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11 Mile Reservoir, my gold standard for fishing

by: Jim McFarland 6/4/2017

It's true, the infamous "skunk mile" is probably my favorite place to fish in Colorado. It's also true she is quite the fickle mistress. One day she will be ill tempered and not surrender her treasured secrets. On another day, she will produce fish in both size and numbers leaving your arms and wrists sore. Then there are the special days, days when you hook into a true trophy, not just a trophy in your mind, but anyone that sees it wishes they were you for that moment. Is that what makes it my gold standard? In part, yes. 

For Colorado, 11 Mile is a large body of water and it has just about everything except overhanging trees. The water clarity can be amazing, easily seeing 15 to 20 ft down and watching fish cruise quietly below you. If you enjoy fishing shallows, deep water, sand beds, weed beds, rocky points with drop offs or even isolated islands, the Mile has all that and more. To be on my toon or tube as day breaks and watch the condensation rise from the water is exhilarating. Granted some may find that eerie or spooky but for me it brings a sense of serenity. At that time of morning The Mile is usually serene with me. Calm on the surface with excitement just a cast away. Or if there is a breeze, it too is gently rocking me floating on the lake. As if eagerly beckoning me to make my approach and unfurl my first cast. 

Late afternoon and sunsets are also magical times to be there. By then the afternoon winds have started to quell. As you know late morning and afternoon winds in South Park are more like tsunamis than a normal breeze. It seems to be The Mileís way of saying, ďgo away, I need rest for nowĒ. So you return in the evening to find the waves still rolling fairly well, often with foreboding skies and yet The Mile calls to join her.

Do I get skunked at The Mile? Oh yes, thatís a certainty. Even so it seems as if she speaks to me, guides me and soothes me to encourage my return. There are always lessons to be learned here, always room for improvement. There are a great many bodies of water here in Colorado that also hold secrets, but if you fish them enough, they no longer hold secrets. Thereby they lose their mystery in my eyes and heart. The Mile KNOWS she is mysterious, charming and fickle. So, to tantalize the less patient, if you take a boat and drag a tube jig, you stand a strong chance of catching something. But letís be honest, thatís not much of a secret or challenge, is it?

Another piece of the puzzle as to why this is my gold standard was alluded to in the beginning. The trophy fish. One of my primary quests is a double-digit weight trout and no I donít care what species. Last weekend I saw this prize with my own eyes, so close I could literally touch it. It swam to my toon as I was changing lures. I would also like to catch a 50Ē pike, another trophy of which I have seen there. You may find yourself thinking there are other places with similar potential and you would be correct. But at The Mile? Every cast made makes my heart race because there is no question at all that a giant is nearby. Not even Spinney where I caught my largest pike gives me the same sense possibility for my toon to be dragged around. Some of you have even been with me when a fish is taking me where it wants to go! 

Most importantly, when I catch fish here, is the sense of accomplishment.  Knowing how challenging this water is and how many people come and go that never find real success makes me feel good.  Makes me feel as if I've earned the right for The Mile to share some of her secrets with me.

What water is your gold standard?

Blog content © Jim McFarland
Member comments
bron, CO   6/4/2017 6:08:45 PM
Good read Jim! Looks like we have our work cut out for us this summer. I have a pond in Longmont with no lake page that is our Eldarado.
fishin jim, CO   6/5/2017 1:29:51 PM
GREAT ARTICLE!!!! I live 8min from the lake, AND LOVE IT YEAR ROUND..It does hold monster fish, full of all the good food the lake provide's..I think the fish here taste the best, even as good as Alaska"s fish..Orange kokes, red colored fillet's from the trout......................
Ajax5240, CO   6/5/2017 2:08:54 PM
Great write up Jim! Makes me want to hook up the ol' boat and come chase some of your trout!
Jim McFarland (anglerwannabe), CO   6/6/2017 4:47:40 PM
thanks guys. Ajax, you should come on over to get into some REAL trout.
skiman, CO   6/8/2017 8:08:30 PM
Jim, great write up. One question for you, have you ever caught a laker out of Eleven Mile? Just curious. fishin jim...have you?
Jim McFarland (anglerwannabe), CO   6/9/2017 5:05:55 PM
Thanks ski and as far as I know, there aren't any lakers in The Mile although it's certainly deep enough and has a good forage base. Says there's SMB in there but I have never seen one or heard of anyone catching any there. Saw a pic from the 11 Mile General Store with a pic but it was in front of the store so I am skeptical. Jimmy did you catch the kokes in the main lake or from the dream stream? I know of folks that have caught them from the dream stream but not from the lake.
Jim McFarland
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