While visiting Grand county there are a few things I always remind people to bring with them. A pair of binoculars, we have lots of wildlife and its always safer to see them from afar. Lots of water, this altitude can make a person very sick if they get to dehydrated. Their fishing equipment.
We have a wide variety of fishing opportunities here in Grand county. High mountain lakes above tree line to the large reservoirs and the rivers that travel through them. The choices on how to fish these waters are as abundant as the waters them selves. Make sure to check regulations for the body of water or section of river you are fishing.
Rainbow trout and brown trout can be caught along the banks of almost every reservoir or river in the area. They are most active from first light to the time the sun hits the water then again in the evening from just before sundown to dark (throughout the night can be very good for you night owls). Fishing near the shore with a variety of baits and lures can be vary productive in the lakes. In the rivers the rainbows like to sit in a little bit faster water then the browns, they will eat the same flies and lures.
Brook trout reside in our smaller streams and higher mountain lakes and ponds. They are not known for their size but they are aggressive feeders. In the lakes a fly and bubble early and late in the day can be amazing for these fish. Do not worry so much about matching the hatch, just switch colors of the flies till you find out what they like. Small lures will works as well. In the evening wait for a fish to rise then cast directly at the rise. If your cast is quick and accurate that fish will come back and eat your offering. The small streams in the county can be full of these beautiful fish. Try sneaking up on the creeks to be successful, these fish are vary wary and will hide under anything they can if they sense danger.
Lake trout can grow to lengths over 40” and over 40 lbs in this county. During the summer months they are best caught from a boat or other floating craft. Minnow and fish looking baits top the list for these fish. Try trolling lures deep or jigging with soft plastic lures tipped with a small piece of sucker meat.
Northern Pike can be caught in a few lakes in the area. The largest swim in Williams Fork reservoir and can be seen swimming along the shorelines. Top water bass lures, crawdad imitations and lures that imitate other fish can all trigger strikes from these water wolves.
Kokanee Salmon live in the deeper water of our reservoirs and below their spillways. The reservoirs are generally best fished from a boat, however early summer when the water is still cool they can be caught from the banks. Using heavy small spoons (kastmasters, leech flutter spoons) with a bright color painted on them can illicit strikes early and late in the day. When fishing below the spillways try a small bright colored jig tipped with a wax worm, shrimp or white show peg corn under a bobber.
Here are a few ideas of places to go and how to fish them.
Willow Creek reservoir rainbows will be catchable most of the summer. Bait will work vary well, but mobility will catch more fish. Walk the banks in the morning and evenings with small spoons. Vary colors and retrieves. A simple retrieve with a few rod twitches and pauses should get bit. It the fish are not on the points make sure to fish the backs of the bays.
Monarch lake brookies bite vary well in the evening. A small black ant fished vary slowly behind a bubble will yield brookies. Try the inlet areas as well as the shady shallow areas as the sun goes behind the mountain. The creeks that run in and out of the lake are a great opportunity for fly fishermen. Just remember to sneak up on the river to not spook the fish.
There is a lot of public stretches of water on the Colorado river starting at Hot Sulpher Springs. Fishing small spinners and jigs tipped with Gulp minnows or small tubes can be vary productive. Fly fishermen should try to match the hatch. When fishing during the evening try swinging wet flies across the pools. If you see bats flying around in the late evening, put on larger wet flies. There will be a good hatch happening and fishing can be incredible.
The more adventurous people might try hiking to a higher lake for great fishing and seclusion. Gourd Lake above Monarch lake has some vary large Cutthroat trout in it. The hike is a difficult, we never did it in a day hike it’s a great are to spend a few days. To fish any high mountain lakes all the tackle we bring with us is small tube jigs with 1/16 oz lead heads a few small spoons and a few nymphs with a bubble.
Lake Granby is a very scenic lake with some great opportunities. Rainbows can be caught along most of the shorelines. Try spoons and flies with a bubble early and late in the day. Powerbait or worms on the bottom during the day. Brown trout can be caught casting minnow style baits around rocky points early, late or on cloudy, windy days. Lake trout will be moving deeper as the summer progresses but can be caught trolling spoons or crankbaits with wireline, snap weights or downriggers. Jigging tube jigs and spoons tipped with sucker meat can entice strikes as well.
Bernie Keefe has been a fishing guide in the area for over 25 years please check out www.fishingwithbernie.comfor more iformation.