• Photo Credit: Colorado Tackle Pro, Travis LaMere on Spinney Mountain Reservoir

Conventional/Spin Fishing

The Pikes Peak Region has opportunities abound for fishing. Any place you fly fish you can also use the conventional tackle. Both lakes and rivers are abundant in the are. There are some methods that work better on lakes than on rivers and better on the rivers than lakes.

Fishing the lakes in the area a Spinning rod about med light too light action 6 too 7 feet long with line from 4 too 8 lb test. The exceptions are Pike but that is for later. In lakes, there are 3 methods that are primarily used. First is fishing with bait, worms, salmon eggs, powerbait and marshmallows. These are typically fished on the bottom. The rigging is simple with a Carolina rig with about a 2 foot leader being popular. This method is mostly used for fishing the floating baits such as powerbait /doughbaits. Or very popular is the mudslide. A Nightcrawler with a marshmallow or what we call a strawberry shortcake, a marshmallow with a salmon egg. The other method we use is a Bear Claw rig. this places the weight at the bottom of the line with 2 pre snelled hooks attached above the weight attached with a Bear Claw separated about 12 to 16 inches apart.

Next lures are used this can be spoons spinners or stick baits. Spoons like Kastmasters, Z-Rays ,and Daredevils are very popular and used on both lakes and rivers, trolled or cast. Cast out and retrieved. Vary your retrieve slow, fast, stop and go until you find what the fish are wanting on that day. Spinners like Panther Martins, Rooster Tails, and Blue Fox work well in the lakes but where I find the excelling is in the rivers. Next are Stick baits or Crank baits. Rapalas, HD Trout, Smithwick roges and HD Jspec lures are very popular, with HD Trout excelling in both lakes and rivers.

The third option is a Fly and Bubble. This excels in the lakes and especially in the high mountain lakes in the area. We use a clear water casting bubble with about a 4 too 6-foot leader.

You can use any fly in this setup. Some of the most productive flies are CTP Marvels aka Pistol Pete.

Other flies that work well are Renegades, Adams, Bloody Butcher, Orange Asher. Griffiths Gnats, Elk Hair Cadis and assorted nymphs like Hares Ears and Pheasant Tails.

Trout are not the only game in the area Trophy Northern Pike, Walleye, Crappie, Wipe, Catfish, and Bass are found throughout the area. Boating Kayaking and Canoeing can be had on most of the areas bodies of water. Depending on the time of year you can be fly fishing on a river, pull out the boat and be on a lake and the turnaround and be ice fishing all in the same day.

Before You Get Started

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The Leave No Trace Seven Principles for Fishing

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the local fishing and boating regulations for the area where you’ll fish. Obtain licenses and stamps and have them with you.
  • Use a personal flotation device where required and/or appropriate.
  • Learn to identify the different species of fish in the area where you’ll be fishing.
  • Obey the limits on size and quantity of fish you are allowed to keep. Abide by regulations concerning types of bait and tackle permitted where you are fishing.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Plan your trip to avoid times of high use.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include rock, gravel, water, established trails and campsites, sand, or snow.
  • Concentrate use on existing trails, campsites, and boat launches.
  • Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
  • Avoid trampling aquatic vegetation when wading. Refrain from wading in spawning areas when possible.
  • Enter and leave water sources at places where the banks are low or where there are gravel bars.
  • In pristine areas disperse use to prevent the creation of new campsites and trails.
  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.

  Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack it in, Pack it out. Inspect your camp and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all monofilament fishing line, leftover live bait, and bait cups.
  • Avoid using lead sinkers and jigs. If lead sinkers are found, pack out for proper disposal.
  • Use established bathrooms when available. If not available, deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep and 200ft away from water sources.
  • Check with local land managers for regulations on disposal of fish entrails. Pack out entrails when possible. If not possible, burial, deepwater deposition, or moving water deposition are acceptable options in most areas.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

Leave What You Find

  • When practicing “catch and release”, use barbless hooks and be sure to not injure the fish. Do not fight a fish to exhaustion, use a rod and line of sufficient strength, avoid suspending fish out of water by the fishing line. Keep fish in water when handling for release and do not touch gills.
  • Carry and use needle-nose pliers or hemostats for hook removal.
  • Take care not to introduce non-native species to water sources and surrounding areas. Pack out all un-used bait and dispose of properly (e.g. worms, minnows, leaches) and properly wash all equipment between fishing trips.
  • Avoid transferring fish from one watershed to another.
  • Preserve the past: observe, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts. Use a lightweight stove for cooking when possible.
  • Where fires are permitted use established fire rings, mound fires, or fire pans and consider bringing your own firewood.
  • Keep fires small and use only dead and downed wood that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and charcoal to ash. Ensure that fire is completely out and properly dispose of cold ashes by scattering or packing out.

Respect Wildlife

  • Respect fish by humanely dispatching catches you are keeping with a quick blow to the back of the head with a rock or other solid object.
  • Refrigerate or eat fish quickly to avoid wasting them. Check local regulations on using stringers.
  • Use caution when cooking fish in bear country.
  • Never feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Control pets or leave them at home.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Non-motorized crafts usually have right-of-way over powerboats: slower boats should keep to the right.
  • If using a radio keep volume low or wear headphones, let nature’s sounds prevail.
  • Pick campsites that are away from shoreline or trails and avoid crowding other visitors.

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are reprinted with the permission of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. For more information, visit www.LNT.org.


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