CDOW says trout will be active over the weekend
Memorial Day weekend signals the unofficial start of the summer outdoor-recreation season, and in Colorado, it just might be the most popular fishing weekend of the entire year.Spring has arrived. The school year is winding down. For many winter-weary Colorado fishermen, Memorial Day is both the first chance to get away for an extended weekend and the final holiday before the summertime wave of out-of-state visitors arrives.Whether a quick escape or a mini vacation, the upcoming holiday offers a mixed outlook for anglers. Potentially good fishing opportunities certainly will be available, but with cooler springtime weather patterns than in the past few years, not all fishing destinations will be in prime condition. Calling ahead for local updates will be especially important. Most major lakes and reservoirs are ice-free and trout are active. Some have mainly resident fish; others have been stocked with catchable-sized trout from the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s hatchery system. The “Sagebrush Lakes” of North Park and the complex of reservoirs around Granby are among the most recent to open up. Holiday weekend prospects in both areas are good, and Granby, Shadow Mountain, Willow Creek reservoirs and Grand Lake are open to normal boating. Williams Fork Reservoir is closed to motorboats as part of an effort to control the spread of invasive zebra mussels, but shoreline fishing for trout has been fairly good and northern pike are in the shallows.To the south, Elevenmile Reservoir has reopened to boating at the north-shore ramp but not the Witcher’s Cove facility. Early season fishing at Elevenmile and nearby Spinney Mountain Reservoir has been good, and should remain that way through the holiday. On the downside, DOW population sampling at Antero Reservoir revealed a 53 percent decline in the trout population since April 2007. The loss is attributed mainly to winter kill, but also to natural mortality, hooking mortality and angler harvest during the past year. Antero has reopened to belly boats, canoes and other nonmotorized craft, but remains closed to motorboats pending completion of a zebra mussel inspection plan. Blue Mesa Reservoir, home of the state-record mackinaw, has been ice-free for a couple of weeks, and offers fishing for brown trout close to shore, as well as for the lake trout. Additional variety might be found at Vallecito Reservoir in southwestern Colorado, where early season fishing for northern pike of trophy dimensions can be very good.Not all popular lakes are ice-free or accessible for the holiday, however. While the gate to Big Meadows Reservoir in southern Colorado is to be open by the weekend, Trappers Lake, west of Meeker, remains frozen and the access road has not been cleared beyond the Ripple Creek Lodge. Virtually all Alpine lakes still are locked away and trail-blocking snowdrifts are common across the high country.Many mountain creeks and beaver ponds are open and accessible, though snowdrifts and muddy conditions can hamper access in some locations. Many creeks also are high and off-color from melting snow and difficult to fish.Virtually all major free-flowing streams have been affected by the spring runoff. Though some might still be fishable, tailwaters are the best bet for holiday stream fishing.Memorial Day often is a prime time for warm-water fishing, but the season is running a bit late this year. Spurts of decent activity for crappie have been reported at a number of eastern Colorado waters, but the fishing still is erratic. For fishermen willing to travel for crappie, Navajo Reservoir in extreme southwestern Colorado might be the best possibility for the holiday weekend.Jackson Lake remains a likely spot for wipers, and fishing for catfish .has been coming around at Bonny Reservoir. Horsetooth Reservoir appears to be a good possibility for walleyes and bass.Recent local trout stockings:Copper Mountain Pond Echo Lake (SW of Idaho Springs)Nottingham Lake (Avon)Officers Gulch Pond (W of Frisco)Shadow Mountain Reservoir (S of Grand Lake)Tenmile Creek #1 (Frisco
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