Juan Worm #10, Tung Bead Baetis #18-20, Biot Baetis #18-20, RS2s #20, Polywing Emerger #18-20, Imposters #20-22, Assassins #20-22, Freestone Emerger #20, Biot Midge #20-22, Copper John Red #14-18, San Juan Worm #10. Flow: 1400 CFS in Glenwood Springs (as of 4/21/2020) https://taylorcreek.com/blogs/colorado-river-report
Colorado River

Crystal River

As of 4/21/2020, the Crystal River appears to be a productive fishery. The folks at Taylor Creek Fly Shop note that "things are looking up on the Crystal River, with the recent warm up we've seen ice go away and our favorite spots opening up again. Obviously the higher in elevation you explore, the more ice and snow you'll encounter, so pick your battles. We're seeing BWOs as well as midges hatching currently. Don't stress on fly selection on the Crystal, tie on your favorite nymphs and get them down in the zone." They suggest anglers consider the following flies: NYMPHS: Copper John #18-20, Tung Pheasant Tail #18-20, Prince Nymph #16-18, Jerome Baetis #18-20, JuJu Baetis #18-22, Neon Nightmare #20-22, Bead Wing Midge #20-22, Medallion Midge #20-22, San Juan Worm #10, Cat Poop #8-12. DRIES: Parachute Adams #16-20, Hackle Dun BWO #20-22, Hi Vis Griffiths Gnat #18, Skittering Zelon Midge #20, CDC Transitional Midge #22, HOH CDC Spent Midge #20-22, HOH CDC Midge Adult #24, Morgan's Para Midge #20-22. Flow: 33 CFS in Carbondale (as of 4/21/2020) https://taylorcreek.com/blogs/crystal-river-report/crystal-river-report-...
Crystal River

Conditions Report - Southwest Colorado

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 4/23/2020, the National Park Service notes that Blue Mesa Reservoir remains closed to boating until at least April 30th. Visit the Curecanti Nation Recreation Area's website for the latest details. Blue Mesa Reservoir remains open for hiking and shore fishing opportunities for Gunnison County residents only. The reservoir is free of any ice. 
Blue Mesa Reservoir

Navajo Lake

As of 4/23/2020, water temperatures at Navajo Lake have remained steady near 53-54 degrees throughout the day. Anglers have had the most success with Crappie by using jigs, particularly in the colors John Deere green and white. Some anglers continue to pull in Northern Pike on big lures and Catfish have been increasingly active and responsive to nightcrawlers. The ramp at Colorado's Navajo Lake State Park will be operational Monday - Thursday: 7am - 5pm, and Friday - Sunday: 7am to 6pm. The Navajo Lake State Park in New Mexico is currently closed until April 30th. The park's closure starts at the Colorado/New Mexico state line. 
Navajo Lake

Jackson Gulch Reservoir

As of 4/23/2020, the Jackson Gulch Reservoir at Manchos State Park has completely melted and fishing is currently available from shore only. Reports from park staff indicate that trout have been raising and anglers are catching trout on small jigs and streamers. While they are not as active as trout, some anglers have been catching Yellow Perch as well. The boat ramp is scheduled to open on May 1st, however, the reservoir is currently open to hand launched and other ANS exempt watercrafts. 
Jackson Gulch Reservoir

Ridgway Reservoir

As of 4/23/2022, park staff report that anglers have had success catching rainbow trout from the shore. Attracting fish has been accomplished through a variety of methods. Arriving at the reservoir with powerbait, worms, and artificial lures in your tacklebox will put you in a good position to get fish on the line. Don't hesitate to change your tackle until you find what is working. Meanwhile, the tailwaters in the Uncompahgre River have increasing flows as the dam has recently doubled output. Higher tailwaters should provide more opportunities for anglers to fish this section of the Uncompahgre River. 
Ridgeway Reservoir

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. 

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