PICT Dan Kirmer and Jim Ramsay at John Martin Reservoir - CPW

CPW designates three southeast lakes ‘Colorado Quality Waters’

A large hybrid striped bass, known as a wiper, shown November 2018 after it was pulled from a stilling basin below John Martin Reservoir dam. The wiper was among many large fish put into the reservoir so the basin could be dredged. Courtesy CPW.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has announced a new category of fishable waters called Colorado Quality Waters. These 53 lakes and streams contain productive, quality fisheries with public access, providing a top-tier experience for anglers.

CPW’s talented team of fish management biologists identified and nominated these waters based on fish sampling records, surveys, and professional biological assessments. The waters were nominated for providing exceptional angling opportunities for one species or a variety of species.

Waters in Southeast Colorado

Adobe Creek Reservoir – Bent & Kiowa County

Good fishing opportunity exists for crappie and catfish (blue and channel). Boat anglers are more successful, as shore fishing is limited to the south side of the lake. But shore anglers can be successful, especially for the abundant catfish that inhabit the lake. Other species available include: largemouth bass, saugeye/walleye, wiper, and freshwater drum.

Species: Crappie, blue catfish, channel catfish, largemouth bass, saugeye, walleye, wiper, freshwater drum

Special Regulations:

1. Trotlines and jugs are permitted.

John Martin Reservoir – Bent County

John Martin Reservoir is a family-friendly state park environment with plenty of amenities to provide a high-quality angling experience. While boat anglers tend to be more successful, plenty of opportunity exists for shore anglers to access the lake. Anglers can expect good to excellent fishing for white bass, wipers, crappie, saugeye/walleye, largemouth bass, and channel catfish. Other species available include: freshwater drum, flathead catfish, blue catfish, smallmouth bass, and bluegill.

Species: White bass, wiper, crappie, saugeye, walleye, largemouth bass, channel catfish. freshwater drum, flathead catfish, blue catfish, smallmouth bass, bluegill

Special Regulations:

1. Trotlines and jugs are permitted.

Nee Noshe Reservoir – Kiowa County

Although current water levels are somewhat low, good fishing opportunity exists for wipers, saugeye/walleye, crappie, largemouth bass, and channel catfish. Boat anglers are most successful as shore fishing can be difficult due to shallow depths along the shoreline and numerous tamarisk trees. Fishing kayakers, belly boaters, or wading anglers can be successful when the lake is relatively calm.

Species: Wiper, saugeye, walleye, crappie, largemouth bass, channel catfish

Special Regulations:

1. Trotlines and jugs are permitted.

View a list of Colorado Quality Waters here.

“Colorado offers anglers the opportunity to fish in 6,000 miles of streams and more than 1,300 lakes and reservoir​s,” said Josh Nehring, CPW’s Deputy Aquatic Section Manager. “We are excited to announce this new designation and highlight these high quality fisheries.”

Colorado Quality Waters are below the threshold to be considered Gold Medal Waters, but are recognized because of their fantastic and diverse warm-water and cold-water fisheries. For more information on Gold Medal Waters see page 3 of the 2024 Colorado Fishing Brochure.