It’s no complete surprise that when it comes to Eleven Mile Reservoir
, you have two types of individuals. The people that love it… And the folks that simply grow frustrated wondering why that beautiful trout won’t hit their jig or even wonder why they aren’t seeing any action. Eleven Mile has proven to many it can be very temperamental and inconsistent to fish. On the contrary, this beautiful piece of South Park has the ability to produce some of the best quality fish in the state. A good game plan, location, choice of bait, proper rod set up and presentation technique, and most of all patience are what I consider THE 5 ABSOLUTES when ice fishing Eleven Mile… Let’s break down these must-do’s to help with a successful ice fishing experience.
A GOOD GAME PLAN
It’s very important to know what you want to fish for. This will give you the ability to choose the right bait and fish in the optimal location for your target specie of choice. Even having the mentality of “I just want to catch fish” does not necessarily mean you are destined for success by removing all your limitations. Know the lakes species. Typically you will not fish for northern pike
in the deeper waters where you would normally fish for kokanee salmon
and vice versa. Although trout can cover several different depths during ice season, they are often caught at lower depths primarily for abundant food sources and also reacting to natural spawning behaviors. If you are wishing to ice fish for northern pike, early ice is a great time to do so. During this time they are still active while as in the later part of ice season, they will conserve energy as they prepare for spawn. Kokanee salmon will continue to hang out in the deeper depths as they generally will do during the open water season.
Knowing the behaviors of Eleven Mile’s menu of fish is crucial in having the best opportunity to see more regular action during your trip. Additionally be familiar with your bite times. Historically, I have seen most action between the hours of 6-9:00am, it will generally pick up briefly from 10-11:00 am and usually between 12-2:00pm it is often considered the quiet time. This doesn’t make it impossible to catch fish by any means. It simply means the activity level is at its slowest point in the day during this time. Usually around 2:30 to nightfall the action picks back up, but as light dwindles, so does your visibility to see your bait and activity. Finally… READ REPORTS!!! If you are just starting out, go where the fish are. Helpful reports can assist other anglers when they may be stuck where to go.
Many people will have various opinions on what makes a successful fishing experience… Is it about the size of fish? Is it the quantity of fish you see? Is it the quantity that you actually catch? For myself, all 3 come into this equation. For trout, I love the west end of Eleven Mile. This area consists of the grounds of Stoll Mountain, Suckers Cove, Cross Creek and even combination of Rodgers Mountain, Lazy Boy, and Rocking Chair. Starting from the west end or inlet, the closer to Cross Creek you get the more weeds you will see, these weed pockets produce larger quantities of scuds or shrimp that trout feed on regularly. Due to the main channel of the South Platte River running through this area, water clarity is murky.
Further east along the north shoreline you have Stoll Mountain that produces both weeds and sandy bottoms. Roughly 150-200 yards out from the west side of Stoll Mountain campground there lies an over flow channel. The trick in this area is finding the location that has the combination of weeds and sand. Many call the boundary between sand and weeds “The Weed Line”. It is not uncommon to find to find both trout and pike swimming in the same areas during ice season on the west end of Eleven Mile. Have a rod ready for both species. Rock Bottoms also produce decent amounts of trout as well. As trout are foraging for food, they will cruise on the bottom of Lazy Boy and the surrounding areas to feed on large quantities of crawdads to fill themselves up.
Fishing for kokanee salmon, you must move further east. Deeper waters 30-50 feet in depth include such areas as Bird and Deer Island, north of Goose island, and in the middle of the marina or North Shore located in the center of the lake as well. Sonar such as a Vexilar is ideal with assisting in marking fish and finding your ideal depth for kokanee. Looking at a topographic map will assist with finding these depths. For Northern Pike areas such as Witchers cove, Howbert Point, Cross Creek, Stoll Mt, Rocky flats, and suckers cover have produced large quantities. Finding weeds or other forms of cover along with staying within 15 feet of water is ideal for optimal success. Other areas of Eleven Mile will have northern pike as well, but these are the areas the most success coming from other anglers, plus seeing myself.CONTINUED IN PART 2