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This Holiday Weekend: Get Creative

Our Director of Services, Jon Easdon, poses this question: To fish or not to fish? (Hint: the answer is always FISH!)

His follow-up question: Considering fishing this holiday weekend? 

If you are anything like me, you almost cringe to try and go fishing on a holiday weekend. The mere thought of how busy the river will be can turn anyone off of going fishing. But with a little creativity and thinking outside the box, there are many options to enjoy some time on the water — no matter what holiday weekend stands in your way.

Labor Day weekend is the last big push of traffic in the outdoors for those trying to milk the last ounce out of summer. The outdoors can get very busy on Labor Day weekend. Like most people, a lot of anglers are limited to weekends or holidays to get out on the water. Sometimes this can be overwhelming, and the angler will be anticipating absolute chaos on all their fisheries. Instead of NOT going fishing, though, we thought we would share some good ideas for fishing on a busy holiday weekend. This one’s for you weekend warriors…

First and foremost, the weather this weekend is going to be absolutely beautiful all over the state. The weather will not be an issue at all, and really everything is in play. 

Angler on kayak casts into a misty mountain lake


While stillwater fly fishing may not be your jam, it can in fact be extremely fun. 11 mile, Spinney, and Antero reservoirs are all fishing well right now. Lakes are great places to fish on busy weekends or holidays, especially if you have a float tube, kayak, or boat. Lakes offer a lot of solitude, and you can always get away from people. Plus, you haven’t really lived until you see a 2-foot trout inhale a damsel dry fly on the surface. I get all goosey just thinking about it.

If you don’t own any type of watercraft, consider renting a kayak. Our sister shop, Pikes Peak Outfitte, has a wealth of top tier fishing kayaks that will greatly enhance your stillwater experience.

North Slope recreation area (Pikes Peak)

This close-to-home option is one of my personal favorites. You can either drive up the Pikes Peak Highway or make an adventure of the day and access North Catamount from Ed Lowe Road outside of Woodland Park. There are some really great trails that go down to the lake here. 

Various Alpine Lakes

We have an absolute wealth of alpine lakes in Colorado. These lakes offer all sorts of opportunities and at various levels of difficulty. Some of these lakes are very easy to get to, and some will require some serious fitness. Depending on what you are looking for, there really is an option for everyone. 

A few of our favorite easy access alpine lakes are Ptarmigan, Waterdog lakes, Hagerman, or Lost Lake. All of these lakes are pretty easy to find and relatively easy to get to. Ptarmigan is likely the most arduous hike, while Lost Lake would be the easiest. All of these lakes sit in absolutely beautiful areas, so even if the fishing is slow, you’ll be sure to have a great time. The window on fishing alpine lakes will be closing soon, and this is a great time to go check out a new alpine lake. 

This time of year the fly selection is pretty simple for alpine lakes. Hoppers, ants, beetles, scuds, and leaches will all be sure bets. 

Small Streams

Colorado has over 6000 miles of streams and rivers. A good number of these would be classified as small streams.

I would even consider the Middle Fork of the South Platte a smaller stream. With flows of 25 cfs, it is running low and clear, and lots of eager small fish are awaiting your fly. There is a ton of access through Badger basin SWA as well as Tomahawk SWA. You can even go farther up the middle fork drainage to Alma SWA. This location features the headwaters of the middle fork and a good number of beaver ponds. Access is very easy and the surrounding views are something else!

Another fun local spot is Beaver Creek. This creek sits right below Skaguay reservoir outside of Victor.

Or check out Grape Creek with its multiple access points

If you are looking for areas that are a little bit harder to access, consider taking one of the many trails in the Lost Creek Wilderness Area. Fly selection will also be pretty simple right now with small hoppers, ants, beetles, caddis, Griffith’s Gnats and even some small streamers. 

Enjoy the Opportunity

It’s a great time to “Think outside the box”, and who knows…you just might find your next favorite spot to fish! 

Your options for fishing this holiday weekend are numerous. There really is going to be something for everyone. You can also visit your favorite tailwater, just know that it will likely be very busy (I’m looking at you Deckers, Elevenmile Canyon).

No matter where you decide to embark on your adventure, it’s always good to keep the following in mind. Everyone you will see in the outdoors this weekend is there for the exact same reason you are: to enjoy the outdoors. Please be kind to each other!

And lastly, we are in the business of helping people enjoy the outdoors. It is our goal to assist you in those adventures and help you enjoy YOUR public lands. Please come by the shop or call us if you have any questions, need fly suggestions, etc. 

We hope this will help you plan some adventures on the last big weekend of the summer. 

1 Comment

  1. John Winters on September 5, 2023 at 9:48 pm

    Great tips and ideas!!

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