Craig Fishing should be good in Northwest Colorado this summer, according to one local fisherman.
Burt Clements, a member of the local Bass Masters Association, said one hot spot this year should be Stagecoach Reservoir in northwest Routt County.
The Division of Wildlife stocked the reservoir last October with trout, which is a good time of year, he said. During that time the predatory northern pike go dormant, allowing the new trout to thrive.
"Fishing ought to be good there this summer," he said. "People are going to catch some quality fish, and the next state record pike will likely come out of there."
Another hot spot will be Rio Blanco Lake, about 25 miles west of Meeker on Highway 64, Clements said.
As part of a native fish recovery program in the Yampa River in Northwest Colorado, more than 1,000 pike have been transferred from the river into the lake in the past two years.
Surface lures, spinner baits and big plastic worms should work well for pike fishing, he said.
"The bigger, the better," he said of the lures and bait that should be used to catch pike.
The Yampa River was good for fishing last year, Clements said, and should be again this year.
"The bass came way up past Craig all the way to Hayden last summer because of the drought," he said. "It will be as good, if not better, in the Yampa this year."
West on the Yampa River, toward Maybell, the bass fishing is usually good, he said.
Much of the land along the river in that area is private, but the neighborly folks in the Maybell area will often allow people to fish on their property as long as one asks, he said.
Going back the other direction, Clements said Steamboat Lake is a good spot that should be fished sooner than later.
"People want to get on Steamboat as quick as they can because that's when it's hot," he said.
Nick Kamzalow, owner of Outdoor Connections in Craig, said small mouth bass, northern pike and catfish should be good along the Yampa between South Beach and Craig.
Both fishermen also mentioned Elkhead Reservoir, a popular fishing hole for locals, about 10 miles east of Craig, which has crappie, trout, small mouth bass, catfish and northern pike.
For those who don't want to travel long distances to fish, there's always Loudy-Simpson Pond, just south of Craig on the outskirts of town.
And new this year there is a pond that was recently stocked next to the public safety center in Craig.
The Division of Wildlife released trout into the pond, which will be reserved for children 12-years-old and younger to fish.
A few of the fishing hot spots in Northwest Colorado include:
- Yampa River -- The section of the river between Empire Energy and Hayden is a haven for northern pike. Small-mouth bass are commonly caught between Craig and Maybell, and, from the Yampa Valley Golf Course to the railroad bridge in Craig, a wide variety of fish can be caught, including northern pike, small mouth bass and trout.
- Green River -- In the Browns Park area, large catfish, as well as brown and rainbow trout are prevalent.
- Elkhead Reservoir -- About 10 miles east of Craig, this reservoir is loaded with large northern pike and trout.
- Loudy-Simpson Park -- The pond right by the entrance to the park south of Craig is a great place for children and entire families to fish for trout.
- Freeman Reservoir -- Located in Routt National Forest about 20 miles north of Craig, Freeman Reservoir is a secluded fishing destination loaded with cutthroat trout.
- Public Safety Center Pond -- Stocked with trout by the Division of Wildlife in April, this pond in Craig is open to youth 12 and younger.