Top Places for Bass Fishing in Colorado

Top Places for Bass Fishing in Colorado
Photo Courtesy of Steve Carpenteri

Bass, Bass Fishing, Lunkers, Trophy Bass

Centennial State bass anglers have a corner on the market. Because the state's biggest draws are big-game and bird hunting, trout fishing and skiing, Colorado's exceptional bass fishing opportunities often fly under the radar, but not anymore! Here are your best bets for bass fishing in Colorado.

Pueblo Reservoir

Pueblo Reservoir is fed by the Arkansas River and rests at an elevation of 4,690 feet. The lake has 4,500 surface acres with over 60 miles of shoreline and depths from six to 100 feet. 

Lake Pueblo offers great fishing opportunities for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, which have a 15 inch minimum length limit. Fish the shoreline at dawn, dusk or at night; or troll the depths with large plugs, jigs or spoons during daylight hours.


To get there take Interstate Route 25 to Pueblo, and then U.S. Route 50 west for four miles. Turn south on Pueblo Boulevard and go four miles to Thatcher Avenue. Turn west and drive six miles to the park.


Horsetooth Lake 

This 6.5-mile long reservoir was constructed as part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project by building four large earth-filled dams: Spring Creek, Dixon Canyon and Soldier Canyon dams, each approximately 210 feet high. These dams were built across openings in the long hogback forming the eastern side of the reservoir while Horsetooth Dam was constructed across the north end. The reservoir is adjacent to Lory State Park. The lake rests at an elevation of 5,430 feet and covers 1,875 surface acres. 


Horsetooth Reservoir contains largemouth and smallmouth bass and is open to fishing year-round. Work the weedy shallows with noisy topwater lures for largemouths and ply the rocky points and drop-offs for big smallmouths

Favorite Baitcasting Reel: Abu Garcia Revo MGX

Abu Garcia Revo MGX, 33.5%

Bass-chaser Jamie Chmielewski is convinced the Revos are the best out there. 'œI have had several Abu Garcia Revo reels over the last few years, so I got one of these about a year ago and found out very quickly it was the best reel I had ever had my hands on. Easily the best casting reel for all weights of baits!'

Honorable Mention

Shimano Chronarch CI4+, 22.2%
Quantum Tour MG, 13.7%

Favorite Castable Umbrella Rig: Berkley Schooling Rig

Berkley Schooling Rig, 36.9%

Honorable Mention

Bass Pro Shops Deadly 5 Flashy Times, 33.8%
Road Runner Buffet, 13.8%

Favorite Fluorocarbon Line: Berkley Trilene 100 FluoroXL

Berkley Trilene 100 FluoroXL, 63.9%

Honorable Mention

Seaguar InvisX, 19.4%
Bass Pro Shops XPS Signature Series, 13.2%

Favorite Mono/Copolymer Line: Berkley Trilene XT XL

Berkley Trilene XT XL, 77.4%

G. Jacobs reported that he was using Trilene line and a Shimano rod and reel with a Strike King lure when he caught this largemouth.

Honorable Mention

Bass Pro Shops XPS Signature Series, 13.2%
Seaguar Senshi, 9.4%

Favorite Sunglasses: Berkley Zephyr

Berkley Zephyr, 41.3%

Honorable Mention

Costa CatCay, 28.7%
Wiley X WX Gravity, 22.7%

Favorite Soft Plastic Swimbait: YUM Money Minnow

YUM Money Minnow, 32.9%

Honorable Mention

Bass Pro Shops Sassy Sally, 14.2%
Savage Gear Real Trout, 13.2%

Favorite Rain Gear: Cabela'™s Guidewear Bass Angler

Cabela'™s Guidewear Bass Angler, 53.9%

Honorable Mention

Shimano Dryfender Insulated, 20.4%
Frabill F Series, 17.2%

Favorite Jig: Bass Pro Shops Enticer Pro Series Football

Bass Pro Shops Enticer Pro Series Football, 45.1%

Honorable Mention

Terminator Weedless Football, 32.2%
Jackall Spade Jig TG, 12.9%

Favorite Baitcasting Rod: G Loomis GL2

G Loomis GL2, 30.6%

'œBest feeling rod I'™ve ever held,' wrote Dave Lapotka, also known as Fishboy1. 'œIt'™s light and just a tremendous rod.'

Honorable Mention

Abu Garcia Veracity, 27.9%
Cabela'™s Tournament ZX, 18.4%
According to Allison, who swears by the ZX, she caught a large smallmouth right before she caught this one, but no one was around to see it or take a photo of it!

Favorite Spinning Rod: G. Loomis GL2

First Place: G. Loomis GL2, 26.7%

Reader Gary N. Watkins says he reaches for his G. Loomis rods over all others. 'œI like all G. Loomis rods. The craftsmanship is the best.' Kevin Field voted for the GL2 because of its impressive weight-to-power ratio.

Honorable Mention

Abu Garcia Veritas, 23.7%
Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite, 20.3%

Favorite Wirebait: Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye

Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye, 37.1%

Honorable Mention

Strike King Tour Grade Night, 30.9%
Sebile ProShad, 17.2%

Favorite Fish Finder: Lowrance Elite-5 DSI

Lowrance Elite-5 DSI, 42.6%

Honorable Mention

Humminbird 598ci HD SI Combo, 39.4%
Garmin Echomap70s, 12.3%

Favorite Small Outboard: Mercury 9HP ProKicker

Mercury 9HP ProKicker, 59.6%

'œOne of the best kicker motors available,' wrote Debbie Harbin. 'œPrice is right also.'

Honorable Mention

Yamaha F70A, 31.5%
Suzuki DF20A, 5.7%

Favorite Shallow Water Anchoring System: Minn Kota Talon 12

Minn Kota Talon 12, 60.2%

Honorable Mention

Power-Pole Micro Anchor, 39.8%

Favorite Small Bass Boat: Ranger Z118C

Ranger Z118C, 49.2%

Honorable Mention

Alumacraft Dominator 185 LE, 29.0%
G3 Eagle Talon 17 DLX, 12.3%

Favorite Large Bass Boat: Ranger Z521C

Ranger Z521C, 54.5%

Like most of the voters who commented on their choices, James Davis speaks from experience. 'œAs a Ranger owner, I think that this is the ultimate bass rig.'

Honorable Mention

Triton 21HP, 27.8%
BassCat_Puma, 14.5%

Favorite Hard Plastic Swimbait: Rapala BX Jointed Minnow

Rapala BX Jointed Minnow, 72.1%

Honorable Mention

Bass Pro Shops XPS Z9R, 14.2%
Savage Gear Glide Swimmer, 8.0%

Favorite Crankbait: Rapala Scatter Rap Crank

Rapala Scatter Rap Crank, 59.3%

Honorable Mention

Bass Pro Shops XPS Square Bill, 15.7%
Storm Arashi Series, 10.4%

Favorite Craw/Creature Bait: Savage Gear 3D

Savage Gear 3D, 30.1%

Honorable Mention

Havoc Papa Pit Boss, 19.8%
ZMan Turbo CrawZ, 19.5%

Favorite Spinning Reel: Shimano Stradic CI4+

First Place: Shimano Stradic CI4+, 27.6%

'œSmooth, strong and never has a problem. Great drag,' said Logan W. Seth Mahler also voted for the Stradic. 'œSmooth retrieve good cast.'

Honorable Mention:

Quantum Energy, 22.2%
Pflueger Patriarch, 14.6%

Favorite Braided Line: SpiderWire Glow-Vis

SpiderWire Glow-Vis, 50.5%

Honorable Mention

PowerPro Zero Impact, 24.9%
Sufix 832 Advance Lead Core, 18.1%

Favorite Hook: Bass Pro Shops XPS Magna Superlock

Bass Pro Shops XPS Magna Superlock, 49.0%

Kyle Cortiana was one of many who likes the price and quality. 'œI use these hooks on all of my Texas Rigged baits and you can get a pack of 25 for $8!! They are sharp, strong, and you won'™t cry if you have it off to keep from getting on top of the fish.'

Honorable Mention

Mustad Grip-Pin Swim, 25.7%
VMC Drop Dead Weighted Hook, 13.9%

Favorite Topwater: Bass Pro Shops XPS Slim Dog

Bass Pro Shops XPS Slim Dog, 30.1%

Honorable Mention

Booyah Poppin'™ Pad Crasher, 20.6%
Evolve Nervous Walker Ghost, 15.7%

Favorite Large Outboard: Yamaha V MAX SHO 150

Yamaha V MAX SHO 150, 39.0%

'œQuiet, great hole shot, and fuel efficient,' according to Louie M.

Honorable Mention

Evinrude 150 HO, 35.8%
Honda BF250, 23.5%

Favorite Artificial Worm: YUM Mighty Worm

YUM Mighty Worm, 35.5%

Honorable Mention

Havoc Federale, 13.3%
ZMan FattyZ, 7.9%

Favorite Soft Jerkbait: Zoom Super Fluke

Zoom Super Fluke, 67.2%

Honorable Mention

Bass Pro Shops Shadee Shad, 24.1%
Havoc The Jerk, 8.8%

McPhee Reservoir

The reservoir has a maximum surface area of 4,470 acres and is located on the Dolores River in the San Juan National Forest north of Cortez, Colorado. The Lone Dome Recreation Area is below McPhee.


The lake has over 50 miles of shoreline and several long, narrow tree-lined canyons. It is one of the largest lakes in Colorado with a maximum water depth at the dam of 270 feet. 

Because McPhee is in a river canyon much of the best fishing is accessible only by boat. In the side canyons, wakeless boating zones have been established to allow still-water fishing.

Home to some king-sized smallmouth bass, fish under 15 inches in length must be released immediately.


For more information on Colorado's great bass-fishing opportunities, log onto cpw.state.co.us.

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