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Sailing into summer

Nicole Formosa
summit daily news
Great Divide/Brad Odekirk
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Whether you want to find a secluded fishing hole, duck into its countless coves and bays or explore the wildlife on its islands, the Dillon Reservoir is the perfect playground for summer days in Summit County.

“What’s really interesting is people go out on the water and they’re really surprised at the different views they get,” Dillon Marina Manager Bob Evans said. “It’s the flattest area around.”

And with two marinas and a yacht club on its shores, there’s no shortage of outlets to find all the equipment you need.

Both the Dillon and Frisco marinas rent an assortment of canoes, solo and tandem kayaks and six to 12 person runabouts and pontoon boats.

Another option is renting a fishing boat.

The reservoir is stocked with rainbow and brown trout, Kokonee salmon and some Arctic char are rumored to be swimming around, although Evans says no one has ever caught one.

The serene surroundings create a quiet atmosphere for which every angler is looking.

“It’s an unusual place because with Dillon Reservoir there’s no commercial stuff around it,” Evans said. “All the land around the reservoir is owned by the (Denver) Water Board and they don’t want anything to inhibit the water. It’s one of the most natural and unspoiled reservoirs you can find out there.”

If you’re a water lover but don’t want to be at the helm of your own vessel, the Frisco Marina gives one-hour tours on the reservoir, where guides will point out some of the county’s prominent landmarks.

The sport of sailing is one of the reservoir’s main attractions, gleaning boaters from all over the world.

“It’s one of, if not the best, sailing lakes in the state,” Frisco Marina manager Phil Hofer said. “The wind is consistently there, but inconsistent as to where it comes from. The speed and direction are challenging and that’s one of the beauties of sailing on the reservoir.”

The Dillon Yacht Club is the nation’s highest yacht club at 9,017 feet and holds regattas almost every weekend of the summer.

The one you definitely don’t want to miss is the Dillon Open. The event brings about 115 boats to the water in 11 different racing classes.

If the races inspire you to hone your own nautical skills, sailboats of various sizes are available to rent at both marinas, although you must be certified or pass a knowledge exam before leaving the dock.

And if you don’t quite have your sea legs yet, both marinas offer sailing schools to break you in.

If rowing is your more your style, the Frisco Bay Rowing Center holds three sessions a week at the Frisco Marina beginning June 24 and ending September 5.

The $40 clinics are taught Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings from 7-10 a.m.

The reservoir’s situation between the east and west coasts, where rowing is extremely popular, makes it a prime location.

“If you look at our lake, it’s perfect for rowing. In the mornings it’s flat. It’s like skiing powder,” rowing center owner Bob Houssman said.

Because water-skiing and jet-skiing are not allowed on the reservoir, rowers don’t have to struggle against large wakes.

Locals and avid rowers can join the center’s club for $225 per season. The membership provides full use of the boats, all day, everyday as long as there’s daylight.

After a long, sun-soaked day on the water, grab a cocktail from the Tiki Bar at the Dillon or Frisco marinas and take a front row seat for the spectacular sunset framed by 13,000 foot peaks.


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