Colorado is home to more than 2,000 lakes and reservoirs with more than 6,000 miles of fishable streams and rivers. Here, you will find 35 species of freshwater fish. With this, it does not come as a surprise that the Centennial State has a good reputation for fishing.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler, Colorado is full of surprises. Clueless about where to head? Read on and we’ll talk about some of the top destinations for fishing in Colorado.
15 Best Places for Colorado Fishing
Get your fishing rods and reels ready! Below are some of the top spots that are worth checking out when you are in Colorado.
If you are looking for the best rainbow trout fishing destinations in Colorado, it is hard to go wrong with the Gunnison River. The challenge is the trek going to the river, but it will be worth it as you can enjoy the scenic view of the Gunnison River Park. If you are taking the inner canyon route, however, you need to secure a backcountry permit.
Rio Grande River
Located in San Juan Mountains, Southwest Colorado, the Rio Grande River flows at more than 2,000 miles. This makes it the second-longest river in the United States. For anglers, June and July are the best months to visit. Brown trout has incredible numbers, most of them can be caught in the deeper parts of the river with slow-moving water.
Bring your best trout lures as the Animas River boasts of an abundant population of rainbow and brown trout. Go to the deeper part of the river where the big rocks are. Considered one of the last free-flowing rivers in Colorado, the easiest access is from Durango. There is also a good bike path along the edges of the river. The surrounding scenic landscape is a bonus!
South Platte River
If you are looking for the best spots for fly fishing for beginners, South Platte River is a good choice. The Dream Stream section of the river is known for its trophy catches. Because of its accessibility from Denver, however, prepare to brave the crowd, especially if you go during the sunny months.
Located near Vail Mountain, which is one of the most popular ski resorts in Colorado, Gore Creek may be small but promises productive fishing. Brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout are common in the river. This 18-mile long river is known for its clear waters, making it a great Colorado fishing destination even for beginners.
Accessible from two major highways, the Arkansas River is an easy-to-reach destination for fishing in Colorado. The river runs at a length of 140 miles covering the areas from Leadville to Salida. It is also considered as one of the most popular fly-fishing destinations in Colorado. The desert environment that surrounds the river is also one of the reasons why it has an abundant brown and rainbow trout population.
The state’s largest natural lake is another must-visit if you are looking for the best Colorado fishing spots. Located on the west side of the Rocky Mountain National Park, it is a gold-medal lake with a huge population of different trout species, including lake, brook, German, cut-throat, and rainbow trout. Aside from swimming, the Grand Lake is also a popular spot for boating.
With a reputation as a great spot for warm-water fishing, Lake Pueblo is home to largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, and common carp, among other species. Lake Pueblo is more than just a favorite for fishing in Colorado. It is also one of the best kayaking destinations in Colorado. Visitors can also enjoy jet skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, among other exciting outdoor activities.
Roaring Fork River
The Roaring Fork River is one of the three lakes in the state with the coveted Gold Medal Water recognition, making it another Colorado fishing spot you should not miss. It is claimed that it produces up to 60 pounds of trout in every acre. There are also 12 14-inch large trout per acre of the river. To make your trip more productive, before you go, take the time to read this brief guide on how to catch trout.
Frying Pan River
This is another Colorado fishing spot that you must visit, especially considering its gold medal status. The stretch of the Frying Pan River starts at Aspen and goes through the Ruedi Reservoir. The carved canyons along the edges of the river are sure to be scenic! While brown trout is the most dominant fish you will find in this river, it is also unsurprising that you will catch rainbow trout, cut-throat trout, and brookie.
This is the third-largest body of water in the state, which makes it another unmissable spot for Colorado fishing. It is also a great choice if you are looking for a less crowded spot compared to the other lakes mentioned in this guide. Hiking, boating, and camping are other popular activities you can enjoy in the area.
Cherry Creek Reservoir
The Cherry Creek Reservoir is a part of a 4,000-acre park with plenty of spaces for camping and other outdoor activities. The Rocky Mountains, which serves as the backdrop, makes its location stunning. Make sure to pack the best walleye lures and jigs as this is popular for the abundance of walleyes, as well as rainbow trout.
Also popular as one of the best places to SUP in Colorado, Evergreen Lake is stocked with plenty of rainbow trout. Here, you can use all legal live and artificial baits except for live minnows. Both motorized and non-motorized boats can also be used for fishing.
Vallecito is a Spanish word for Little Valley, which speaks exactly of this spectacular Colorado fishing destination. Known as one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the state, it is accessible at just about 18 miles from Durango. If you are looking for the best places to bring your ice fishing reels in the winter, Vallecito Lake is a great option. Whether it is fall or summer, there are also plenty of fishing opportunities.
Spinney Mountain Reservoir
Wrapping up our list of the best places for fishing in Colorado is a spot classified as Gold Medal Water. Spinney Mountain Reservoir is about 2,500 surface acres, making it great for shoreline fishing. Some of the most popular species that you can catch here include rainbow trout, yellow perch, and Northern pike.
Got questions about Colorado fishing? We’ll try to answer some of them in this section.
Q: Does Colorado have good fishing?
A: Yes, Colorado has good fishing, and it is available year-round. You will have endless options for fishing in Colorado since it has more than 2,000 lakes and reservoirs. Colorado also boasts 6,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams.
Q: Do you need a fishing license in Colorado?
A: Any person aged 16 and above needs a license to fish in Colorado. A one-day fishing license costs $13.75 for residents and $16.75 for non-residents. On the other hand, an annual fishing license is $44.75 for residents and $106.75 for non-residents.
Q: How do you fish in Colorado?
A: There are many ways to fish in Colorado depending on the specific location. You can fish using both natural and artificial lures. You can use baitcasting reels or bow fishing reels, among others. There are also places for shoreline fishing and kayak fishing.
Q: What kind of fishing is there in Colorado?
A: Fly fishing is one of the most popular types of fishing in Colorado. The state is considered one of the best fly fishing destinations in the world. Wade fishing is also a popular type of fishing in Colorado.
Q: What is the biggest fish in Colorado?
A: The biggest fish in Colorado is a rainbow trout caught in Morrow Point Reservoir, Gunnison Country. The rainbow trout has a length of 34 inches and weighs 19 pounds.
Q: What is the limit of fish you can catch in Colorado?
A: The daily bag limit for trout, arctic char, grayling, and salmon is 4. For walleye, there is a daily bag limit of 5. Meanwhile, for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass, there is an aggregate daily bag limit of 5. For white and striped bass, the daily aggerate bag limit is 10.
Q: Where can I fish for catfish in Colorado?
A: Lake Pueblo is one of the best fishing destinations in Colorado for catfish. They are common in the cooler and deeper parts of the water during the day.
Globo Surf Overview
Fishing in Colorado is sure to be a productive activity. Whether you are looking for a trophy catch or you just want to have a casual experience, your fishing coolers are sure to be full. Regardless if it is your first time to cast a reel or you are a pro angler, there are plenty of choices for Colorado fishing.