The Top 5 Fishing Hot Spots, 3 on the Colorado Front Range plus 2 Mountain Lakes
This is not an all inclusive list for sure, but the best places that I have fished in Colorado are: Blue Mesa Reservoir, Boyd Lake, Chatfield Reservoir, Green Mountain Reservoir and Jackson Reservoir. I know a lot of people who read this blog will say there are much better lakes than these in Colorado. However, most of my list is focused on the front range, since that's where I live and where I fish most often. All of these lakes are great lakes to fish and offer different challenges and rewards for the angler. A good resource for all these lakes is Fishexplorer.com.Blue Mesa Reservoir is my favorite place in Colorado to fish. It is located along US Hwy. 50 about 15 miles west of Gunnison on the western slope. This is the largest body of water in Colorado with approximately 90 miles of shoreline. The lake offers opportunities for Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Northern Pike, Lake Trout, Kokanee and Yellow Perch. My family makes a trip here every year and we are always pleased with the results. There can be a lot of boat traffic, but the lake is large enough that some privacy can be found. Kokanee is the target for most anglers on the lake and can be caught on a variety of patterns, like squids, tasmanian devils, spinners and jigging spoons. The state record Lake Trout was caught here in 2007 which weighed 50.35 lbs. and measured 44.25 inches. The state record Kokanee (snagging) was also caught here in 2002 which weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces and measured 27 inches. The bag and possession limits for Lake Trout is unlimited, but only one fish over 38 inches can be kept per day.
Boyd Lake is located in Loveland, CO which is north of Denver on I-25. The lake offers Rainbow Trout, Black Crappie, Bluegill, Brown Trout, Channel Cat, Carp, Cutbows, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, White Bass and Yellow Perch. There is a lot of boat traffic here including water skiers in the warm months, but the fishing can be great. We have caught several very nice White Bass and Perch in this lake trolling Tasmanian Devils. I prefer the north side of the lake, but the action is good on the south side of the lake as well. Largemouth must be 15 inches long to be kept, Smallmouth must be 12 inches long, Walleye/Saugeye must be 15 inches long and only one fish over 21 inches can be kept per day.
Chatfield Reservoir is located in Littleton, CO right off of C-470. The lake offers Black Crappie, Bluegill, Brown Trout, Channel Catfish, Common Carp, Largemouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Tiger Muskie, Walleye and Yellow Perch. Again there is a lot of boat traffic, including waterskiing, jetskiing, sailboats and other fishermen. While I love this lake I do not fish it on the weekends there is just too much traffic. This is a lake where I target Walleye in the no wake area. I like to use a jig and grub tipped with a worm. Another good area to try is along the sunken bridge, which can be located on a lake map. Minimum size for Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass is 15 inches long. The bag limit and minimum size for Walleye is three fish 18 inches long. Only one Walleye longer than 21 inches may be taken per day.
Green Mountain is located on CO Hwy. 9 about 30 miles north of Silverthorne, CO. The lake is a popular spot for Lake Trout and Kokanee. The lake level fluctuates regularly but is one of my favorite spots for ice fishing. Green Mountain offers: Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Kokanee, Lake Trout and Rainbow Trout. On the ice I prefer to locate a drop off in about 60 feet of water and jig a white tube tipped with sucker meat. The action at Green Mountain can be very fast but expect the fish to be on the smaller side. I have had some 20+ fish days at Green Mountain and have seen a couple large fish 10+ pounds taken as well. The bag and possession limit on Lake Trout is eight fish. (In the picture below, I was fishing with a friend and the fish pictured were kept by two anglers).
Jackson Reservoir is located approximately 70 miles northeast of Denver on I-76. The lake is a popular waterskiing lake, so expect a lot of boats. It is also popular for catching Wiper and Carp. The lake offers Black Crappie, Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Common Carp, Freshwater Drum, Hybrid Striped Bass(wiper/palmetto), Largemouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, Saugeye and Walleye. This lake is like a bowl with very little structure. A popular place for Wiper is at the inlet. I have caught huge carp in this lake and they fight like no ones business! Wipers, Walleyes and Saugeyes must be 15 inches long, Only one Walleye or Saugeye (in aggregate) 21 inches or longer can be taken per day. Anglers should check the regulations, because there are parts of the lake that close during waterfowl season.
I hope this is a helpful guide for people looking for a place to fish in Colorado. I also hope you enjoy these lakes as much as I do.