Colorado Statewide FISHING REPORT May 2018
**The following information is provided by CPW employees and local fishing enthusiasts. Keep in mind that fishing conditions change on a constant basis. A lot can change in a week from the time this fishing conditions report is produced.
Conditions Report - Statewide
Rivers and Creeks
The recent rains have increased flows on the streams throughout the state. This extra moisture will surely get the substrate stirred up which can flush some of the larger insects and worms into the flow and the trout will surely be feeding heavily. This means anglers must use a bit larger and flashier presentations when fishing these conditions. The spawn beds from the Rainbows may still be active, so be cautious of redds when wading along the rivers. Fish diets in the early spring 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. Spring 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 becoming more frequent in the spring, so keep an eye for surface activity and do not hesitate to switch to a dry fly presentation, especially during the warmest parts of the day. 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.
Colorado Fishing Atlas
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Conditions Report - Northeast Colorado
Eleven Mile State Park
As of 5/17/2018 the trout fishing continues to be very good with various lures both from shore and boats. Anglers are reporting many catches in the 3 to 6 pound range. Anglers are also reporting some success with Kokanee Salmon fishing deeper. There have also been a few pike reported in the shallower sections of the reservoir. The pike fishing is expected to get better later into the year.
Eleven Mile State Park
This 2,967 acre reservoir is located approximately 32 miles east of Greeley and 10 miles north of Wiggins. As of 5/2/2018 lake level is full. Surface water temperature is approximately 50 degrees. We are open to boating. Fishing has been fair to good for crappie, wiper and walleye. The carp are starting to become active in the shallows as they begin to spawn. For up-to-date fishing and ice conditions contact the park directly at 970-645-2551.
Aquatic Nuisance Species Inspection hours for the month of May are 6:00 am-10:00 pm daily. As of 5/14/2018 water temperatures are in the low 60’s fishing has been good for trout using traditional baits all over the lake. White Bass fishing has started to pick up with quite a few fish being caught. Anglers are starting to report success with crappie fishing as well. Bass fishing is getting better, jerkbaits for Smallmouth and lipless crankbaits or spinnerbaits for Largemouth. Reminder - No fishing from marina slips or docks (next to is okay but can't use them in any way. 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.
As of 5/18/2018 due to recent rain flows have increased to 516 CFS at Golden with visibility beginning to be affected by increasing flows. Fishing has been fair for browns, rainbows, and cutthroats using Stimulators, Griffith’s Gnat, Midges, Pheasant Tails, and Prince Nymphs in black or dark colors. As we approach summer dry flies have begun to produce fish, Blue Wing Olive patterns have been the most productive.
As of 5/16/2018, fishing is good for all species. As the spring progresses to summer anglers are reporting more success with the crappie as well as walleye. Carp are also very active as the spawn begins to progress. The Reservoir is OPEN to BOATING. The Inlet is ON and the Outlet is OFF.
As of 5/17/2018 the Inlet Bay and South Bay ramps are open to boating 6:00 am- 10:00 pm seven days a week. With water temperatures above 50 degrees fishing for walleyes and smallmouth bass has been getting better, expect to find the smallmouth along rock faces with jerk baits being a good bait. Anglers have reported catching both walleye and smallmouth using the same presentations. Fishing from shore can also be successful from the many rocky points along the reservoir.
Spinney Mountain Reservoir
As of 5/17/2018, water temperatures are slowly rising and the fishing is continuing to pick up. Reports from anglers are that the pike are becoming very active with many nice fish being caught. Fishing from shore has also been good for fly fishers targeting the large trout this reservoir is known for. Fly fisherman have had success using scud flies and other fisherman have been successful using casting spoons.
Spinney Mountain State Park
Saint Vrain State Park
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.
Barr Lake State Park
As of 5/14/2018 water temps continue to rise and the water level remains steady. Walleye have been steady, and the trout are continuing to bite from shore. Wipers are starting to become more active as well. Carp are still congregating in the shallows, making them easy targets! Please remember fishing is not allowed in the canals surrounding the lake.
Bear Creek Reservoir
As of 5/14/2018 water temps continue to rise and the water level remains steady. Fishing for smallmouth bass has been good along the dam. Fishing for trout is good all throughout the lake using PowerBait and nightcrawlers. There have been few reports of saugeye being caught. Reminder, this is a city of Lakewood Park, a state parks pass is not valid at this park.
Bear Creek Reservoir
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Conditions Report - Southeast Colorado
May 16th - Upper River: Hayden Meadows is seeing the effects of early season runoff entering the stream, as the limited low/mid-elevation snow begins to melt in a daily cycle. With slightly cooler temperatures the past few days, clarity has imporved immensely on the upper river, and Hayden Meadows looks really good in the afternoon. Below the confluence with Lake Creek, the river picks up about 650 cfs from the reservoir outflow (clear water!) which helps to stabilize clarity through Granite a little, but as flows down the main stem continue to rise, scouring along the edges will keep the river off-color in the northern region. From now on, focus with larger, dark fly patterns along the edges and thoroughly probe the slower water where fish will hold to find relief from the increasing flows. Think streamers and stoneflies! May 16th- Middle River: The middle basin is stained due to an increase in flows from releases out of Twin Lakes and early low/mid-elevation snow melting into some of our tributaries (Chalk and Cottonwood, specifically). Despite the discoloration, the edges and pocket water maintain about 1-2' of visibility, and Chalk Creek is fairly clear this morning. Fisherman's Bridge had about 2.5' of visibility along the edges this morning. Fish are moving towards the edges and pockets to find relief from the flows, and will look to intercept both migrating and dislodged food in the soft water in the shallows. Caddis larva and pupa in the morning and mid-day are productive trailing behind a dark stonefly nymph. Dark streamers will also move the more aggressive fish, as brown trout fry are now on the menu. May 16th - Below Salida: Flows today are nearly 1,600 cfs at Wellsville, and we're back to about 1' visibility along the edges. The increases in outflow from Twin Lakes the past two weeks have scoured the edges of the river with each adjustment in flow, and now we are seeing effects of some snowmelt on the South Arkansas and other tributaries to add to the mix. The river towards Buena Vista is in better shape today, with maybe 2-3' of visibility. The upper river from Buena Vista to Leadville has your best clarity, typically about 2-3' visibility in the afternoons. If you're fishing around Salida, don't step where you cannot see the riverbed beneath you, and focus on thoroughly working the soft/quiet edge water with dark patterns like streamers and stonefly nymphs. Fish will still feed if you can find them! Today's snowmelt on streams like the South Arkansas, Chalk, and Cottonwoon is coming from some of the remaining low elevation snow, which is extremely vulnerable to these warm, sunny days this early in the spring. As we burn through some of this snow this week, day by day is a roll of the dice to understand where the best opportunities will be. In general, we'll be recommending fishermen look further to the north to the river in the middle and upper basins to get above some of the tributaries that are adding to the discoloration.
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
The lake is at 1010 surface acres with a surface elevation of 6205.79 feet. Shore anglers are catching trout on homemade dough bait and PowerBait (green color) all along south shore and Reilly Canyon. Some trout have also been caught using smaller spoons or in-line spinners. As of 5/15/2018 anglers have started to report some success catching walleye on various presentations including crankbaits. Boating is open for the season. Please be advised that all boats must be inspected prior to launching.
As of 5/14/2018 Things are heating up on the big desert reservoir. Surface temperature is around 55-60 degrees at various locations on the lake. Walleye are all the talk at this time of year. Fishermen are having success using a variety of methods. Jerkbaits and crankbaits will yield success, as well as jigs. Bass are also starting to show their faces after their winter slumber. Some bass are being caught on jerkbaits and crankbaits as well as plastics. Both boat ramps are open at this time. Summer hours are in effect, ramps open at 5 AM and close at 11 PM.
As of 5/15/2018 anglers have reported success with smallmouth bass recently. Anglers have reported some success catching catfish using worms. The surface temperature of Horseshoe Lake is about 50 degrees. 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.
John Martin Reservoir
John Martin Reservoir offers many types of warm-water fish. As of 5/16/2018 now that we are in the prime fishing time of the year for this reservoir fishing has been good for crappie, saugeye and wiper. Anglers from all over the country come to John Martin Reservoir mid-summer to fish for bass and wiper. Late-night anglers will find channel catfish and walleye all summer long. Bluegill and drum are found throughout the seasons as well. Fall usually brings another run of crappie and wiper.
John Martin Reservoir State Park
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Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado
Delaney Butte Lakes
As of 5/15/2018 The Delaney’s have been fishing well with many active fish and anglers reporting success. South Delaney reporting sizable rainbows and North Delaney reporting great action on the browns. Anglers are reporting success on small in-line spinners and flies.
Delaney Butte Lakes SWA
Highline Lake/Mack Mesa Lake
Highline Lake was stocked with rainbow trout in early February as well as early and mid-March so fishing should be good. 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
Harvey Gap Reservoir
As of 5/13/2018, perch of all sizes along with some pike and trout are reported being caught. Anglers are reporting that worms are working well for the perch and trout with the pike being caught on lures. 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 email@example.com. Anglers may contact Harvey Gap/Rifle Gap State Park, Phone: 970-625-1607 for updates on fishing conditions.
Harvey Gap Reservoir
Rifle Gap Reservoir
As of 5/2/2018 Pike and trout are being caught throughout the lake. A few bass and walleye are also being caught near the dam. 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
As of 5/13/2018, shore fishing is excellent at this time. PowerBait and spinners have been reported as the most successful bait at this time. The Island boat ramp is open. Don't forget to stop at the entrance and have your boat inspected prior to launching. The ANS inspection station is open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. 7 days a week.
James M. Robb
As of 5/13/2018 fishing has been good using any kind of bait or flies. All lakes were stocked at the beginning of April.
James M. Robb
As of 5/15/2018 fishing is still active here at Lake John. Sizes are varying a lot though, some anglers only reporting 10-12 inch fish and others reporting 19-21 inch fish regularly. From the pictures you can see the variance. Nightcrawlers, garlic PowerBait, Kastmasters and bait shrimp are doing well.
As of 5/8/2018 fishing at Elkhead is slow currently with anglers reporting catching bass and pike, things will pick-up as the water clears up. Keep in mind at the NORTH EAST ACCESS Pre inspection is required for all non-exempt hand launched vessels. You are required to have a seal and receipt to launch. Exempt vessels are: Kayaks, Canoes, Rafts, Belly Boats, Windsurfers (paddle boards), Sailboards, foldable plastic boats, float tubes and inner tubes.
Steamboat Lake State Park
As of 5/1/2018 creeks are open and flowing but water temperatures are still cold. The ice has pulled back from the shoreline.
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Conditions Report - Metro Denver Area
This 762-acre impoundment is located off of E. Quincy Avenue, two miles east of E-470. As of 5/17/2018 Water temp is 55 degrees. Trout fishing from shore has started to pick up. Reports of trout being caught using PowerBait and crawlers from the dam and open areas along the shoreline. Walleye action from shore is slow. Some reports from boaters catching walleye using jigs tipped with artificial baits and jerkbaits. A few reports of smallmouth bass being caught using jigs. Restricted to electric motors only. For more information call 303-326-8425. Park hours May 5:30am-9:00pm.
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. As of 5/17/2018 walleye fishing is continuing to be good as the fish are starting to be more concentrated in schools on the shallow structures of the lake. Fishing for trout has been productive both from shore or boat using many different techniques.
Cherry Creek Reservoir
As of 5/17/2018 bass fishing is good as the fish move up shallow and are actively feeding in preparation for the spawn. Reports of bass being seen in shallow water. Reports from boaters and shore anglers using jigs, jerk baits and crawdad soft plastics fished slowly. Trout fishing is fair to good using spoons and spinners and flies. Fly fishermen have been reporting success in the evening. Park Hours for May 5:30am-9:00pm. 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.