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7 Best Places to go Fishing in Colorado

If you’re an avid fisher heading to the Colorado waters, it’s time to nail down your fishing stops so you can have the most successful trip and enjoy the beauty of the state.

person in a fishing boat on a lake in colorado

There are tons of rivers and lakes throughout Colorado, but not all of them will be able to offer great fishing. This is when a bit of expertise comes in handy.

If you’ve never been or don’t know much about Colorado’s fishing waters, not to worry. We’re here to help.

Rely on our expert recommendations and incorporate stops to these top seven fishing lakes and reservoirs in Colorado, and you’ll enjoy a trip you won’t soon forget.

Top 7 Colorado Fishing Lakes

  1. Blue Mesa Reservoir
  2. Lake Granby
  3. Spinney Mountain Reservoir
  4. Chatfield Reservoir
  5. Eleven Mile Reservoir
  6. Horsetooth Reservoir
  7. Lake Pueblo

Blue Mesa Reservoir

The Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado’s largest body of water and is located in the Gunnison National Forest.

the blue mesa reservoir in colorado

At its large shoreline size of 96 miles and a depth of over 340 feet, the Blue Mesa Reservoir is a fisherman’s dream.

It also offers more than a whopping 9,180 acres of surface area to fish in.

The reservoir is best known for its brown and rainbow trout but also offers good fishing for Kokanee salmon, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass, so pack accordingly!

As far as bait goes when fishing on the Blue Mesa Reservoir, you’ll find the most luck if you use PowerBait, worms, or jigs.

Lake Granby

The Lake Granby Reservoir is a beautiful stop on your fishing trip in Colorado, straddling Summit County and Grand County near Boulder, CO.

lake granby in colorado

With over 26 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of nearly 400 feet, it’s Colorado’s third-largest lake and offers some great spots for fishermen to reel in their catches.

It was created by the construction of the Granby Dam in 1951 and is best known for its Kokanee salmon, brown trout, and rainbow trout.

Popular bait for fishing in this area includes small jigs tipped with a bit of worm, spoons, and spinners.

You may find the most success in the inlet areas, but trout have been going deeper as waters get warmer.

Spinney Mountain Reservoir

The Spinney Mountain Reservoir was created by the construction of the dam on the  South Platte River in 1961.

spinney mountain reservoir

It’s one of Colorado’s most popular fishing spots and is best known for its brown trout, rainbow trout, and largemouth bass.

The reservoir has a shoreline of nearly 16 miles and a maximum depth of 145 feet, and it covers about 2500 surface acres.

When fishing in this area, your best bait options include PowerBait, worms, and jigs. If you’re fishing in this area, you should plan to bring whatever supplies you’ll need for the day since the closest stores are several miles away.

Chatfield Reservoir

The Chatfield Reservoir is a great place for fishermen to reel in their catches and is on the list of Colorado’s most popular fishing spots.

the chatfield reservoir in colorado

This reservoir was created by the construction of the Chatfield Dam in 1953 and is best known for its bass, crappie, catfish, and walleye. 

The reservoir has a shoreline of nearly 26 miles and a maximum depth of 154 feet. If you’re looking to fish in the Chatfield Reservoir, your best bait options include live bait rigs, jigging spoons, and traditional baits.

One of the best parts about Chatfield Reserve is that you don’t have to go far outside of Denver to get access to some of the best fishing.

Chatfield Reservoir is located just a bit south of the city near Highlands Ranch. 

It’s also right next to the Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms if you want to add to your day of nature with some beautiful wildflowers and a trip to the butterfly house.

Eleven Mile Reservoir

The Eleven Mile Reservoir is located in Park County and was created by the construction of the dam on Eleven Mile Creek in 1968 (though the dam is now being considered for removal).

the eleven mile reservoir in colorado

It’s best known for its walleye, pike, and bass fishing and has a shoreline of over 24 miles and a maximum depth of nearly 109 feet. The reservoir covers an area of almost 3400 surface acres.

You’re most likely to catch Cutthroat x Rainbow trout hybrids, brown trout, snake river cutthroat trout, and kokanee salmon.

As far as bait goes when fishing the Eleven Mile Reservoir, you’ll have the most success with spinners, bait, and flies.

Try casting into the weed edges with slammers, stick baits, or large spinners if you’re looking for a pike.

Horsetooth Reservoir

The Horsetooth Reservoir is best known for its largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, and trout.

horsetooth reservoir in colorado

The reservoir is located in Larimer County and was created by the construction of the dam on Horsetooth Creek.

It has a shoreline of over 25 miles and a maximum depth of 200 feet. The reservoir covers an area of 1898 surface acres.

Use a variety of lures and baits such as cranks, spinners, jigs, plastic tubes, and worms to catch fish at the Horsetooth Reservoir.

Want to catch a smallmouth bass here? Use grub baits, jerk baits, rooster tail spinners, or crawfish cranks.

Lake Pueblo

Lake Pueblo is best known for its catfish, crappie, and walleye fishing. The reservoir is located in Pueblo County, just west of the town of Pueblo and a bit south of Colorado Springs. 

lake pueblo in colorado

Lake Pueblo is not a natural lake and was created by the construction of the dam on the Arkansas River.

It has a shoreline of over 60 miles, a maximum depth of nearly 135 feet, and a large surface area of over 4600 acres.

When fishing at Lake Pueblo, use larger baits like live bait rigs and trolling crankbaits to catch common fish here, such as walleye, smallmouth and largemouth bass, common carp, rainbow trout, white suckers, and gizzard shad.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to fish while in Colorado, any of these seven lakes will provide a great opportunity to catch some fish.

While we’ve put these in order of our recommendations, you may find that certain spots fit into your itinerary better than others.

Pick the spots that are the most convenient and attractive to you to plan your perfect Colorado fishing trip.

Do your research on what bait and lures work best in each lake before heading out, and don’t forget your sunscreen and a good pair of sunglasses!

Are you heading somewhere else to fish next? Check out our helpful articles to know where to find the best fish anywhere you go.

Rocco Smith

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