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Fishing local lakes and ponds

Blog by: Bill Prater 6/23/2020
Part of Series: Fishing for Beginners

Here in the Rocky Mountain West, weíre blessed with fairly easy access to fine cold water fishing opportunities in high mountain lakes and streams, and we learn from talented guides and authors willing to share knowledge of how to successfully fish those places. Closer to home, options for fine fishing do exist in our gravel ponds and irrigation/water storage lakes, but anyone who tells you to just pull up to a given pond and start fishing doesnít really care whether you catch anything. Truth is, most fish living in most ponds occasionally take a bite of most anything. The trick to good fishing is being at the right spot at the right time with the right gear and range of baits.

Most anglers worth knowing will share information about gear and tactics. But with the limited options usually available in our metropolitan areas, itís unreasonable to expect to learn too many details about the exact identity of someoneís favorite 4-acre pond. Unless you can interrogate your own grandpa about his favorite secret holes, expect to do the research on your own. 

Here are web links and other information to get you started:

  • You can begin right here in Fish Explorer, in the Lakes and Rivers section and Forums, and this new series on Beginner fishing. Even without an FxR+ subscription, you can learn a great deal about major and minor lakes and streams in Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, California, Texas and Florida. FxR+ adds considerable, invaluable detail.

  • A flatland Colorado angler also needs to be familiar with the Colorado Parks and Wildlifeís free Fishing Atlas, Itís an interactive tool you can download for free and use to search for fishing by species, proximity to your home, and things like handicap access, boat ramps, fishing regulations and stocking. 

  • You should also look at a two-part blog I wrote in February 2019 (available in Fish Explorer Archives) on ďFinding Your Secret Fishing HoleĒ using Google Earth. Itís best viewed on a big screen, and if you donít have Google Earth, itís available for free

  • Take Me Fishing,  This is one of a number of Fish Explorer columns on getting started with fishing, but youíll find a great deal of basic information on this other site developed and maintained by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation. 

  • Most important though, get out and scout. 

Most public and private gravel ponds were created in pretty much the same way, by scouring the borders of streams for gravel and sand, but they can be 1. excellent fisheries 2. good fisheries  or 3. not worth the effort. 

You may think that if a pond is public, itís going to hold fish, but thatís not always the case. A lot depends on things like clarity, past pollution problems, depth and whether or not itís being managed as a fishery or suffering from benign neglect. That part of the equation includes stocking Ė both put and take trout and a variety of small warm water small fry intended to grow into something worth catching. 

More on that later. For now, go look at your local waters with a critical eye, and begin to draw your own conclusions. Scour online resources for more hints of potential success, start some conversations here on Fish Explorer Forums, and donít forget to look it all over from the air on Google Earth.

Blog content © Bill Prater
Blog Comments
bron, CO   6/23/2020 6:16:15 PM
Nice blog! Ive fished the metro area ponds for over 40 years now and the one thing Ill add is if you cant buy a bite at one of these waterholes try it again in 3 to 5 years. A 4 acre pond can change dramatically in a short time and go from a skunkhole to a honeyhole in fairly short order.

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Making the most of a small pond Part Two: gravel by B. Prater 06.25.20
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Tips on Getting your First Fly Fishing Gear by M. Snider 06.22.20
This is an intro to beginners wanting to get into fly fishing and have no gear. Here is a list of the basic essentials, and some tips on what to look for.
Intro to Beginner Fishing Series by M. Snider 06.22.20
Introducing a series of blogs designed for beginner anglers since a lot of people are now getting out for the very first time or picking up the sport again.
Fishing With Our Kids by L. Tackitt 08.27.19
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Learning to fish like a kid again by B. Prater 01.06.19
Truth be told, I was a much better fisherman at age 11 than at 30 or 40. Here's how you, too, can recover angling skills too often wasted on the young.