With Colorado rivers low and warmer than normal, try a lake instead

Colorado Parks & Wildlife are asking anglers to try their luck at reservoirs this summer because many of the state's rivers and streams are low and water temperatures are higher than normal. We talked about how these conditions are stressing trout a couple days ago. Handling caught fish properly is critical. A better solution is to try a lake.

In reservoirs, there's less concern about water temperature and oxygen levels. If it's too warm, fish can move to deeper, cooler water. An added bonus is that anglers who catch fish in reservoirs can keep them for dinner. According to John Alves, a senior aquatic biologist for CP&W, "A lot of stream anglers practice catch-and-release, but that’s not necessary for many of Colorado’s reservoirs. Often, trout stocked in reservoirs are raised in a hatchery to a ‘catchable’ size. We want people to catch them and eat them.”

Rainbow's and other trout are the most sought after here in Colorado but don't forget about the state's other fishing opportunities. At Blue Mesa Reservoir you can target kokanee salmon and lake trout. In Crawford State Park lake you can catch trout but also largemouth bass, perch, and northern pike. These are just a couple examples of Colorado's lake fishing options. There's Nighthorse Reservoir, Vallecito, Beaver Creek Reservoir,  Big Meadows, Miramonte Reservoir, and many more.

If you're a hard-core river fisherman you can still hit your favorite flowing waterway just plan to fish early in the day when water is cooler. A reminder that the higher elevation streams aren't dealing with the same warm water and oxygen issues than in the valley.

Here's some more incentive to fish a lake, The 4th Annual Ridgway Smallmouth Bass Tournament starts this Saturday and runs through July 28th at Ridgway State Park. $5,000 in prizes is on the line plus, every participant who weighs a smallmouth has a chance to win $1,500! Another $1,500 prize goes to the angler who catches the most smallmouth bass. There is no entry fee, all you need is a Colorado fishing license. The park entry fee is a $7per day.