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Lake: Harper Lake

Harper Lake Ice Condition Update

Post By: Ziriux      Posted: 1/25/2016 2:32:52 PM     Points: 0    
Hey guys,

I just drove over to Harper Lake while on lunch at work. It looks like it two weeks time, assuming we dont have a huge cold front or much snow the ice may melt off. The middle of it already has open water and slowly melting out across the lake. The water is getting lower by the day.

I've taken some pictures for you.
 Reply by: sportfisher      Posted: 1/25/2016 4:35:15 PM     Points: 4912
They drain it a bit for the run off. Just as a FYI there is no ice fishing or fishing open water if there is any ice. So yes it would be nice to see it free up and get a line wet on a long rod. Thanks for the update
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 1/25/2016 4:53:07 PM     Points: 0
Hey, thanks for the info on the draining part for the run off. :)

I am very aware of no ice fishing or even fishing open water with ice there. This will be my 5th year going on that lake at least 2 to 3 times a week. Never noticed that they drain the lake, it explains why it feels back up easily every time.

Are you a common fisherman there?
 Reply by: sportfisher      Posted: 1/26/2016 7:16:58 AM     Points: 4912
Yes I live pretty code to it Also the skipper for this I will be fishing it pretty hard this year for sure.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 1/26/2016 8:55:44 AM     Points: 0
That sounds great! Hopefully we run into each other and have some great success. I've had some great luck there the moment the ice melts off, the end of March and basically all April I've had some great success.
 Reply by: wingman13      Posted: 1/26/2016 10:58:33 AM     Points: 285
Is there a fee to fish here?
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 1/26/2016 11:12:03 AM     Points: 0
Hi Wingman,

There is no fee to fish here. It is a 100% free, and you can even use boats such as kayaks, paddle boats as long as there is no motor on it. It is not necessary though shore fishing is amazing here. In the late February all the way to May you can catch them from the shore casting out 15-20 feet and catch fish anywhere from 13-17 inches. Kastmasters, the golden colored ones and salmon eggs are very effective. :)
 Reply by: ShuMugen      Posted: 1/26/2016 3:32:13 PM     Points: 2728
Has any one seen the Crappies at this lake lately? its been a long time since I've seen them, but I do know the bass are coming back pretty good.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 1/26/2016 4:16:50 PM     Points: 0
I haven't seen crappies in there in the last 3 years. I fish the lake a lot, between 3 to 4 times a week. Before work and after work, and during lunch sometimes.
 Reply by: Ch00Chee      Posted: 1/28/2016 7:48:02 AM     Points: 62
This is the first place I've ever seen a bass chasing a stocker trout! Can't wait!! I bet there are big bass in Harper!
 Reply by: royzim      Posted: 1/28/2016 9:50:07 AM     Points: 112
Boating permits were free in the past but beginning 2016 the city of Louisville requires a permit for boating on Harper. Annual permits cost $20 for residents, $40 for non-residents. No bellyboats.

[log in for link]
 Reply by: ShuMugen      Posted: 1/28/2016 2:25:55 PM     Points: 2728
Nice to know thanks Royzim!
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 1/28/2016 7:17:45 PM     Points: 0
@ Chee

Good luck catching a bass in Harper brother. A few years ago and even last year I caught a nice 13 inch bass. That's only 2 total! There's barely any bass in there. It's not swampy or humid enough for then in Louisville to get too big and catch easy.
 Reply by: Ch00Chee      Posted: 1/29/2016 7:20:15 AM     Points: 62
Are there any smallies in there since the water is so clear? And I'm sure there are bass in there just needa find them. Lol.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 1/29/2016 7:32:18 AM     Points: 0
I caught a smallie, and by smallie I literally mean a small one as well. You'll catch those more often, believe it or not i catch them on rooster tails.

I would say your best bet if you want to try use a spinner with a white tail and two spoons. I forgot what the lure is called...
 Reply by: Ch00Chee      Posted: 1/30/2016 11:22:50 AM     Points: 62
Sweet! Thanks for the tip! Maybe I'll go drop shot fishing for smallies there too.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/1/2016 2:02:17 PM     Points: 0
Hey Choo if you want to catch sone good size trout up to 22 inches go to harper at the start of march the ice in my time going there melts off by first week of march. Always catch sone good ones.
 Reply by: kittyfisher      Posted: 2/1/2016 4:35:19 PM     Points: 391
Man, that place is gonna get hammered!
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/2/2016 2:43:55 PM     Points: 0
@ Kitty,

You'd think that, but the last 3 years I've been going there, it's usually just me and around 5pm, when people get off work only about a couple show up and don't really know how to fish so they don't catch anything.
 Reply by: Ch00Chee      Posted: 2/5/2016 9:51:50 AM     Points: 62
Dang 22 inch trouts eh? And cleaner than st.vrain. I love the water quality of Harper.
 Reply by: fishslap      Posted: 2/5/2016 12:20:03 PM     Points: 19
Heck yea! Thanks for the info. I've never heard of this place before. I plan to hit it hard once it thaws out.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/5/2016 12:25:49 PM     Points: 0
Yea, i'm hoping this weeks freeze is the last of it, harper was just about to melt off until this week which im sure re-froze it pretty good again. By beginning of march it should be ready to go.

I highly suggest you fish it through March if you can. Salmon eggs and lures work too, but Salmon eggs for sure catch. All the pregnant female trout come out and eat and that's when you get it. Last year I kept the 20' inch fish which I wish I didn't she would have been much bigger, but I'm sure someone else would have caught her and killed her.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/9/2016 3:17:33 PM     Points: 0
Attached are the latest pics of Harper Lake Ice. We are not allowed to fish until the lake is fully melted off but by my calculation of a quarter of it being melted off already and as you can see in the pictures the ice being thin and cracking each hour that passes by Friday or Saturday it should be gone!
 Reply by: Butterfish      Posted: 2/9/2016 4:27:44 PM     Points: 0
catch and release people! its a good lake lets keep it that way!
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/9/2016 4:57:30 PM     Points: 0
Indeed, I've caught some monsters in there in march and april. I'm glad I don't like eating fish. I like to let a fish get huge. :)
 Reply by: fishslap      Posted: 2/9/2016 5:05:53 PM     Points: 19
Catch and release into the grease come ice off!!
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/9/2016 5:07:07 PM     Points: 0
Don't do it! :p

In my opinion, if it's smaller than 12 inches its not worth cooking.
 Reply by: sportfisher      Posted: 2/14/2016 11:10:45 AM     Points: 4912
Just to touch up on the boating, it is hand launch vessels only with no body contact to the water. No belly boats or one man pontoons, and no wading.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/14/2016 11:14:47 AM     Points: 0
Hey Sportfisher,

I'm going to go see the city of Louisville rec department to be sure, but just in your experience and knowledge I'm curious if this boat is ok. I would almost consider it close to a paddle boat style, since you sit upright haha.

Let me know what you think:

 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/15/2016 6:23:34 AM     Points: 0
What do you think sportfisher .
 Reply by: Ch00Chee      Posted: 2/17/2016 6:43:40 AM     Points: 62
How's the lake now?
 Reply by: ShuMugen      Posted: 2/17/2016 10:56:37 AM     Points: 2728
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/17/2016 12:36:30 PM     Points: 0
The lake is not fully open from ice, but I believe by tomorrow you'll have a lake that is 90 percent thawed.

I fished it 3 times last week with absolutely no bite or any luck.

Any of you guys going out today after work around 4 30 or so?

I will be hitting it up today.

Shu, when was the last time you were there?
 Reply by: fishslap      Posted: 2/17/2016 12:43:09 PM     Points: 19
I'll probably be there this weekend. I got a new stringer for valentines day. I usually do pretty good at ice out with midges on the fly rod so I see a limit of keepers in my future...
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/17/2016 1:42:17 PM     Points: 0
@ Fishslap

Do you have luck fly fishing at harper, I ask because i see people with a fly set up and harper and never see them catch anything while i'm catching them on kastmasters, panther martins and salmon eggs. What I'd like to do is do a float with fly at the end since i'm not a fly fisherman and don't want to get the fly kit.
 Reply by: fishslap      Posted: 2/17/2016 2:01:04 PM     Points: 19
Never fished Harper before. Heard about it from this thread. I do well at other lakes after ice off using a three fly rig with a midge dry, pupa emerger, & larva.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/17/2016 2:07:19 PM     Points: 0
Yea, i don't know how well you'll do with that set up here. Good luck, let me know when you're at this lake, just post on the forum here. This weekend I'm out to Vega till sunday ice fishing. I hope you do well.

I'm going today after work for a bit.
 Reply by: sportfisher      Posted: 2/24/2016 7:35:28 PM     Points: 4912
Ziriux I would say that would be fine. I was going to put my 14ft aluminum bout on there and they just said as long as it's carry on and your not touching the water. I would say it's good to go.
 Reply by: sportfisher      Posted: 2/24/2016 7:38:48 PM     Points: 4912
Harper is free of ice and fishing slow. Flies have been good in the past. Water is clear and low but not sure if it'll effect fishing with flies. I have not caught a fish there yet this week but I haven't tried the east, and north side yet. The fish seems to be out further still which I am surprised to see. Boating don't start til May 1st but I would like to see you guys out there.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/24/2016 8:00:04 PM     Points: 0
Thanks you for the response ice fisher. I appreciate your welcoming character on this website.

I fished the lake a few times and no luck on flies, spinners, lures, meal worms, salmon eggs or powebait.
 Reply by: D-Zilla      Posted: 2/25/2016 7:02:47 AM     Points: 2474
Give it a week, that will change. The fish aren't awake yet.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/25/2016 7:51:42 AM     Points: 0
Yea first week to mid March it definitely pick up a bit before they stock it.
 Reply by: illpilgrim      Posted: 2/25/2016 1:59:43 PM     Points: 1831
Fished yesterday (salmon eggs, no luck). I will be out there this afternoon with my fish finder.
 Reply by: NativeCuttie      Posted: 2/25/2016 3:18:55 PM     Points: 386
Cool keep us updated I'll be there this weekend as well, probably Saturday.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/25/2016 4:01:52 PM     Points: 0
Pilgrim my friend, you're not going to catch squat with salmon eggs until mid march. It's almost a fact, i've learned that over the last 5 years and just by researching. Yet i always start fishing with them before switching to anything else.

I was at harper this morning already no bite, the water is way to cold. Since you'll be using a fish finder i take it you'll be on a boat? If you are make sure you got a boat or kayak permit. Also May 1st is the time you are allowed to use anything on water, that is assuming you're using something to get into water if not ignore my paragraph. :)

Let me know how it goes. Maybe we can all bump into each other out there.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/25/2016 4:08:19 PM     Points: 0
This morning on Harper.

Love doing fishing before work. :)
 Reply by: illpilgrim      Posted: 2/25/2016 7:37:09 PM     Points: 1831
Z, very right. No luck with the salmon eggs. I had excellent luck at St. Vrain state park with eggs Jan/Feb. Although, all stockers and only a few big ones. I wish I would have seen your post before heading out, I wouldn't have cast an egg line today.

I was fishing from the shore. I've got a pole for my fish finder. I didn't end up using it. Earth worm's were doing the trick.

Unfortunately, this guy was too deep set to release.

Maybe I'll see you out there tomorrow?
 Reply by: poacher7mm      Posted: 2/25/2016 8:44:45 PM     Points: 45
Nice color on it. My catches always swallow too. Lol
 Reply by: Ch00Chee      Posted: 2/26/2016 7:21:15 AM     Points: 62
The best ways to make sure the fish don't swallow, take it on the second hit! Don't wait!
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/26/2016 9:22:22 AM     Points: 0
Morning Pilgrim,

Nice job on catching the trout, I'm glad you were able to get some fishing in and catch one even. I assume night crawlers will work too.

Yea brother, I will be out there, easiest way to identify that it's me on the lake you'll see some dude wearing a black hat with an orange gander mountain logo on it. I usually fish the west side of the lake since it's closest to the parking lot. I get lazy :p

How big would you say that fish was?
 Reply by: NativeCuttie      Posted: 2/26/2016 12:39:48 PM     Points: 386
I usually just fish the West and South shore as that's where I have had the most lucky. I've tried the North shore but don't think I've ever tried the West. Any luck North or West ever? Where do they stock it at? I got a note saying it won't be stocked until April with trout and again in September with catfish. When its stocked it will be packed with those large families taking all the fish they can get everyday. I have witnessed this the past two years.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/26/2016 6:00:55 PM     Points: 0
The west side and the south is very good. West being the best side, they like to come towards those rocks in the shallow. Caught my biggest one 19 inch rainbows last march right along the southwest side of the lake on salmon eggs.

They stock it the 2nd week of April I've noticed usually.I didn't know this whole time until i read the whole sign that they put catch fish in there. I've never caught one but than again I never try to catch them either. I know there's carp in there and you see a school of 20 at a time in the warm summer months.

I see a lot of families there, but a lot of them aren't good at catching fish either. If it was up to me I would mandate catch and release in the whole state so that we have monster fish over the next 3 to 5 years. :)
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/27/2016 9:36:39 AM     Points: 0
Any of you out here today?
 Reply by: NativeCuttie      Posted: 2/27/2016 9:38:34 AM     Points: 386
I was going to swing by there this afternoon. Broncos shirt hurly hat if you see me. I wanted to get a new reel first.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/27/2016 10:35:31 AM     Points: 0
Sounds good. Can't miss it wearing a shirt that blends with the sky haha. Going by this afternoon as well when I finish up some fishing in Estes park.
 Reply by: NativeCuttie      Posted: 2/27/2016 2:06:04 PM     Points: 386
I was only there about 10 minutes with my wife and newborn. Too dam windy. I might come back tomorrow. Lots of forum lurkers.
 Reply by: sportfisher      Posted: 2/27/2016 7:02:41 PM     Points: 4912
I will be out there on the kayak May 1st. Anyone else want to cruse around and do some fishing on the water?
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/27/2016 7:30:16 PM     Points: 0
@ Cuttie

Yea I got to there at 5 and fished till 6pm. I caught a tiny bass probably size of my middle finger lol. Was this your first time at harper? Pretty little lake isn't it?

I never see anyone at harper but me when I go there. Haven't seen a single forum lurker. They won't have much luck on it till March sometime.


I'd love to come out. I'm there mostly 3 to 4 times a week fishing or not but the poles are always ready. How do you do on kayak?. Took a raft boat out there last year and caught a couple nice ones.
 Reply by: sportfisher      Posted: 2/28/2016 4:10:59 AM     Points: 4912
Ziriux This will be my first year out of about 4 yrs that I will be floating Harper. But I am excited to see how it will be.
 Reply by: NativeCuttie      Posted: 2/28/2016 2:08:11 PM     Points: 386
No I've been going the past couple of years as I live and work a mile down the road. I'll be waiting until it starts picking up to get a little more excited. I might head down in a couple of hours to try again if the wind holds down.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/29/2016 10:43:29 AM     Points: 0
Any of you guys have any luck catching anything out on Harper this past weekend?
 Reply by: fishslap      Posted: 2/29/2016 10:47:25 AM     Points: 19
Fishing was good on midges. I think they might have stocked it recently.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/29/2016 10:55:25 AM     Points: 0
Nice job fishslap! They have not stocked the lake, which is all more impressive that you caught that many. I'm not a fly fisherman so that's most likely been the success of your catches. My worm, salmon eggs, power bait, spinners and lures are not getting any action.
 Reply by: sportfisher      Posted: 2/29/2016 11:07:19 AM     Points: 4912
They wont stock the lake until at least April. Nice success on the flies. I will be out there for a few hours today (Monday) and try my luck some more
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 2/29/2016 11:18:13 AM     Points: 0
Yea usually mid to end April. I like catching the fish before the stocking happens, bigger and nicer fish. I'm a catch and release guy, I like to see the fish get bigger.

I don't know how you feel about this sportfisher, but I'd like them to mandate only a 2 fish limit and encourage catch and release, it would be nice for the lake to have some bigger game fish in there. What do you think about that?
 Reply by: sportfisher      Posted: 2/29/2016 4:28:30 PM     Points: 4912
I agree with you Catch and Release is my way of fishing, and I would love to see it turn into a bigger trout fishery but unfortunately its a stocker type lake for this reasons to catch and keep.
 Reply by: culinarypunk      Posted: 2/29/2016 4:46:19 PM     Points: 84486
Oh fishslap!
Right over his head!

Let it die....
 Reply by: fishslap      Posted: 2/29/2016 6:54:13 PM     Points: 19
Will do. Thanks for noticing though.
 Reply by: Ziriux      Posted: 3/2/2016 5:10:22 PM     Points: 0
Any of you try fishing the lake this week? I know it's been windy as$!*e, I haven't even tried. Will probably early in the morning tomorrow assuming wind dies down.

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