Southern Colorado Front Range FishingSouthern Colorado Front Range Fishing Fly fishing is a great way to get in touch with nature. Just the feeling of heading to a new creek is exciting, wondering what the day will bring. But to get the best out of the experience you need to try some of the stunning Colorado fishing hotspots. There’s no shortage of fishing opportunities in the Southern Colorado Front Range and locations stand out for their outstanding natural beauty and variety of fishing opportunities.
The Catamount Reservoirs are an 18-mile drive south from Woodland Park, off the Pikes Peak highway. Anglers can choose either the North Catamount reservoir which is good for Spring Mackinaw fishing or the South Catamount reservoir for fishing for rainbow trout. These reservoirs sport rainbow, cutthroat, mackinaw and brook trout with larger, holdover trout since fishing has been relatively sparse the past few years. The North Catamount has flies and lures only restrictions where the “South Cat” allows bait fishing with the same stock of Rainbow trout and Mackinaw. Since it is on the route to the summit of Pikes Peak, it’s advised to mention you are going fishing in order to avoid the full Pike’s Peak highway toll.
Deckers Region Trout Fishing, South Platte River
The first is the stretch of the South Platte River that flows near Deckers. This area of river just a short distance from the town is home to a vibrant population of fish including Rainbow and Brown Trout. Not only that, but the river offers a wide variety of shallow riffles, drop offs and rock gardens where the fish gather, providing a wide variety of options to test your skills on.
The river through Cheesman Canyon and the Deckers region has been consistently great the previous few weeks. Trout have been going in the riffles and out of the holes. Avoid the spawning redds, which are identified by the 18 inch hollowed-out spots with clean gravel. One of the most popular areas is just below Wig Wam until North Fork. Getting to this part of the river is easy as there is nearby access by car. However, make sure not to trespass into the private fishing areas which are clearly marked.
Eleven Mile Reservoir State Park, South Platte River
Eleven Mile Reservoir State park is 30 miles West of Woodland Park, an easy drive from Bristlecone Lodge. This popular but not overcrowded, secluded reservoir preserve has ample fishing, boating, & hiking trails. Trout spawn in late spring and CPW released over 15,000 trout into the reservoir so the chances for a trophy catch is pretty reasonable. Avoid stomping through trout spawning redds which are 18” wide divots where gravel has been cleared away. Pike fish are also available at this reservoir, although sparser than trout. The reservoir is open to boating 30 minutes prior to dawn and 30 minutes past sundown.
Manitou Park Lake
A periodic stocked lake, Manitou Lake is a part of U.S. Forest Service property with picnic tables and other amenities available. Entry fees apply. It’s a family favorite for walking, fishing, canoeing or kayaking. Family friendly park with nearby camp grounds, although the park closes at night. Manitou Lake park is close to Woodland Park and or a scenic drive from Colorado Springs.
Located 10 miles east of Bristlecone Lodge, in the Pike National Forest, this reservoir offers boating, fishing, hiking and mountain biking trails. The main recreation area opens in May, with boat ramp access May – Oct. Fishing pressure over the past few years has been light so fishing is good to excellent. Shallow water fishing for Rainbow and Mackinaw is very good. Limitations with fishing and access near the dam are in place so it’s recommended to check in. This popular recreation area can get crowded during the summer months.
Skaguay is located 33 miles south of Woodland Park on the Eastern side of the Lower Beaver State Park. The reservoir offers good rainbow trout, brown trout and has boasted the occasional large northern pike. With headwaters below Pike’s Peak, this recreation area offers fishing, backpacking and hiking. Easy access provides an excellent opportunity for beginner fly fishers with ample runs and pools as well as fishing with kids for Cutthroat trout.
Spinney Mountain Reservoir
Spinney Reservoir is located west of Eleven Mile, 41 miles from Bristlecone Lodge and boasts good fishing from shore as well as from boat. Trophy sized northern pike, rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout make this reservoir a very popular destination as well as the site for tournaments. This recreation area is known as the best Gold Medal fishing Colorado has to offer. Artificial fly and lure restrictions are enforced, and water levels can affect the availability of the boat ramps. Boat rental and fishing equipment are available at the 11 Mile Marina.
Florissant, Southern Colorado Front Range Fishing
Located 15 miles west of Woodland Park, fishing in Florissant is known for a different yet equally vibrant fly fishing experience, Florissant provides a deeper river environment. To be successful here, you may need to adjust your equipment slightly as the fish often congregate further below the surface when searching for food. This can make catching one quite challenging as they need to be coaxed out of these secluded areas to come closer to the surface.
However, no matter which location you choose, with some perseverance and patience your efforts will likely be rewarded. Then, once you have your catch of deliciously plump fish cooking gently on the grill, you will be looking forward to going back and doing it again.