Summit County Fishing Report: Strong runoff spells danger for river anglers |

Summit County Fishing Report: Strong runoff spells danger for river anglers

A smallmouth bass, the quarry at a free fishing tournament on Ridgway Reservoir from July 11-19.
Getty Images / Special to the Daily | iStockphoto

Runoff is strong and, other than tailwaters, rivers and streams are high, roily and dangerous places to fish, especially for waders. Stick with the lakes and tailwater fisheries for the next couple of weeks until the levels begin to drop.

With the excellent snowpack, runoff is quickly filling Granby Lake, which is murky in the inlet areas and has a lot of floating debris. Be careful when boating the lake. Nearby Shadow Mountain Reservoir is fishing well for trout, mostly stocked rainbows. However, a few browns are being caught, with some fish in the 20-inch class. Kastmaster-style lures and various spoons have been effective, as have worms.

South Park’s Antero Reservoir is turning on for the bait anglers. Spinney Mountain Reservoir remains popular for the float-tube crowd, especially fly-fishers. Get there at sunrise and you’ll see fewer anglers for a bit. There have been a lot of midges and chironomids coming off.

When there’s a ripple on the water, consider trying small streamers near the surface. Tarryall is full and off-colored due to the runoff. The creek is running high and full at this time. Jefferson Lake is finally ice free and fishing decent. Look for some good surface action early and late.

Dillon Reservoir is coming up fast. As a result there is a lot of debris on the water, especially around the inlet areas. The water is somewhat cloudy. Work the current areas in the lake and you have a good chance of picking up a few small kokanee and rainbows. Nearby Officers Gulch is fishing well for small brookies on flies and worms.

Downstream Green Mountain Reservoir is rising very quickly. With all the debris floating around the lake, be careful not to hit a log when boating. Fishing has been decent for most trout species, though most fish are under 16 inches. Still makes for a good day of fishing.

Wolford Mountain Reservoir is producing an occasional kokanee, but the water clarity is an issue for some anglers.

If you’re looking to make a run, head downstream to the west where both Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap have been fishing well for smallmouth and crappie. Don’t overlook spending a weekend on the Grand Mesa. While the fish are rarely huge, the action is almost always good on one of the many lakes up there.

Dave Coulson is the Colorado state editor for He contributes a weekly fishing report to the Explore Summit Weekender.

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