With ice-off behind us, fishing South Park stillwaters is becoming more technical and unforgiving than the magical ice-off period. With that being said, there is still very productive fishing and great opportunities to hook a beefy lake residing trout at all three reservoirs in South Park through the end of May. Tactics at these reservoirs all include finding drop offs, ledges, shelves, and color lines. Fish have been cruising this type of structure in search of food and have been opportunistic with the right conditions. We were out on the water recently and the fishing was hot between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm with a variety of different imitations. Fish were feeding at sunrise but hatches and bug-life truly materialized around 9:00 am when the water started to warm up. Fish were lethargic during the early morning hours due to overnight freezing lows. Once the water temps warmed slightly, large hatches of chironomids in sizes 14-22 lined our waders. A hatch can instantly change conditions from slow to hectic and having your line in the water during this time is the most important way to capitalize. We were successful with double and triple nymph rigs consisting of chironomids, leeches, and scuds underneath an indicator. Stripping a double or triple leech rig over structure is also an effective way to pick up aggressive fish.
Antero is 99% full by Denver Water on 5/24/22
Spinney is 71% full by Aurora Water on 5/18/22
Eleven Mile is 104% full by Denver Water on 5/24/22
Recommended Flies: (Jumbo Juju 14-18), (Titan Tube Midge 14-20), (Frenchie 14-18), (Perdigon 14-18), (Mayer’s Mini Leech 12-14), (Mayer’s Jigged Leech 12-14), (Balanced leech 8-12), (Wooly Bugger 8-10), (Dorsey’s UV Scud 12-16), (Ray Charles 14-18), (Flashtail Egg 14-16), (Wacky worm 12-14), (Poison Tungsten 14-18), (Blood Midge 14-18), (Mercury Midge 14-18),
Antero, Spinney Mountain, and Eleven Mile are each 2,300, 2,520, and 3,405 surface acres large, respectively. Each reservoir has different unique features, but they all share the same ability to grow large trout. Antero is a shallow lake at a max of 20 ft that supports more bug life than Spinney and Eleven Mile. This means fish in Antero get big, and they get big fast. Antero contains a healthy population of browns, cutbows, cutthroats, suckers, and even a few tiger muskie. Spinney Mountain is a fairly large and deep lake at a max of 60 ft that has earned the title of “Gold Medal Water” due to its impressive numbers and size of trout. Spinney Mountain contains a very healthy population of cutbows and pike, but also has a few browns, cutthroat, and perch. Make note that Spinney is the only South Park Stillwater that is “Artificial Lure and Fly Only”. Bait fishing is prohibited at Spinney Mountain. Spinney Mountain is open to fish 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset. Eleven Mile is the biggest reservoir out of the three and harbors some of the biggest trout in Colorado due to its bug life and size. At a max depth of 109 ft, Eleven Mile hides giants. It contains world class browns, cutbows, pike, and a healthy population of rainbows, Snake River Cutthroat, kokanee salmon, carp, and perch. All three reservoirs have endless walk-wade and boating access. Check CPW regulations and updates for Boat Launch status.
The South Park stillwaters are a phenomenal place to land your dream trout. At times it may come easy to catch fish in South Park, but it also could be very challenging due to changing conditions and sustained wind gusts that this valley is accustomed to. South Park can also be dangerous due to its erratic weather, and it is best to prepared with food and warm clothes in the case of an imminent storm. In the summer, large thunderstorms can be spawned with no warning and can result in flash flooding and dangerous lightning. For fishing, It is best to come prepared with stiff tackle and stronger tippet to be able to handle these trout. A 6 Weight rod and 3X tippet is a preferred gear approach to combat wind and handle 20+in trout. During the spring, chironomids are the most common bug in South Park stillwaters. Around end of June and into July when water temps rise, opportunities arise to fool fish during the magnificent calibaetis and damsel hatches. During high summer, hoppers will entice large trout and even a hopper dropper tactic can be used. In the fall when the water temps cool again, chironomids become the food of choice again. Leeches and Scuds are always present and are great options.