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Great Fishing in Colorado

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Guide to CO fishing.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

The state offers exceptional trout fishing in streams, rivers and lakes. Cold mountain streams and lakes are the perfect environment for trout. The state also offers walleye, catfish, crappie, striped bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, salmon and many species of panfish including bluegills. Many of these lakes offer ice fishing in winter. Visit each lake page for details on species residing within that lake. The Boat Rental Page lists options for fishing boat rentals at some of these lakes.

  • Adobe Creek Reservoir
  • Aurora Reservoir
  • Blue Mesa Reservoir Lake
  • Carter Lake
  • Chatfield Reservoir
  • Cherry Creek Reservoir
  • Crystal Creek Reservoir
  • Dillon Reservoir
  • Eleven Mile Reservoir
  • Grand Lake
  • Green Mountain Reservoir
  • Gross Reservoir
  • Horsetooth Reservoir
  • John Martin Reservoir
  • Lake Granby
  • Lake Isabel
  • Lake Pueblo
  • Lake San Cristobal
  • Lathrop State Park
  • McPhee Reservoir
  • Morrow Point Reservoir
  • Navajo Reservoir
  • North Sterling Reservoir
  • Rampart Reservoir
  • Ridgway Reservoir
  • Ruedi Reservoir
  • Shadow Mountain Lake
  • Sloan Reservoir
  • Spinney Mountain Reservoir
  • Stagecoach Reservoir
  • Standley Lake
  • Taylor Park Reservoir
  • Trinidad Lake
  • Twin Lakes Reservoir
  • Williams Fork Reservoir
  • Wolford Mtn Reservoir

Colorado is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts, offering a variety of species and diverse fishing environments. Whether you prefer warm water lakes, cold water rivers, or serene ponds, the state has something to offer for every angler. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake.

Warm water lakes in Colorado are teeming with a wide range of species. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, catfish, and panfish such as crappie and bluegill are commonly found in these lakes. Anglers can explore popular warm water lakes like Cherry Creek Reservoir, Chatfield Reservoir, and Pueblo Reservoir, where the thrill of bass fishing awaits. The warm water conditions during summer months provide an ideal habitat for these species to thrive.

Colorado's cold water lakes and reservoirs are a haven for trout fishing enthusiasts. Rainbow trout, brown trout, and cutthroat trout can be found in abundance in these waters. Anglers can test their skills in lakes such as Spinney Mountain Reservoir, Blue Mesa Reservoir, and Eleven Mile Reservoir, where trophy-sized trout await. These lakes are typically located at higher elevations and are fed by mountain streams and rivers, maintaining the cool water temperatures that trout thrive in.

For those seeking a peaceful fishing experience, Colorado's ponds offer tranquil settings and a chance to catch a variety of species. Many of these ponds are stocked with trout, bass, and panfish, providing a balanced fishery for anglers. Local parks and recreation areas often feature ponds that are easily accessible for fishing and suitable for family outings.

Colorado's rivers are a mecca for fly fishing enthusiasts, attracting anglers from around the world. The state's pristine rivers, such as the South Platte River, the Arkansas River, and the Gunnison River, are renowned for their trout populations. Anglers can test their fly fishing skills while casting for rainbow trout, brown trout, and cutthroat trout amidst stunning natural surroundings.

Whether you prefer the vastness of lakes, the serenity of ponds, or the rush of rivers, Colorado offers a diverse range of fishing environments. Each setting provides its own unique fishing experience and an opportunity to connect with nature. As always, anglers should familiarize themselves with the specific fishing regulations and obtain the necessary licenses to ensure responsible and sustainable fishing practices.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Colorado

Major Colorado Lakes & Species

Colorado major lakes and fish chart

Lake & Fish Chart

This chart shows the major angling destinations, cross referencing these waters with the major species to be found in each of the lakes or impoundments.

For a detailed list of primary fish species in CO, plus state fish records, see the list below.

Fishing lake sizes and locations in the state.

Adobe Creek Reservoir is a 3,000-acre lake located in the southeast corner of the state mid way between Haswell and Las Animas.

Aurora Reservoir is an 800 acre lake, located in the central part of the state just southeast of Denver at Aurora.

Blue Mesa Reservoir is a 10,000-acre impoundment located in the southwest corner of the state, 10 miles west of Gunnison.

Bonny Reservoir is a 2,000-acre lake located on the eastern border of the state due east of Denver.

Carter Lake is an 1,100-acre lake located in the north-central part of the state 5 miles southwest of Loveland.

Chambers Lake is a 250-acre lake in northern CO, 35 miles west of Fort Collins.

Chatfield Reservoir is a 1,500-acre lake located in the north-central part of the state on the southwestern outskirts of Denver.

Cherry Creek Reservoir is an 880-acre lake in the central part of the state, 10 miles south of Denver.

Crystal Creek Reservoir is an 140 acre lake in the central part of the state, 15 miles northwest of Colorado Springs.

Dillon Reservoir is a 3,500 acre body of water in the north-central portion of the state, 70 miles west of Denver, nearby Silverthorne.

Echo Canyon Reservoir is a 210-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, 3 miles south of Pagosa Springs.

Eleven Mile Reservoir is a 3,400-acre reservoir in the center of the state 10 miles west of Lake George.

Grand Lake is a 500-acre lake located in the north-central portion of the state, at the southwestern corner of Rocky Mountain National Park, at Grand Lake.

Green Mountain Reservoir is a 2,100 acre lake at an elevation above 7,900 feet. It is located approximately 70 miles northwest of Denver.

Gross Reservoir, located 5 miles southwest of Boulder, is a 440 surface acre lake at an elevation of 7,225 feet. Accessible via Flagstaff Road from Boulder.

Horsetooth Reservoir is a 1,900-acre lake in the far-north, central part of the state on the western outskirts of Fort Collins.

John Martin Reservoir is an 11,600-acre lake in southeastern CO, at Fort Lyon.

Lake Granby is a 7,200-acre lake located in the north-central portion of the state, at the southwestern corner of Rocky Mountain National Park, 5 miles from Granby.

Lake Isabel is a 40-acre trout lake at an elevation of 8,600 feet. The lake is located 35 miles southwest of Pueblo, and 18 miles northwest of Colorado City.

Lake Pueblo is a 4,000-acre lake in central CO, at Pueblo.

Lake San Cristobal, located 50 miles south-southwest of Gunnison, CO, is a 330 acre lake (the second largest natural lake in Colorado). It is 20 miles due east of Ouray, as the crow flies.

Lathrop State Park is 3 miles due west of the town of Walensburg, Colorado in the south-central portion of the state. Lake Meriam and Lake Oehm are located within the park.

McPhee Reservoir is a 4,500-acre lake located in the southwest corner of the state, due north of Delores.

Morrow Point Reservoir, located on the Gunnison River, at Cimarron, CO, is an 800 acre lake at an elevation of 7,160 feet.

Navajo Reservoir is a 15,000-acre lake located on the Colorado - New Mexico border mid way between Durango and Pagosa Springs.

North Delaney Lake is a 160-acre lake in north-central CO, 10 miles west of Walden.

North Sterling Reservoir is a 2,800-acre lake in the northeast corner of the state, 5 miles north of Sterling.

Quincy Reservoir is a 160-acre lake in the Denver area, 5 miles south of Aurora.

Rampart Reservoir is a 500 surface acre lake 4 miles east of Woodland Park, CO (as the crow flies). Access to the lake is via Rampart Range Road.

Ridgway Reservoir, located a dozen miles north of Ouray, CO, can exceed 1,000 surface acres when full.

Rifle Gap Reservoir is a 350-acre lake in the northwestern part of the state, 10 miles north of Rifle.

Ruedi Reservoir, a 1,200-acre lake, is 35 miles southeast of Glenwood Springs, at Meredith.

Shadow Mountain Lake is a 1,300-acre reservoir located in the north-central portion of the state southwest of Rocky Mountain National Park, at Granby.

Sloan Lake, located in the northwest section of Denver, is a 177 acre recreation lake within Sloan's Lake Park.

Spinney Mountain Reservoir is a 2,500-acre lake in the central part of the state, 7 miles east of Hartsel.

Stagecoach Reservoir is an 800-acre lake in the northwest section of Colorado, 20 miles south of Steamboat.

Standley Lake is a 1,000-acre lake in the north-central part of Colorado at Westminster, just northwest of Denver.

Taylor Park Reservoir is a 2,000 surface acre lake, located in central CO, 15 miles northeast of Gunnison.

Trinidad Lake is an 800-acre lake in the southeast part of the state, at the town of Trinidad.

Twin Lakes Reservoir (combined) is a 2,700-acre lake in central CO, 5 miles northwest of Granite.

Williams Fork Reservoir is a 1,600-acre lake located in the north-central portion of the state 2 miles southwest of Parshall.

Wolford Mountain Reservoir is a 1,550 acre lake in the Rocky Mountains, located in the northwest part of the state 30 miles west of Grandby.

Fish Species & State Records in Colorado


Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 24 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 11 lbs 6 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 10 lbs 14 oz

State Record: 6 lbs 11 oz

Spotted Bass

Spotted bass

World record: 9 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 4 lbs 7 7/8 oz


Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 43 lbs 6 oz

Flathead catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 30 lbs 9.6 oz

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 24 lbs 7.7 oz

White catfish

White catfish

World record: 22 lbs 0 oz

State Record: Unknown


Black Crappie

Black crappie

World record: 6 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 7.84 oz

White Crappie

White crappie

World record: 5 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 4 lbs 3.75 oz




World record: 25 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 18 lbs 13 oz



World record: 17 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 6 oz



World record: 15 lbs 6 oz

State Record: 10 lbs 14 oz




World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 5 oz

Green Sunfish

Green sunfish

World record: 2.2 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 5 oz

Hybrid Sunfish

Hybrid sunfish

World record: N/A

State Record: 1 lbs 8.5 oz

Redear Sunfish

Redear sunfish

World record: 5.4 lbs

State Record: 15.2 oz

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 1.25 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

State Record: 4 lbs 7 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 9 oz


Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 19 lbs 10 oz

Cutthroat Trout

Cutthroat trout

World record: 41 lbs 0 oz
Native Cutthroat
State Record: 16 lbs 0 oz

Cutthroat Trout

Cutthroat trout

World record: 41 lbs 0 oz
Snake River
State Record: 17 lbs 2.6 oz

Brook Trout

Brook trout

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 10 oz

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 30 lbs 8 oz

Lake Trout

Lake trout

World record: 72 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 50.35 lbs


Chinook Salmon

Chinook salmon

World record: 97 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 11 lbs 0 oz

Kokanee Salmon

Kokanee salmon

World record: 9 lbs 10 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 5 oz

Striped bass

Striped Bass


Inland world record: 64 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 29 lbs 5 oz

Hybrid Striped Bass

Hybrid Striper (Wiper)

World record: 27 lbs 5 oz

State Record: 26 lbs 15 oz

Other species

Northern Pike

Northern pike

World record: 55 lbs 1 oz

State Record: 30 lbs 11 oz

Tiger Muskie

Tiger muskie

World record: 51 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 40 lbs 2 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Many streams like this one at the bottom of Gunnison Canyon offer great fishing in the midst of fabulous views. Clean cold water from snow melt provides excellent habitat for trout.

State of CO Fishing Information

The Colorado Department of Natural Resources web site offers a wealth of information and regulations for fishing in Colorado.

Click here for a Colorado fishing license.

Click here for a list of marinas in the state.

Colorado Trout
Aaron Grondin

Visit to find information about fishing boats in Colorado and other boating information.

Vacation in Durango Colorado with plenty of fishing nearby.

Bass fishing book for sale


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