Interactive Map - Colorado Statewide Fishing Conditions – March 23, 2018

PICT Fishing at New Wildlife Area - CPW
Published Friday, March 23, 2018

Conditions Report - Statewide

Rivers and Creeks

Although we are approaching the spring season, we are still seeing low flows and clear waters. This means anglers must be more careful not to spook the fish when approaching the water. The spawn beds from the browns are still active, so be cautious of redds when wading along the rivers. There are still waters that are iced over, so anglers will have to primarily rely on tailwaters--the waters below dams or other structures that regulates water flow. The regulated water flow keeps the spots from freezing over and provides warmth for the cold-blooded trout. Even with the warmer conditions of these waters, the fish will still behave sluggishly. Fish diets in the winter are made up primarily of midges and an assortment of small blue-winged olive nymphs and are occasionally supplemented by larger mayflies, annelids, trout eggs, stoneflies, and even caddis larva. Winter fishing typically consists of a lot of nymph fishing since the trout are not overly active due to the cold water temperatures, so try using stonefly nymphs and imitation midges. Remember that the hatches are much smaller in the winter, so keep your flies in the #16 to #20 range. It is also important to be mindful of your split shot usage. With the fish being sluggish, they aren't going to divert too much energy for food, so making sure those flies drift directly in their path is important. Be sure not to use too much split shot though because the last thing you'll want to do is to have to retrieve a snag in those cold waters. As the trout continue to get a later start, anglers should mirror that and look for ideal times to be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Colorado Fishing Atlas

Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado

Vega

The lake is fully covered by ice and fishing is excellent at this time. Anglers are reporting catching rainbows and cutthroats in the 14-16 inch range using meal worms, jigs with wax worms and shrimp. There is approximately 10-12 inches of ice on the lake with considerable slush on top of the ice. Please be aware that ice depths vary across the lake. We currently have about 8-10 inches of snow on the ground. The Visitor's Center is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Vega State Park

Delaney Butte Lakes

The Delaney's are still better ice than Lake John except for East Delaney, the most open water of the Delaney's. North and South Delaney Lakes are showing at least a little open water in all the initial places. All the secondary backroads are open enough to drive around the lakes, although you can expect some serious mud in places with the melting. There is still some spots where the ice is fishable, however it may not be where you like. From what we saw yesterday and today, safety equipment is a must and be sure to check the ice as you are entering and fishing!
Delaney Butte Lakes SWA

Highline Lake/Mack Mesa Lake

Highline Lake will re-open to boating March 1, 2018, if ice and lake conditions allow. No boats are currently allowed on Highline Lake. Mack Mesa is free of ice, and was stocked last week with 800 12 inch trout, so the fishing should be good. Highline Lake was also stocked last week with 800 12 inch trout. Highline has a very small section of ice in the middle of the lake, on the southern end, and the rest of the lake is ice-free. Fishing licenses are available at the Visitor Center. Currently, usual hours are 8 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday. You must have a valid ID and social security number, or a CID number and an email address to purchase a fishing license. If you have a blue license from a previous year, the process of purchasing a current license will be much easier. 
Highline Lake/Mack Mesa Lake

Granby Lake

As of 3/23/2018 the lake was reported to be frozen with a water temperature of 37 degrees Fahrenheit. Success has been reported catching lakers on tube jigs tipped with meal worms or wax worms. 

Harvey Gap Reservoir

As of 3/20/2018, the lake was almost ice free. The water level in Harvey Gap was very low for much of the fall of 2017 as a result of a reservoir drawdown conducted by Silt Water Conservancy District to inspect the reservoir's outlet. During this period of low water level, CPW put a public fish salvage regulation on the lake in which bag and possession limits were removed for all fish species. This public fish salvage is no longer active as it was removed once the reservoir started to refill. Conversations with anglers and a survey conducted by CPW in the fall immediately prior to the lake beginning to refill showed that the same species were present in the reservoir following the drawdown compared to prior to the drawdown (i.e. tiger muskie, rainbow trout, black crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, yellow perch, channel catfish, northern pike, and smallmouth bass). In addition to stocking tiger muskie, rainbow trout, and channel catfish, CPW will be stocking increased numbers of bluegill and black crappie in 2018 to help the fishery recover from the drawdown more rapidly. Special fishing regulations at Harvey Gap Reservoir include a minimum size of 15 inches for largemouth bass and a bag and possession limit of 2 for channel catfish. Standard bag and possession limits apply for all other species. Bag and possession limits for smallmouth bass and northern Pike are unlimited. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU CAN DISTINGUISH TIGER MUSKIE FROM NORTHERN PIKE. ALL TIGER MUSKIE LESS THAN 36 INCHES MUST BE RELEASED ALIVE. For more information regarding tiger muskie, please contact CPW Area Aquatic Biologist Ben Felt at benjamin.felt@state.co.us. Anglers may contact Harvey Gap/Rifle Gap State Park, 5775 Hwy. 325, Rifle, CO, 81650; Phone: 970-625-1607 for updates on fishing conditions.
Harvey Gap Reservoir

Highline Lake/Mack Mesa Lake

As of 3/23/2018, Highline Lake was ice-free. Highline Lake was stocked with rainbow trout in early February as well as early and mid-March so fishing should be good. As of 3/23/2018 Mack Mesa was also completely ice-free. Mack Mesa was also stocked with rainbow trout in early February and early and mid-March so fishing should be good. Highline and Mack Mesa were both stocked with 800 12 inch trout and another 1,000 in early March. Highline Lake and Mack Mesa are both open for boating. Please stop at the Visitor Center at the East Entrance or call 970-858-7208 to request an ANS inspection before launching. Anglers may contact Highline State Park for updates on fishing conditions. 
Highline Lake/Mack Mesa Lake

Lake Avery

As of 3/23/2018 fishing continues to be very productive for rainbow trout with an average size of about 12 inches. As warm temperatures continue ice has melted quickly. Please contact the CPW Meeker office at 970-878-6090 for the latest conditions and information about accessing the State Wildlife Area.
Lake Avery

Rifle Gap Reservoir

The east half of the lake is open water. Pike and trout are being caught on the east end. Special fishing regulations at Rifle Gap Reservoir include a bag and possession limit of 1 walleye 18 inches or greater; bag and possession limit for yellow perch is 20.
Rifle Gap Reservoir

Vega

As of 3/23/2018, the road to Fisherman's Flats has been closed due to slush and muddy conditions. With warmer temperatures the lake is melting significantly around the edges. Please use extreme caution when accessing the ice this time of year. The Visitor's Center is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Anglers may also contact Vega Reservoir State Park, 15247 North 6/10 Road Unit A, Collbran, CO 81624; Phone: 970-487-3407 for weekly updates on ice conditions and angling success. The entrance station is closed; please use self-serve or come to the Visitor Center for passes. The Visitor Center's winter hours are 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, seven days a week.  
Vega

James M. Robb

As of 3/23/2018 all lakes are free of ice and offer ample shoreline fishing opportunities. Old Orchard, Roan's Pond, and Corn Lake have all been recently stocked. Anglers have reported success on a variety of different baits and flies. Send in a fishing report and let us know what you are finding success with! 
James M. Robb

Rifle Falls

As of 3/23/2018, rainbow and cutthroat trout are found in East Rifle Creek which flows through Rifle Falls. Fish up to 19 inches long have been taken, with 6-9 inch fish being the average size. Brown and Black flies or spinners work the best. Bait, except for live fish, can be used.
Rifle Falls

Lake John

This past week's warmer weather has really taken a toll on the ice depth here at Lake John and it has left us with much more open water at the north end and west edges. There were a few fishermen that found safe ice for fishing Lake John down off the south east side, there are now several areas around the lake that are inaccessible. 
Lake John

Sylvan Lake

Beginning the end of March and through the summer of 2018, the lake will be drained for construction.
Sylvan Lake

Conditions Report - Northeast Colorado

Eleven Mile State Park

Ice is continuing to come off the reservoir. We are probably around 30%-40% open water as of 3/20/2018. Ice flows are still moving around at the west end of the reservoir so it can be difficult to tell exactly. There is open shoreline fishing. However from the Park Office West most of the ice has moved east or melted. The ice we have left is very gray and not looking good and we are not seeing the ice fishermen anymore. 
Eleven Mile State Park

Bear Creek

This 103-acre impoundment is located in Bear Creek Regional Park off Morrison Road in Lakewood. Note that this is a City of Lakewood park, so a CPW parks pass does not work here. As of 3/23/2018 the lake is ice free with about 36 inches of visibility. Fishing for rainbow trout has been good using minnows or waxworms. A few smallmouth bass have been caught. Success for trout has been reported from the shorelines. For updated conditions, contact Bear Creek Lake Park (303-697-6159).
Bear Creek Reservoir

Jackson Reservoir

This 2,967 acre reservoir is located approximately 32 miles east of Greeley and 10 miles north of Wiggins. As of 3/23/2018 the reservoir was free of ice. The lake level is full with a surface water temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Fishing has been fair to good for crappie, wiper and walleye. For up-to-date fishing and ice conditions contact the park directly at 970-645-2551.
Jackson Reservoir

Boyd Lake

As of 3/21/2018 fishing for crappie was good using minnows. There were also reports of fair trout fishing and good yellow perch right now. Reminder - No fishing from marina slips or docks (next to is okay but can't use them in any way. NOTE: No snowmobiles or Off Highway Vehicles are allowed on Boyd Lake State Park. PLEASE NOTE: Any live fish collected for use as bait may only be used in the same body of water from which they were collected. All live bait/fish from a commercial source and transported by anglers must at all times be accompanied by a receipt for the source. See the Colorado Fishing Regulations for further clarification and information.
Boyd Lake

Clear Creek

As of 3/23/2018 flow was around 44 CFS at Golden with visibility reaching 36 inches. Water conditions were clear sitting at 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Fishing has been fair for browns, rainbows, and cuts using Stimulators, Griffith's Gnat, Sparkle Dun and Prince Nymphs in black or dark colors. 
Clear Creek

North Sterling

As of 3/23/2018, fishing has been good in the hours near sunrise and sunset. Ice is coming off the lake and shore fishing is possible. The Reservoir is open to boating as of Saturday March 17th, 2018. The Inlet is ON and the Outlet is OFF. Fishing has slowed for the winter season but a few Walleye and Crappie have come out.
North Sterling

Conditions Report - Southeast Colorado

Arkansas River

March 16th - Upper River: The cold nights on the upper river will make fishing the upper Arkansas very difficult this time of year. It has iced up a lot above the Twin Lakes confluence, and can be challenging to effectively fish, if you can even find any active fish in the limited open water. Better conditions will be found further to the south below Buena Vista and near Salida throughout the winter. March 16th- Middle River: With a little cooler weather today (~40 degrees this afternoon), dress appropriately for snow if you're going to get out on the river. Sometimes the snowy days can be excellent. We should remain in the 40s-50s this week, which should make for some good opportunities on the river. The middle basin directly above Salida to Stone Bridge has been the most productive as of late, but even the river near Buena Vista may offer some opportunities on the warmest days. Midge activity will get fish moving mid-morning through the afternoon, but don't be surprised if fish eat caddis larva and larger attractor patterns, as well. Fish will not be far from deep runs and pools, and will likely be concentrated together in the best winter lies. Midges are usually the most plentiful food items available on these colder days, but fish will give larger food a look if it drifts into them. Stonefly nymphs and other attractors like hare's ears, prince nymphs, and pheasant tails are all effective as larger offerings. March 16th - Below Salida: We're looking at a cloudy, potentially snowy day here in Salida, probably hitting 40 degrees this afternoon. Dress appropriately, and sometimes the snowy days can be excellent. We'll be warming up again throughout the week, with temperature reaching the 40s-50s. Midge activity mid-day seems to be ticket most of the time, but if you're lucky a morning caddis larval drift may bring fish into shallower runs to intercept. On warmer days, getting an earlier start has begun paying dividends, as more insect activity starts the feed-train earlier in the day. 9:00 is not too early to start fishing. On colder days, wait until 10:00 or 10:30. Stonefly nymphs, caddis larva, and midge larva have been producing in the mornings, with midge pupa and immature mayfly nymphs becoming more available mid-day. Fish are now podded up in or near winter (deep) water, so where you find one fish, there are usually more. Fish have begun moving into shallower water at times as food is available (2-3' depth) so don't neglect those areas! Current flows make for ideal wade fishing conditions near Salida. Though floating is still possible, current flows require you to boat right on top of lots of the best holding water, whereas wade fisherman can target the prime lies without disturbing fish. Strong midge activity has had fish moving in the morning and active through the afternoon on the warmer days. The volume of subsurface food this time of year usually makes for nymphing. Midges are active throughout the day, and mayfly nymphs sizes #16-18 work well through the afternoons. The key is finding the right water. Spend more time picking apart likely lies just inside the main current and adjusting dropper depth until you find the sweet spot. Deeper water fished with a tandem fly rig should be your best bet in the morning, but don't ignore shallower runs and riffles in the afternoons. Best hours of the day are 10am - 3pm where sun is on the water. 
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Trinidad Reservoir

The lake is at 1012 surface acres with a surface elevation of 6206.04 feet. Shore anglers are catching trout on homemade dough bait and PowerBait (green color) all along south shore and Reilly Canyon. No reports of walleye as of 3/20/2018. Boating is open for the season. Please be advised that all boats must be inspected prior to launching.
Trinidad Reservoir

Brush Hollow

This 200 acre lake is located northwest of the Town of Penrose off of Highway 115. As of 3/23/2018 the reservoir ice-free, Fishing from shore is picking up. Trout stocking has begun this spring, and fishing conditions are expected to improve. For updated fishing reports and conditions, contact the CPW Salida Area Office (719-530-5520).
Brush Hollow

Clear Creek Reservoir

Located north of Buena Vista. Fishing has been fair to good for trout using wax worms, meal worms, jigs, flies, and PowerBait. Fishing is better near the boat ramp. For updated fishing reports and conditions, contact the CPW Salida Area Office (719-530-5520).
Clear Creek Reservoir

Lake Pueblo

The contractors building the hydro-electric plant started removing a cofferdam on 3/5/2018. For the next few weeks, there was and still will be extra sediment in the river and water quality may not be as good as usual on the Arkansas River below the dam.
Lake Pueblo

Lathrop

As of 3/21/2018 the surface temperature on Martin Lake is around 36 degrees. The surface is currently open water, but ice will form on colder nights. Temperatures this winter have not been cold enough to produce ice thick enough to fish on. Use extreme caution before attempting to traverse any newly formed ice. Wear a life jacket and make sure to measure the thickness of the ice every 10-15 feet as you move away from shore. Ice fishing is not recommended. Most fishing is done from shore due to the very windy conditions and rough water we have been experiencing over the last two weeks. Trout have been biting pretty well with some in the 18-23 inch range. Both artificial lures and bait have been successful. Pike have also been active lately with most under 24 inches. Spoons and large spinner baits are best. The surface temperature of Horseshoe Lake is about 32 degrees. Horseshoe Lake is currently free of ice. Visitors have reported less success in Horseshoe, but some smaller trout are being caught. Variations of PowerBait including rainbow and cheese styles have been used to catch fish recently. 
Lathrop

St. Vrain

There are 11 fishable ponds at St. Vrain that are stocked on a regular basis. Bald Eagle Pond is artificial flies and lures only. Bald Eagle Pond and Blue Heron Reservoir are trophy bass fisheries: all bass caught on these 2 ponds must be immediately returned to the water! Only 1 catfish in your standard bag and possession limit can exceed 20 inches on Blue Heron Reservoir. Blue Heron has been producing some good sized Black Crappie, Largemouth Bass, and Saugeye on jigs and lures. Trout fishing is very productive in spring and fall depending on stocking. Stocked trout are only 8-10 inches in length and we do not recommend keeping them until they have matured and are of a healthy size: around 12-24 inches. Overfishing these waters results in smaller, less productive populations.
St. Vrain

Staunton

Our ADA accessible fishing pier is complete and ready to be fished from. Please contact the park about how we can provide an accessible fishing experience. Access to the ponds is from the main parking areas only. There is no public access below the dams on Elk Creek Road. Do not drop people or equipment off at this location. Violators will be ticketed. For more information contact staff at 303-816-0912.
Staunton State Park

Trinidad Reservoir

The lake is at 1012 surface acres with a surface elevation of 6206.04 feet. Shore anglers are catching trout on homemade dough bait and PowerBait (green color) all along south shore and Reilly Canyon. No reports of walleye as of 3/20/2018. Boating is open for the season. Please be advised that all boats must be inspected prior to launching.
Trinidad Reservoir

Conditions Report - Metro Denver Area

Aurora Reservoir

Cherry Creek

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. The Walleye Spawn is March 15th - April 15th. During this time there is no fishing within 100 feet of the tower or net. The area will be a marked.
Cherry Creek Reservoir

Quincy Reservoir

Open to boating and the water temp is 42 degrees. As of 3/23/2018 the water level has come up but is still down. Bass fishing is slow to fair with a handful of some good reports. Some reports from boaters and shore anglers using jigs, flies and soft plastics fished slowly. Park Hours for March 6:30 am-8:00 pm. Restricted to artificial flies and lures only. Electric motors only and hand launched watercraft only-trailers and vehicles prohibited in the water. For more information call 303-326-8424. Boat rental is closed due to low water levels. 
Quincy Reservoir

Chatfield Reservoir

This 1,356 impoundment is located in Chatfield State Park, in Littleton. The entrance to the park is on S. Wadsworth Blvd, one mile south of C-470. As of 3/23/2018 the reservoir is ice free. Please note that due to the Chatfield Reallocation construction fishing access from the west side of the park (North Boat Ramp - Kingfisher) is closed. Please access the lake from the east side of the reservoir. 
Chatfield Reservoir

Conditions Report - Southwest Colorado

Big Meadows Reservoir

This 114 acre reservoir is a State Wildlife Area southwest of South Fork. From Highway 160, access along Forest Road 410, currently the lake is only accessible by snowmobile, skis or snowshoes (2 miles). Because of its access restrictions and remote location, Big Meadows offers a good opportunity for anglers to enjoy a day of fishing away from the crowds while enjoying breathtaking views of nearby peaks in the Weminuche Wilderness. As of 3/8/2018 ice thickness is currently unknown and anglers are asked to use caution. Fishing has been good and anglers have been successful using worms at the upper end in the shallows. Fishing by the dam is also productive this time of year. For updated fishing reports and ice conditions, contact the Monte Vista office (719-587-6900).
Big Meadows Reservoir

Blue Mesa Reservoir

This 8,900 acre reservoir is located west of Gunnison. As of 3/23/2018, anglers have reported success catching both lakers and browns with sucker tipped jigs. As long as conditions allow, the Lake Fork Marina will continue to be open to boating. Anglers can check on current ice conditions and boat ramp inspection schedules by contacting Curecanti National Recreation Area at (970-641-2337).
Blue Mesa Reservoir

Crawford

There is open water around most of the lake. This would be a good time to cast onto the ice and drag your bait into the water. There is more open water around the inlets than in other areas. The south end of the lake has been a hot spot for pike. Let us know what you are catching!
Crawford State Park

Mancos

As of 3/23/2018, the lake is mostly open water. Mancos is a great place for consistent action from rainbow trout and yellow perch. Most of the trout action is from 10-12 inch fish, but there's very good opportunity at an 18-20 inch trout and a few 12+" perch. Great opportunity for kids to catch fish. Most anglers are finding success with bait PowerBait, eggs, and crawlers) fishing just off bottom or under a slip bobber. For a chance at the yellow perch and trout, a small jig fished under a bobber on a long leader and tipped with a piece of worm is a good bet. Casting or trolling typical in-line spinners (Panther Martins, Mepps) from boats is another approach at the trout. Hand-launchable boats (non-motorized kayaks, canoes, belly boats, etc.) are a great way to fish the lake in this off-season. This is the first year in more than 15 years that the lake has not gotten decent ice to fish. A park pass is required on vehicles in the park. Daily park passes are available at the self-serve pay station at the park entrance.
Mancos State Park

Ridgway 

Due to ice free conditions, as of 3/23/2018 anglers may be able to hook brown trout with spooner lures. Stocking occurred twice in March for rainbows at the boat ramp. Tailwaters have been good for fly fishing.
Ridgway State Park