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Fishing Report
Fishing Report

'Panning for Gold' Collecting Spawn from Colorado's Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout​

​Nestled in the rugged mountains of southwest Colorado lies a remote, privately owned ranch that shelters the pristine waters of Haypress Lake. Each June, Colorado Parks and Wildlife fishery biologists set up a spawn-take operation at Haypress to collect roe and milt from Rio Grande cutthroat trout.

Jackson Lake State Park Boating Season Ends Soon

Jackson Lake State Park is currently open for boating and many other recreational activities, however, the reservoir will close to boating on November 1. Beginning November 1, only hand-launched craft used to put out and pick up hunting decoys will be allowed. Inspections for aquatic nuisance species are still in effect until the reservoir closes to boating. 

Hours for the station are:

  • Wednesday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Please go to the visitor center for inspections on Monday and Tuesday. Vessels used for hunting after November 1 will need to be pre-inspected and have a seal attached.

​2014 Kokanee Giveaways

Fish hatcheries around the state will be giving away free kokanee salmon during the months of October and November. To receive the fish, a valid fishing license is needed. Because kokanee die when they spawn, the agency would rather see the fish be used than wasted. Call before traveling to the giveaway locations and confirm that fish will be available. If fish are available, giveaways will take place at the following locations:

  • Roaring Judy Give-Away 
    at the Hatchery north of Almont
    October 10, 17, 24, 31; November 7  
    Need to be in line by 9 am to receive fish. 
    For more information, call (970) 641-7070

  • Vallecito Reservoir Give-Away
    Vallecito Community Center, NW side of res., 3 pm 
    October 10, 17, 24, 31; November 7 
    For more information, call (970) 247-0855 

  • Williams Fork Reservoir Give-Away
    October 20, 23, 27, 30; November 3 
    If fish are available – the 2014 kokanee run is expected to be poor.
    For more information, call (970) 725-6200  

  • Granby at Shadow Mountain Give-Away
    November 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24 
    If fish are available – the 2014 kokanee run is expected to be poor.
    For more information, call (970) 725-6200 

  • Wolford Mountain Reservoir Give-Awa
    October 21, 28; November 4, 11
    For more information, call (970) 725-6200 ​

Fishing tip - It's Kokanee Time

You can feel it in the cool, crisp air; it's the beginning of fall. The trees and landscapes are beginning to change color, and so are the kokanee Salmon. Kokanee are land-locked Pacific sockeye salmon, although they are not native to Colorado, they are one of the states most sought after game fish. Fishing the inlets of lakes and reservoirs or graveled shoals are the most productive. Adult kokanee that are 3 to 5 years old will return to these areas to spawn. The females will build a nest and lay an average of 450 to 500 eggs.  As the spawn advances the kokanee begin to change color from brilliant silver, to red or crimson. The males will have a hooked jaw and their back will begin to develop a hump. Within a few weeks after spawning, both sexes will die.

Many anglers "Snag" for kokanee. Recommended sizes for snagging hooks are # 4/0 or # 5/0. A snagging hook is a treble hook that is weighted with "lead" around the main shank. A heavy action, one piece rod with a heavy duty reel and a minimum of 10 # line is recommended. Snagging for kokanee is done by casting the snagging hook and letting it settle to the bottom of the water. Once the snagging hook has settled, reel up the slack in the line so you can feel the weight of the hook. At this point either pull the rod sharply back (the same action as setting the hook) or to the side (like a golf swing) as far as possible. You must then wait for the hook to settle, and repeat the process. NOTE: Snagging is permitted for taking kokanee only on specific waters during times listed in "Waters with Special Fishing Regulations." Other species snagged must be returned to the water immediately.

Snagging is not the only way to fish for kokanee. It seems there is a general consensus that kokanee will not take bait during the spawn. This assumption is only partially correct. During the beginning of the spawn, and continuing thru October, kokanee will take an assortment of lures and Mini Gitzits (tube jigs). As kokanee near the end of the spawning cycle they lose their desire to feed, and are reluctant to take any baits. The setup may be slowly retrieved, or left to the motion of the water for movement. 

Fly Fishing Colorado - September - Kokanee Run

 

Fly fishing for Kokanee Salmon in the Dream Stream, South Platte River below Spinney Mountain Reservoir.

In addition to watching clips online, you can also purchase "Fly Fishing Colorado" in a DVD format. An innovative chapter menu allows the user to navigate quickly through the pages of a fly-fisher's journal for an entire year. The Fly Fishing Colorado DVD is available in our online store!

With spring here,​​ it's time to check out the April fly fishing video! ​Spinney Mountain State Wildlife Area is closed during the winter months. In April, it reopens and trout fisherman line up at the gates

​For more videos, check out the next video in the "Fly Fishing Colorado" series

Boat Inspection Update

Boat InspectionBoaters! Please remember to get your green seals before launching this spring, and always remember to have them applied upon leaving your favorite reservoirs.  Green seals and valid receipts together tell us where your boat has been, and make the entrance inspection easier and faster the next time you launch. View a list of open waters and inspection hours.

As with last year, boats with ballast tanks, inboards and inboard/outboard engines will need to get a green seal and receipt when exiting a reservoir or the boat will be decontaminated when entering a new water body, so be sure to ask for that seal and receipts every time!

2014 Update: Valid Seals and Receipts will be accepted this year in both Wyoming (brown seals) and New Mexico (yellow seals), and our inspectors here in Colorado will accept a valid receipt and seal from WY and NM this year.

No water, no mud, no plants, no mussels in between each and every use!​

San Luis Valley Reservoir Closed for Repairs

SOUTH FORK, Colo. – The reservoir at the Beaver Creek Reservoir State Wildlife Area has been drained to accommodate dam repairs and the area is now closed. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials expect that the reservoir will be open again and fish will be restocked early in 2015.

While Beaver Creek is closed, anglers can find plenty of good fishing at other reservoirs in the San Luis Valley, including: Million, Smith, Mountain Home, Road Canyon, Rio Grande, Big Meadows, and Alberta Park reservoirs, Tucker Ponds and Brown Lakes. Public fishing access on the Rio Grande is also available at the Coller, Del Norte and Creede state wildlife areas. To locate the above waters, use the Colorado Fishing Atlas.

CPW Fishing Videos

Releasing a Fish Safely

In order to maintain the quality of all fisheries, we rely on anglers to follow bag limits and to limit hooking mortality. There are several steps anglers can take when releasing a fish that helps ensure the fish survives being caught and therefore limiting their impact on the fishery. To learn the best way to release a fish, please watch the video below.

 

Fishing Atlas

Fishing AtlasThe Fishing Atlas provides a host of information, including driving directions, stocking details, and locations of the nearest license retailer. To view the Colorado Fishing Atlas, click here, and the atlas will open in a separate window. Once the atlas is open, you can zoom in or out, or click on the location to display detailed information. Feel free to play around with the options on the far left of the atlas for other types of information and displays. Any questions or feedback are greatly appreciated. Contact us at dnr_fish.reporter@state.co.us. Thanks, from the fishing report crew.