Best Fishing Spots Near Denver (Front Range, Loveland, etc.)

Fishing is a great way to spend time outdoors, and you don’t have to be in the mountains to do it. Fishing is a great way to spend time outdoors, and you don’t have to be in the mountains to do it.

We all love a good fishing story, but fishing is more than just a pastime. It provides a sense of freedom that few other activities can match—no matter what your age, gender, or location. And the good news is that fishing is no longer limited to big lakes, which means you can get access to some excellent fishing spots right in your own backyard.

You know that feeling you get when you get up in the morning and you look out the window and see that it’s going to be a beautiful day? The one you told yourself last night that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy because it was raining and your plans were to leave as soon as possible? Lucky for you, that weather forecast was wrong and the sun is shining, so you can leave as soon as you want. Maybe you’ll even get out and fish.

Autumn colors at the headwaters of the South Platte River in Eleven Mile Canyon, Colorado. Fishing in Colorado is often called heaven on earth. There are 21 wildlife species along the frontal ridge, with a wide variety of habitats. This article is about the Colorado Front Range and fishing opportunities within a 4 hour drive of Denver or Colorado Springs. Colorado is famous for its trout fishing. Green salmon are a state fish, but catfish, panfish and other trout species are found in the many streams, lakes and rivers that populate the state on the east side of the Continental Divide. You can catch American eel or excellent trout fishing in the Platte River basin. Popular introduced fish species include walleye, sauger, northern pike, tiger muskellunge, and large and small perch. Cook salmon, steelhead, lake trout and brook trout are also popular introduced fish, as is the adder, a hybrid of white and striped bass. The main question is: Where can you find these fish, and what is the best place to catch them?

guides and devices around Denver

Choose a guide service near Denver #2: Brad Petersen Outdoors (Loveland)

Photo courtesy of Brad Petersen Outdoors and FishingBooker. word-image-5740 If you want to fish for bleak, bass, catfish, trout and panfish, Lake Boyd and Jackson Lake near Loveland are the best choices for you. Look for this fishing guide service led by Captain Brad Peterson, who has over 30 years of professional fishing experience. To view this listing on and read verified reviews, click here for more information. Through this portal you can talk to the captain and book a day on the water at the best possible price.

Choose a guide service near Denver #2: NoCo Fishing Outfitters (Fort Collins)

Image provided by NoCo Fishing Outfitters and FishingBooker. word-image-5741 Join Captain Jed for a day on his boat on the famous Cache la Poudre River hunting for rainbow and brown trout. He has over 35 years of experience in the business and is sure to give you great fishing experiences and enhance your day. To view this listing on and read verified reviews, click here for more information. Through this portal you can talk to the captain and book a day on the water at the best possible price.

Choose a guide service near Denver #3: All Pro Outdoors (Front Range)

If you are looking for incredible offshore fishing for pike, big trout, walleye and smallmouth bass, check out this service run by Captain Dennis Hunter. You will have a great time on the water if you book your tickets with this guide. All fishing supplies and bait are provided. You should spend the day with Captain Dennis. Spinney Mountain and 11 Mile: Hunt for large rainbow and brown trout as well as aggressive pike. Click here to see this ad on FishingBooker. Chatfield Reservoir (near Loveland): Fishing for big zander and small perch. Click here to see this ad on FishingBooker.

The Front Range has two rivers with thousands of miles of smaller tributaries. The Arkansas and South Platte Rivers drain into the Mississippi River, offering anglers the incredible variety of fish that North America’s largest river system has to offer. Between the South Platte River to the north and the Arkansas River to the south are thousands of lakes, ponds and reservoirs. The best catches are observed in the reservoirs and in some accessible parts of both rivers. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission makes finding the best fishing spots a little easier than in other states. They have developed a fishing standard called Gold Medal Water. To meet this standard, a lake, reservoir, stream, or portion of a river must produce an average of 60 pounds of trout at least 12 inches long per acre of surface water. The state has more than 9,000 miles of fishable water, but only three lakes and 322 miles of total surface water meet this standard. The standard applies only to trout, not other species.

Arkansas River

Many anglers consider it the best river in the state. The 204 miles of the Arkansas River, from the town of Parkdale near the King’s Gorge Bridge to Fork Lake south of the former mining town of Leadville, offer exceptional fishing opportunities. This great fishing experience comes with a big warning. Regulations on this part of the river can be restrictive. Each access point along the 204 miles of the river has rules that vary from district to district. There is a general rule throughout the Gold Medal area – lures only. Only flies and lures are allowed, and in some areas there are even rules about what kind of lures are allowed. Most of the river is fished on a catch and release basis only. It may seem like there are too many rules to follow, but the quality of the fishing is worth all those extra steps. Message: It is worth noting that this river is widely regarded as one of the best rivers in the country for rafting. This is a great option if you want to try out this amazing adventure sport. This can create additional difficulties if you are trying to fish around passing rafts.

North Sea Delany

This upland lake, located in the Butts State Wildlife Area, is one of two lakes designated as God’s Medal Lakes in the Front Range. These waters are known for their large rainbow and brown trout, as well as an octopus-rainbow hybrid commonly known as catbow. Fishing from a boat is a great way to catch trout, but fishing from the shore can also be excellent. From June to mid-September, anglers close to shore can successfully fish with mullet, juggernaut and callibaetis flies. The abundance of summer insects produces large, fat trout that often weigh more than 10 pounds. With the arrival of fall, anglers must switch from surface flies to floating egg sac flies. The brook trout is particularly active and feeding in anticipation of the coming winter months.  Other baits that have proven effective are red, brown or olive scales, dragonfly larvae and baby crabs. The lake can be very windy throughout the year, with winds generally coming from the west. If you fish from the west bank, you can take advantage of the wind. The wind can create lines of mud under the water, a favorite spot for trout because large insects are carried by the mud. As with most mountain lakes, early morning and late evening fishing is best.  Some fishermen try their luck from the boat for the rest of the day.

North Platte River

The North Platte is a major tributary of the South Platte when the rivers meet in Wyoming. This stretch of river, which runs from the border of the Routt National Forest to the state border with Wyoming, is one of the most remote areas in the state, with only five miles receiving the gold medal. If you are looking for solitude and quiet fishing, this is the place for you. This section of the river is easily accessible, but the trail gets steeper and more difficult as you descend.  The best way to fish is to wade through the river, even during peak season, from late spring to early fall. The choice of rod is the secret of all fly fishermen. Elk Wing Caddis, Bead Head Prince, Wooly Bugger work best, as do lead heads, black and silver rubber jerkbaits. There is a limit of two trout to catch in this section of the river. The North Platte River is also designated as a wild trout reserve. All hatchery-reared trout (14 to 20 inches) should be released immediately.

South Platte – three sections

Above Mount Spinney Early settlers described the Platte River as too thick to drink but too thin to plow. Despite frequent strong currents that make the water muddy in late spring and early summer, this is a pristine fishing area with 37 gold medal winning miles on three different sections of the river. Some of it fills the Spinney Mountain Reservoir, while the water 20 miles upstream of the reservoir is considered gold medal quality water. This area offers spectacular scenery, but the trout fishing is even more impressive.  Native porpoises, rainbows and minnows can catch just about anything in season, making it an attractive spot for both experienced and inexperienced fly fishermen. The popular caddis fly works well. Midges, egg sacs, San Juan worms, various caddis flies made from elk, deer and mountain goat hair work well. Pay close attention to established fishing limits, as some areas allow only catch and release, while others allow two trout over 16 inches per day. This area, along with two other gold medal sites in the South Platte, are considered by many anglers to be the best fly fishing spots in Colorado. Since the end of the 19th century. In the twentieth century, the South Platte was a destination for serious fly fishermen. Below Spinney Mountain This short four-mile stretch of the South Platte River, known as Dream Creek, begins just south of Spinney Mountain Reservoir and extends to Eleven Miles Reservoir. Many anglers consider this small stretch of the South Platte River to be one of the best trout areas in Colorado, if not the entire United States. As in much of the South Platte, the caddis fly is king for rainbow, brown, speckled and mountain trout. Deckers This 13-mile stretch of river begins north of Deckers and runs through the western slopes of the Front Range to South Park.  The difference between this location and the other two sections of the 37-mile Gold Medal Reservoir is the size of the trout. Large trout live here in large numbers, making this place very popular. The flies that work here are the same as in the other parts of the South Platte. The natural beauty of the Colorado landscape. South Platte River word-image-5742

Mount Spinney Reservoir

The easiest way for a lake to achieve gold medal status is to nestle between two sections of a gold medal river. Gold Medal sections of the South Platte River are located at the entrance and exit of Spinney Mountain Reservoir. Trout fishing is just as good, although the style of fishing is different from that of the flowing waters above and below the reservoir. Flies, soft plastic minnows mounted on lead jigs and bright reflective spoons attract trout on sunny days. In addition, this body of water is home to northern pike, walleye, perch and crappie. There have even been a few tiger muskrats reported. A paradise for fishermen, where you can catch all kinds of fish. You can fish from the shore or from a boat with the same success. Distance to Denver: 2 hours

Steamboat Lake

More than 1,000 acres of surface water lure anglers to Colorado’s newest Gold Medal Lake. The fishing is described as excellent for trout of all species. Steamboat Lake is home to one of the largest populations of native serpentines in the state. The remote location, about four hours from downtown Denver, promotes seclusion and privacy. The mountain background is an added bonus. Anglers often wade along the shoreline or use float tubes to fish for surface flies. Cadiphysms work just as well as woolly bugs. Large rainbow trout and some of the largest pike trout in Colorado’s Snake River await the avid angler. Anglers also catch big pike here. This is a Colorado State Park, so the rules and fees that apply to camping or day use in Colorado State Parks apply here. Distance to Denver: 2 hours

Carter Lake

Don’t be fooled by its proximity to the Denver metroplex, this lake is a great place to fish from the shore or from a boat. The lake rarely freezes over in the winter, making it a unique fishing spot during the cold winter months when many lakes and reservoirs freeze over. Trout fishing is good: Rainbow trout, brown trout and native cutthroat trout, and playa trout (a cross between lake trout and brook trout). Schools of walleye, sunfish and yellow perch are also abundant year round. Trout are a species that are abundant in three seasons. The water in Carter Lake doesn’t freeze often, but the temperature sometimes drops below 40 degrees. At these low temperatures the salmon is in a kind of hibernation, but it wakes up with a voracious appetite when the water temperature rises above 60 degrees. The ability to fish from the shore in the lake in December and January makes it a popular destination. Worms and night crawlers work well with bottom jigs, crankbaits and worm harnesses when trolling from a boat or pulling in slowly from shore to catch walleyes. Flies, especially caddis flies in season, work very well for all species of trout. Any lure for bass fishing works well, especially jerkbaits and drop-shots. Distance to Denver: 1 hour

Cherry Creek Reservoir

Out of sight, this beautiful lake lies in the heart of the Denver metropolitan area. Don’t be fooled by the traffic and bustle of the city around Cherry Creek State Park: This 880 hectare reservoir is a paradise for many species of fish. Walleye, perch, sunfish, black crappie, largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, as well as rainbow trout, brown trout, mountain trout, hybrid trout, snakehead and slakehead – there are many legal and illegal fish in this lake. Populations of northern pike and tiger pike have been reported. Cherry Creek Reservoir’s location and extensive shoreline allows anglers to land fish caught elsewhere without a permit. Bait, flies and worms are all available to the enterprising urban angler on this water in the shadow of the Denver skyline. Distance to Denver: 30 minutes

Chatfield Reservoir

Chatfield Reservoir, located 25 miles south of Interstate 25 from downtown Denver, is one of the most diverse prairie lakes in all of Colorado. An abundance of species, including the four trout species, await the angler from the boat. There are a few places to fish from the shore, but most of the reservoir’s shoreline is privately owned, and most of the shoreline around the 1,500-acre body of water consists of lodges and vacation homes. Bluefish, sunfish, crappie, several catfish species, small and large bass, and probably the best whippet population in the state await the discerning angler. Tiger muskellunge and northern pike are new and growing rapidly. Flies, lures, worms, minnows, powerbaits and even cheese are attracting fish to this body of water. It is managed by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, with all applicable regulations and fees. It is an extremely popular destination for millions of people living in Denver and the surrounding suburbs. On sunny summer days the reservoir quickly fills with motorboats, canoes and sailing boats. Water skiing and jet skiing are also popular, so expect your boat to rock while fishing. The lake freezes over in December and January, making it a popular place for ice fishing. There are warm places where the ice remains very thin, so be careful in the winter. Distance to Denver: 45 minutesThere are so many great fishing spots around Denver that you’d be hard pressed to find a single day that goes by you don’t catch something, or at least catch a glimpse of a fish. Whether you prefer to fish in the water, on the banks, or from a boat, you’ll have no trouble finding a spot that suits your tastes. When it comes to your first fishing trip, the best place to start is with a guide. And no, we don’t mean “that one guy in the corner”. A guide is a professional, licensed, and trained fisherman who will help you catch more fish and learn the ins and outs of fishing.. Read more about denver fishing guides and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the best fishing in Colorado right now?

Colorado is a great place to enjoy the outdoors year-round. Whether you want to camp, fish, fly fish, hike, or just find the perfect scenic mountain vista, we’ve got you covered. Colorado’s fishing in the summer months can be excellent so long as you know the best spots to go. The best Colorado fishing months are generally early to late summer when the water temperatures are cooler and fish are actively feeding.

Where can I go fishing near Denver?

The best fishing spots near Denver are all over the state, but there are a few areas that are well known for their fishing potential. Lakes near Loveland and Fort Collins have plenty of fish, and both have well developed shoreline access. The lakes in the Denver metro area are good for fishing too, but the best place to fish in the city is the South Platte River, which is where the Colorado State Fish and Game Commission stocks fish. The best places to fish near Denver are close to highways. The Colorado Plateau is great for fly fishing, but fishing pressure has been growing in recent years, so there aren’t that many great places in this area. To the south, there is a large expanse of BLM land that is accessible to the general public, and within this area you will find many good fishing spots. To the north, there is a great stretch of the Arkansas River that is accessible to the general public, and within this stretch you will find many great fishing spots. To the east, there is a great stretch of the Arkansas River that is accessible to the general public, and in this stretch you will find many great fishing spots. To the west, there is a

Where is the biggest fish in Colorado?

Backpackers and day hikers alike enjoy taking a weekend trip in the backcountry, but some of the biggest trout in Colorado can be found in the headwaters of the Arkansas, Cache, and Piceance rivers. If you’re planning to backpack or hike near these three rivers, here’s the list of the best fishing spots. We’ve gone over things that fish-crazed people love to do, so now we’re going to focus on the fish that you might find in these wild waters. The data used to compile this list is gathered from user reviews, and our in-house data scientists have also done their research.

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