As a parent of a ten-year-old, my wife and I struggle to find a balance between our son’s interests in music, Dude Perfect videos and scheduled sports activities with our family’s interest in getting out into nature. The unscheduled outdoor adventures that were the cornerstone of my youth seem to be a casualty of the modern hustle and bustle. Right out of the gate, I feel like this is getting dangerously close to sounding like one of those “When I was a kid” stories, but things have really changed since I was a kid. Spontaneous pickup sports with a group of friends has been replaced by organized club soccer and team baseball, all with hectic practice schedules and weekend commitments. Even the physical landscape has changed. Along the Front Range, and many other areas of Colorado, once seemingly ubiquitous farm ponds and abundant fishing access appear to have been gobbled up by a rapidly growing housing market. Whether you have kids or not, you probably feel that some things are just a little different than they used to be. Read more
The biggest walleye of the day. All photos by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW
The author with his first-ever walleye.
With a big smile on my face, I posed with my first-ever walleye. For our group, it was the first fish of the day, and the first walleye I had ever seen in person — all pointy fins, sharp teeth and cataract eyes. If Disney made a movie about freshwater fish, a walleye would be cast as the quirky sidekick to the main villian (probably a pike). I was proud; if it had been a trout, it would have been a keeper. However, since it was just under 18 inches long, we had to release it. But, as it slipped back into the waters of Chatfield Reserevoir, I began to calculate how much per inch that walleye had cost. Read more
Most suburban ponds have good populations of small bluegills, sunfish and other warm-water species.
Although Colorado’s big lakes and reservoirs get most of the angling attention and accolades, small suburban lakes and ponds often boast great fishing and provide hours of close-to-home fun.
Conveniently located in neighborhood parks and greenbelts, these easy-to-access waters are great places to unwind after a long day of work or to simply find a little solitude without venturing too far off the beaten path.
They are also the perfect locations to take kids fishing. In fact, some of my earliest (and fondest) memories of fishing with my dad took place at ponds in the Lakewood, Golden and Wheat Ridge areas.
At a particular pond near my dad’s apartment home, I remember catching fish nearly every cast on my little Zebco rod/reel combo. As a 5-year-old boy, there was nothing more thrilling than seeing a bluegill or bass pull my red and white bobber under the surface. I also remember the fun of catching my own grasshoppers and worms to use as bait. In addition to providing an enjoyable father/son activity, it was these early experiences that played an important role in developing my lifelong passion for fishing and the outdoors. Read more
Harvey Shade poses with his state-record striped bass. Shade caught the 29-pound fish below John Martin Reservoir on May 6.
Harvey Shade has fished John Martin Reservoir for years. In that time, Shade has caught plenty of fish, but none measured up to the one he caught on May 6, 2017.
Shade, 64, who resides in Eads, now holds the state record for the biggest striped bass in Colorado: The fish tipped the scales at 29 pounds, 5 ounces and measured 39 inches long. The football-shaped bass also boasted an impressive 25.5-inch girth.
Shade’s striped bass, commonly known as a striper, bested the previous record by a whopping 13 pounds. The last record striper, caught in 2016 from Prewitt Reservoir, weighed 16 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 35 3/8 inches long. Read more
Article and Photos by Scott Willoughby
Spawning kokanee by © Scott Willoughby
In a state that pretty much has it all, the most glaring gap in Colorado’s vast menu of outdoor options becomes obvious at its borders. The ability to walk across state lines almost anywhere without getting your feet wet serves as evidence of a basic reality: We’re landlocked. High and dry.
For a large chunk of the fishing world, that could be considered a problem. There are plenty of fish in the sea, as they say, and the opportunity to chase a wide variety of them is what drives many an angler to wet a line. But in the network of rivers and lakes draining from the mountainous spine of the nation to oceans east and west, well, the species selection falls a bit short by comparison. Sure, we’ve got a respectable assortment of more than 40 types of cold-, cool- and warm-water fish species statewide in Colorado, but it seems like the grass can always get a little greener. Read more
Tristan and Colin Evans are all smiles after this impressive catch at Cherry Creek State Park.
Catching a trophy-sized walleye is quite the accomplishment for any fisherman. It’s even more impressive when the fisherman is a 4-year-old boy with a toy fishing rod.
Tristan Evans was fishing with his dad, Colin, at Cherry Creek State Park in June when he landed a fat, 28-inch walleye. Tristan caught the monster fish using a Shakespeare Spider-Man fishing pole—a rod that was nearly the same length as the walleye.
Sporting a matching Spider-Man life jacket, Tristan’s “Spidey-senses” must have been tingling when he picked out just the right lure from his dad’s tackle box. Read more
A fly-and-bubble angler fishes in Pearl Lake State Park.
It’s not often that someone hates the title of your story before you write it, but that is the case with this piece. Last fall, while fishing with a good buddy (who prefers to remain nameless) we were discussing the merits of the angling method we’d been using for the last few trout-fishing expeditions — fly and bubble. He really liked how far he could throw a fly when the bubble was filled more than halfway with water which got me thinking. “Throwing Bubbles — that’s what I’ll call my article,” I said.
My enthusiasm was met with much manly scorn. And he had a good point. Something that can, at times, be brutally effective shouldn’t be described so frivolously. But it’s my title, and I’m sticking with it.
Many people, like my buddy and I, can only afford so much equipment and devote only so much time to their recreational endeavors. Learning how to fly fish, and getting geared up to do so, is out of the question for many spin anglers. But when the fish are ignoring spoons and spinners, and hitting flies instead, then something must be done to level the playing field. Read more
Rainbow trout ready for the grill. All photos by Wayne D. Lewis/CPW.
I’ve long thought, and it’s highly unlikely that I am alone in the thought, that bananas are the perfect food. They come in easy-to-carry bundles, are individually wrapped, with the biodegradable wrapper giving an extremely accurate and up-to-date report of the condition of the nutritious goodness within. But for the omnivore, carnivore or pescavore, what food comes close to the banana’s perfection?
My vote is for trout.
And I’m talking fresh-caught trout, not the store-bought kind. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with store-bought fish, but when you catch them you get the satisfaction of knowing freshness, and going fishing and bringing trout to the net is far more enjoyable than the bumper-cart madness of the grocery store. In addition, a stringer of rainbows, browns, brookies and/or cutthroats is much more satisfying to carry than a bunch of bananas. Once caught, trout are almost as easy to clean for the grill as bananas are to peel. Bass, bluegill, crappie, etc. are all delicious, but filleting them (for me anyway) is a far more arduous task. For years, I’ve released every fish I caught back to the water, but some tasty meals over the last year or so have me thinking, “the heck with catch and release, fish are for eating.” Read more
A Colorado road trip can transport the driver to some remarkable fishing. All photos by Wayne D. Lewis/CPW.
“It was the best 17-hundred bucks I ever spent,” was my last response to the guy filling up his Subaru across the island at a Silverthorn gas station. We were wrapping up a quick chat about my 1991 Mazda Miata, which had gone something like this:
Subaru guy: “Nice car, do you like it?”
Me: “Yep, it’s a blast.”
SG: “Is it fast?”
Me: “Not really, but fun in the corners. And even legal speeds are much more fun with the top down.”
SG: “So more of a tourer? My dad had an old RX-7. It was a great touring car.”
Me: “Yeah, it’s like that. As they say, it’s better to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. It was the best 17-hundred bucks I ever spent.” Read more
Fall in Ouray County.
Colorado is famous for its breathtaking scenery and charming mountain towns. But there may be none more spectacular and beautiful than the town of Ouray.
Nestled in southwestern Colorado, Ouray is commonly referred to as the “Switzerland of America.” Rugged, snow-capped peaks and postcard-worthy scenery surround the quaint, mountain village, making it one of Colorado’s most popular destinations.
Although best known for its spectacular scenery, Ouray also plays host to exceptional fishing. From the deep canyon pools and gently braided runs of local rivers, to high country lakes and magnificent reservoirs, Ouray County offers anglers of all ages and ability levels a chance to participate in some of Colorado’s finest angling opportunities. Read more