Tag Archives: trout fishing

Spring Fishing Tips: A Beginner’s Guide to Catching Trout

Theo fishing at coot pond.
Trout fishing at St. Vrain State Park. All photos by © Doug Skinner/CPW.

While most anglers are excited by the idyllic fly fishing scenes in “A River Runs Through It,” few of us learn our first lessons by fishing big rivers with a fly rod. For many of us, a love of angling is cultivated on ponds catching bluegills and bass, and approachable rivers and lakes catching trout – often stocked trout. Story and memory are built by the fish we’ve landed and more so by the ones that got away. We learned from family members and friends, mentors who knew that the secret to building a long and successful fishing career was rooted in a simple approach.

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The Angler’s Crystal Ball

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Josh Nehring shows a catfish from a recent survey. All photos by © Wayne Lewis/CPW.

Have you ever wished that you could see beneath the surface of a new fishing spot – just to get a quick glimpse – a small clue – of the variety and size of fish? Often, what lies beneath the surface of Colorado’s fishable waters would shock the average angler and, at times, even shocks CPW biologists. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is the lead agency responsible for fisheries management of public waters in the state of Colorado. And while fishing pressure, weather changes and a number of other factors can impact fishing locations from year to year, CPW aquatic biologists spend a great deal of time in the field making sure that they have their fingers on the pulse of the underwater world. Read more

Hands-On at the Hatchery

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Bellvue Watson Fish Hatchery.  All photos by © Doug Skinner.

When I was a kid, it felt as if every adult I encountered would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I still remember being puzzled and somewhat annoyed by the question. How is a 10-year old supposed to know what they want to be when they grow up? But now, I rarely hear anyone ask that question anymore. I suspect that the question has become less common as a result of a continually evolving job market. Heck, many of the jobs we hold today were not even thought of when we were children. And for millennials and generation Z, the pace of change only seems to be accelerating. Today, the question almost seems silly. Read more

2017 Fishing Guide Available Now!

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The 2017 Colorado Outdoors Fishing Guide is now available! With more that 9,000 miles of rivers and some 2000 lakes and reservoirs, Colorado is truly an angler’s paradise. Get the most out of your time on the water this year by purchasing the 2017 Colorado Outdoors Fishing Guide.

Learn techniques for catching mountain whitefish. Discover the monumental fly fishing opportunities of Fossil Ridge Wilderness Area. Read about catching South Park’s trophy northern pike and see a complete guide to fishing Denver metro waters. You’ll find all this and more in the 2017 Fishing Guide. Get your copy today
 
The 2017 Fishing Guide is a special edition of Colorado Outdoors magazine. You can receive it free with an annual subscription!

Browns Canyon’s Monumental Fishing Opportunity

Floating a scenic slice of the Arkansas River through Browns Canyon
Floating a scenic slice of the Arkansas River through Browns Canyon. Photo by © Scott Willoughby.

When it comes to their favorite places to wet a line, fishermen are pretty tight-lipped by nature. So it comes as no surprise that the one-year anniversary of the designation of Browns Canyon National Monument came and went last February with little fanfare among Colorado’s angling community.

Besides, nothing has really changed along the scenic slice of the Arkansas River that qualifies among the nation’s premier public trout fisheries. And that’s precisely the point.

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Driving to Heaven

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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

Woolly Bugger: Use This Fly to Catch More Fish

Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.
Photo by Jerry Neal/CPW.

Asking a fly fisherman to pick their favorite fly is a lot like asking a mother to pick her favorite child. It’s a question that’s nearly impossible to answer (although, I’m an only child but I’m still not convinced that I’m my mom’s favorite).

Most fly fishers, myself included, fill their fly boxes to the brim with hundreds of different flies or “patterns.” Each fly serves a unique purpose and is designed to imitate the various mayflies, caddisflies, midges, stoneflies, scuds and terrestrials that are common to Colorado’s waterways. And combining the “art” of casting a fly rod with the science of entomology (the study of insects) is what makes fly fishing so rewarding.

Yet, the endless selection of fly patterns and all the related technical jargon are also the primary reasons why fly fishing can be confusing and even a little intimidating for beginners. Therefore, in an effort to simplify things a bit, if I was going to pick just one fly to use in all of Colorado’s lakes and rivers, regardless of the time of year or fishing conditions, I’d pick the Woolly Bugger.

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Alabama Getaway

As I prepared myself to cast the latest and greatest in fishing lures, I realized that no other type of lure has caused me so much thought and contemplation before the initial cast. The rig I was about to cast (especially with bare hooks) was a fearsome looking beast.

And what is this magic lure?

The Alabama Rig.

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A five-arm umbrella rig. Photo by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW

“I designed it to simulate a school of small bait fish in a tight bait ball,” said Andy Poss, inventor of the original Alabama Rig, on his website. “You can fish a huge range of lures with our rig — grubs, swimbaits, jigs, worms, spinnerbaits, etc.” Read more

Fishing Close to Home: Officer’s Gulch

Those looking to fish for brook and rainbow trout within easy access of I-70 should check out the picturesque little lake at Officer’s Gulch. The lake’s crystal-clear waters are bordered by an easily hiked trail that winds along the banks and through the trees. Ample parking and its location right off Colorado’s main east-west thoroughfare make this a popular spot.

According to the Summit Historical Society, Officer’s Gulch is not designated in honor of law enforcement or the military, but in fact, is named after James Officer, an early day Ten Mile Canyon resident who mined the gulch.

Officer’s Gulch is located about midway between the towns of Frisco and Copper Mountain at Exit 198. Standard fishing regulations apply.