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Colorado Bass Fishing – Our Guide To The Best Spots

Mark Armstrong
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Colorado is known for a whole range of outdoor pursuits, from skiing and snowboarding to hiking and hunting. But it can also be an excellent place to go fishing.

With a large number of lakes and rivers it can be difficult to know where to start. So that’s why we’ve shortlisted 5 of the best bass fishing locations around Colorado.

Quick Look: Map Overview Of Best Colorado Fishing Spots
Colorado Map - Fishing best placesPin

Why Colorado Is Popular For Bass

Lots Of Lakes

Colorado is home to hundreds of lakes, both natural and man-made, as well as being home to a vast number of rivers at a range of elevations.

Colorado is probably more commonly known for its trout fishing rather than its bass fishing. But this can mean that the Colorado bass are not as heavily fished compared to some other big bass states. Great news!

Having so many lakes can mean bass fishing in Colorado is easily accessible. Many of the lakes can offer fishing from the shore, which can be ideal during the spring when bass will often tend to be within casting distance of the shoreline.

Fly Fishing

Fly fishing can be a popular way to catch a range of species in Colorado, including bass. Fly fishing for bass can be useful for fishing during the spring when the bass may be more likely to be feeding on topwater baits.

Video: Fly Fishing Lake Pueblo State Park

However, this technique could continue to be successful through the summer months, especially during the early mornings or around dusk.

> Rods for fly fishing

Best Times Of Year To Go


Spring can be one of the best times of the year to go bass fishing in Colorado. However, spring can often come a little later to Colorado compared to some other states because of the higher elevation. The last couple of weeks in May and through the first couple of weeks in June can be the ideal time.

This can be when the water temperatures start to warm up, causing bass to begin their annual spawning behavior, which can see them move closer to the shallows to feed and spawn.

The spring may also be a little quieter than during the summer months, as lakes can quickly become crowded with swimmers and recreational boaters.


Winter can be a popular time for outdoor activities in Colorado, as ski season begins. But winter is also ice fishing season and many of Colorado’s lakes freeze over allowing you to get onto the lake and fish for bass, walleye and trout.

December through February can be prime ice fishing time in Colorado and many of the lakes have ice rescue stations in place for the season. However, it’s important to stay safe on the ice and make sure you wear suitable clothing and don’t go alone.

What You Need To Bring

Layered Clothing

Depending on where you’re fishing, the weather can be unpredictable in Colorado and what may appear like a summer’s day could end up becoming more like winter. So it can be important to bring along appropriate clothing that can cover a range of weather conditions.

Variety Of Lures

It can be a good idea to have a range of lures with you, so that you can easily switch if you find that one type isn’t working for you. Crawfish lures can be an ideal choice for Colorado bass, particularly when used around rocky cover when fishing for smallmouth bass.

Colorado Fishing License

Remember, before you head out fishing in Colorado, you will need a valid Colorado fishing license if you’re between the ages of 16 and 64.

Additionally, if you’re taking a motorized boat out onto the water in Colorado you will also need to make sure that it’s registered.

5 Awesome Places To Catch Bass Around Colorado

1: Pueblo Reservoir

Just west of Pueblo you’ll find Pueblo Reservoir, formed from the Arkansas River. It is home to largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass, as well as several other species, including walleye, and can be fished all year long.

The reservoir can be accessed through Lake Pueblo State Park, where there are 60 miles of shoreline, as well as a marina and boat ramps. Summer months can be busy with other water users but spring can be an ideal time to catch bass, as they head to the shallows to spawn.

If you’re taking a boat out, you can only enter and leave the water while the boat inspection station is open but you can keep your boat on the lake all night as long as you have the correct lights.

2: Chatfield Reservoir

Chatfield Reservoir ColoradoPin
Courtesy: Jeffrey Beall on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Chatfield Reservoir in Denver can be an ideal place for bass fishing and winter ice fishing. There are several species that can be found in the lake, with smallmouth bass and trout being two of the most predominant species.

The reservoir lies within Chatfield State Park, where you will find campsites, a marina and boat launch, as well as a park office where you buy your fishing license and plenty of spots to fish from the shore.

The lake can become pretty busy during the summer months, with swimmers and recreational water users, so early in the morning and late in the afternoon can be better times to fish.

3: Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir Colorado FishingPin
Courtesy: David Shankbone on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Horsetooth Reservoir is a six and a half mile long lake, west of Fort Collins, Colorado. This can be a colder reservoir in general than some others, which may affect the timing of the spring spawn.

But the shallows on the western side and the backs of creeks can be where bass are likely to spawn first, as these areas will tend to warm up earlier.

The fall can also be a great time for bass fishing at Horsetooth Reservoir. You can either take a boat out or fish from the shore. There are plenty of campgrounds around the lake if you want to spend more than a day fishing, and many of them are open all year round.

4: Rifle Gap Reservoir

Rifle Gap Reservoir is home to a variety of species of fish, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, pike, walleye and trout. It offers 350 acres of clear water and year round fishing opportunities, including ice fishing in the winter.

Video: Rifle Gap Reservoir (Drone View)

Rifle Gap State Park has a boat launch, which is open from April through October, and a number of lakeside campgrounds that are open all year.

Smallmouth bass might be a good species to target, using small crawfish lures in the rocky shallows in the spring. Fly fishing can also be a good way to catch smallmouth bass at Rifle Gap.

5: Aurora Reservoir

Easily accessible from the Denver metro area, Aurora Reservoir covers more than 800 acres and can be a great place for bass fishing. There is plenty of access to the water, with a dedicated fishing dock plus a trail that goes around the entire lake, making it ideal for shore fishing.

It’s also possible to take a kayak or small boat on the water, as long as it doesn’t have a gas powered motor. Only electric motors or non-motorized vessels are allowed.

Aurora Reservoir holds the state record for largest smallmouth bass but there are also trout, walleye, largemouth bass and catfish to be found, as well as other species. In winter it can also be a popular place for ice fishing.

Video: Aurora Reservoir 4-Pounder Bass

Gone Fishin’ (Conclusion)

Colorado can be paradise if you love the outdoors. With numerous lakes, and several within a short distance of major cities, there are lots of opportunities for bass fishing, whether you have a boat or you want to fish from dry land.

Have you got a favorite bass fishing spot in Colorado? Tell us about it. Remember to stay safe on the water and spread the word about Colorado bass fishing with your fellow anglers by sharing this guide.

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