UPDATES TO "THE FISHING GUIDE TO 800 HIGH LAKES IN COLORADO"
Eventually, every fishing guide becomes dated. If they did not, then we would still be using the 50-to-60-year old data in Tim Kelley's " The Official Colorado-Wyoming Hunting and Fishing Guide" to direct us to the best fishing in Colorado's high lakes. Things change, including stocking frequency, numbers of fish stocked, species stocked, lake conditions such as periodic winterkill, fishing pressure and harvest. As such, I will add additional data to this web page in an effort to keep my guidebook up to date. I encourage you to send me your fishing experiences through my CONTACT page. Please tell me if you caught different species than what I report, lakes that winterkilled (i.e. you saw many dead fish) and lakes that you caught fish in that I thought were barren. I will update this web page with that information. Please don't just tell me that you experienced poor fishing. We all know that fishing success can vary with time of day, time of season, weather, choice of flies, anglers' abilities and a myriad of other factors. Here are some updates.
Article 1, p. 3: County Road 4N, the 4WD road leading to the trailhead for Little Echo and James Peak lakes, starts at the west end of Tolland and bears no identifying signage. This road becomes Forest Road 353, and has signage indicating this. In my book, I call this Forest Road 176; it is labeled as such on older Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest maps (which I use) and is labeled as Forest Road 353.1 on the 2009, Empire, 7.5 minute, USGS topographic map. This road is rocky, and becomes narrow and very rocky after about 4.8 miles, just after the "seasonal road closure" sign. This is not Subaru territory, but rather the domain of the ATV, Jeep or full-sized SUV or pickup (with 10 inches of clearance). The road deteriorates significantly after the "seasonal road closure" sign, and if you feel uncomfortable with what you have already driven, it is advisable to park here on the wide, flat area to the left and walk the remainging 2 miles to the trailhead. Total distance to the trailhead from Tolland is closer to 6.6 miles.
Article 1, p. 3: The road to Loch Loman has been improved. It is still rocky, and high clearance is recommended, but 4WD is unnecessary. I negotiated the road with a Subaru Forester in 2023.
Article 1, p. 4: Reynolds Lake also holds lake trout. The fee to park in both parking lots near the trailhead to St. Mary's Lake was increased to $20 in August 2023. So much for inflation being under control.
Article 1, p. 9: Please note that in 2021, reservations were required to drive to Summit Lake on the road to Mount Evans. Visit www.recreation.gov to make reservations. This policy was still in effect in 2023. Note seasonal closures.
Article 2, pp. 18-19: Access to the townsite of Hessie and the Fourth of July Trailhead has become challenging due to increased visitation; there simply is not enough parking. These areas service Lost, Woodland, Skyscraper, Diamond, Dorothy and Neva lakes. There is a shuttle that runs from the Nederland High School to Hessie on weekends to alleviate parking. It was so crazy that I aborted my weekday trip there in 2021. Shuttle information is available at https://www.bouldercoloradousa.com/things-to-do/outdoor-recreation-in-boulder/hiking-in-boulder/hessie-trailhead-shuttle/. Plan months ahead for camping in the Indian Peaks as permits go quickly.
p.19: Janet George ingorned my recommendation on foregoing angling for the small number of cutthroats in the shallow Caribou Lake, which is not stocked, and was rewarded with a 15-inch cutthroat.
Article 3, pp. 21-29: Plan ahead for any trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. In 2021, reservations were needed for day visitation, and overnight camping permits were difficult to obtain. Unlike permits for the Indian Peaks, permits for overnight backcountry camping in RMNP must be picked up in person, not mailed.
p. 24: Water levels in Lily Lake contiue to drop and aquatic vegetation continues to proliferate. In addition, salamanders have invaded its waters. I can find no recent stocking data.
Article 4, p. 37: Rockhole Lake has since been stocked with cutthroats.
Article 5, pp. 41 to 42: After my book went to press, I learned that Colorado Parks and Wildlife stocked some golden trout in the fall of 2020 in Jewel and Clear lakes. These one-inch fry should grow to catchable size in 3 to 4 years.
Article 6: Check for fire closures before visiting the Mount Zirkel Wilderness.
Article 13: Expect to catch more cutthroats in Lost Man Lake, and they are of respectable size.
Article 15, p. 103: Arthur Lake apparently winterkilled since I published the book. It was on the 2021 schedule for restocking with cutthroats and goldens.
p. 104: Colorado Parks and Wildlife is planning to stock the Hayden strain of cutthroats in Hunt Lake. As such, they are allowing an unlimited number of cutthroats to be taken from Hayden Lake in 2023. Bag limits for Boss Reservoir remain in effect.
Article 16, p. 112: Todd Nice reports that Blue Lake is full of brookies, and his photos indicate that they are of respectable size.
Article 17, p. 114: CPW ceased stocking cutthroats into Anderson Reservoir a few years ago. Anglers report catching brookies there in recent years. I saw some small risers there in July 2023. Lily pads were enormous.
pp. 118-119: Alan Nielsen, co-owner of Trappers Lake Lodge, reported that water levels in Boulder and Mary Loch lakes dropped significantly in the fall of 2021. This may have affected angling since these are shallow lakes. Be aware that other lakes in this part of the Flat Tops may have been similarly impacted.
Article 18, p. 127: According to Katie Bergert, the Bailey Lakes still contain some water and a few brookies but are surrounded by much marshy terrain.
Article 19, p. 138: There is a steep section of trail just before Finney Cut Lake No. 1, which appeared shallow and barren when I visited in 2021. I caught cutthroats in Finney Cut Lake No. 2.
Article 19, p. 139: The road leading to Silver Lake and Forty-Acre Lake has been renamed from Forest Road 257.1B to Forest Road 256.
Article 23, p. 169: According to biologist Estevan Vigil, Timber Lake appeared to have winterkilled during the winter of 2018-19. However, the lake was restocked in July 2019 and again in 2021.
p. 171: Doug Werme reported catching some rainbows in addition to cutthroats in Red Lake. Although rainbows have not been stocked for many years, they may be the progeny of those previous stockings as there is adequate spawning habitat in the outlet stream.