On a recent Sunday I found myself with the whole day to fish. Looking to beat the heat, when warm water fishing can be challenging, I decided it would be good to head for the high country where the air and water temperatures are cooler and the fish are often active throughout the day.
The Red Feather Lakes area was my choice for the day. Being only an hour away, itís an easy drive which afforded me the luxury of sleeping in. Further, there are several public waters within close proximity of each other, Bellaire, Creedmoore, Dowdy, Parvin, and West. I figured if one wasnít producing, another might be. And maybe the best reason is, these lakes, for the most part, are managed as put-and-take fisheries, which often equates to some solid catching.
My first stop was at Bellaire, primarily because Iíd not visited it before. This small ten acre reservoir is nestled among the pine trees. Access is either through the Bellaire campground or the day use parking area.
Upon my arrival I was struck by the improvements and high level of maintenance. There are several picnic sites, clean vault toilets, and paved trails to the lake. At the lake there is a handicap accessible boardwalk. There is a five dollar day use fee that is good at all Canyon Lakes fee areas.
Bellaire is a popular destination with many folks such as Annette Moore, who hails from the Fort Collins area. Like many other anglers, this scenic lake is her first choice to catch a few fish. Picnickers, hikers, wildlife viewers, and campers also find the area appealing, especially family groups.
While I enjoyed visiting with my fellow anglers, the numerous rises and success of those fishing, prompted me to exchange my camera for the float tube and fly rod. As I launched, I had the sensation that the water was abnormally cold on one leg. It didnít take long to figure out I had a major leak in my waders. Given I was already wet, and not too cold, I decided to fish for a couple hours.
How was the fishing? Letís just say, I caught good numbers of fish, and every fly I tried worked to some degree. Noticing that a small boat was doing well trolling, I switched to a peacock woolly bugger and discovered that the dark profile coupled with a fast retrieve was more than the fish could stand. I had non-stop action for a couple hours, until being wet chilled me enough to call it quits. It was time to dry off and head into Red Feather Lakes for lunch.
Lunch at the Sportsman Cafť was interesting. A gentleman who recently moved here from Michigan, stopped by my table. ďI couldnít help but notice your license plate (flyrodn) when you drove up,Ē he stated, ďAm I safe in assuming you fish a lot?Ē Needless to say, that was all it took to get me chatting about area fisheries.
After lunch, I was sufficiently dry that I figured I would give Dowdy a try. This reservoir was surprisingly empty of fishers, likely due to the rains that started and continued for the next couple hours. Must say, I was having a difficult time staying dry. But the fish didnít mind and, while a little slower action than Bellaire, I still managed to convince numerous rainbows and browns that woolly buggers are good to eat.
So if youíre looking to beat the last of summerís heat, and catch a few fish while youíre at it, Red Feather Lakes is a great option.
This blog was published in the Sunday Explorer Section of the Coloradoan 9/5/11.