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Place for crawdads and salamanders for kids

Post By: Double Dee      Posted: 5/28/2020 10:35:50 AM     Points: 0    
Looking for a place close to South Denver (Castle Rock) to take kids 14,10yr old with nets to catch crawdads and salamanders etc. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 Reply by: brookieflyfisher      Posted: May. 28, 11:26:14 AM     Points: 6130    
Salamanders are fairly rare (generally you have to find vernal pools and ponds that are devoid of fish), but any ol neighborhood ditch or creek will have crawfish. I used to walk down to the local "crick" as a kid and catch invertebrates and crawfish all the time. Shouldn't be too hard to find something like that near you, possibly within walking distance of your home.
 Reply by: shiverfix      Posted: May. 28, 12:33:18 PM     Points: 3764    
I've lived in Colorado (mostly) my entire life, and I can count on two hands the number of times I've seen a salamander here, one of those being in the hallway of a condo complex next to a swampy area. Many ponds have lots of frogs though, if that will quench the amphibious thirst.

As bbf said, any body of water that isn't temporary will probably have crawfish in it. Try turning over rocks in Plum Creek. Any community pond you have access to will likely have them. Not a lot of ponds in the Castle Rock area. You could take the trip down to Palmer or up to the South Park Ponds.
 Reply by: troutfinder      Posted: May. 28, 12:57:26 PM     Points: 189    
yeah it stinks we don't have salamanders. I keep turning over rocks to no avail. I came from the smokies area back east which I think might be world HQ for salamanders...spotted, striped, orange, everything, so I miss them here. we even had hellbenders in the trout streams (imagine a 16-18 inch long salamander/mudpuppy thicker than a banana)! We took a trip last year to vermont and I was down along the battenkill and i think i turned over about 5 rocks to catch 2 salamanders in a minute.
 Reply by: Beavis      Posted: May. 28, 1:02:23 PM     Points: 10    
The public fishing dock at Aurora reservoir is a great place to get crayfish. A hot dog paper clip fishing rig works great—or any make shift trap. Also, the creek running through Castle wood Canyon state park is full of Crawdads. Simply attach a paper clip to a kiddy fishing pole and bait it with a hot dog chunk. Lower the bait in the shadows under the boulders and can catch all you want!
 Reply by: bobcats92      Posted: May. 28, 5:05:25 PM     Points: 333    
Not exactly the location you're looking for, but if you're up for a day trip, Lily Lake in RMNP has a huge population of Paedomorphic Tiger Salamanders. It's on the south side by Allenspark. I stumbled on this place one day driving around looking for spots. Much to my chagrin, the entire lake is devoid of any fish. There are however hundreds of Paedomorphic Tiger Salamanders swimming around the lake, which basically means they never lose their gills and move onto land. It's a pretty unique sight, 4-8" Salamanders swimming around an entire lake. I wrote it off because there's no fish there, but it is a beautiful place, and definitely something a kid would love.

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 Reply by: KevinB      Posted: May. 28, 5:18:36 PM     Points: 40    
Crawdads are in most bodies of water. Surprisingly , the largest number of salamanders I've ever seen was at the Front Range power plant (the gas fired plant right next to the Ray Nixon power plant). They were everywhere under scrap wood, metal etc. Strange, because it's pretty dry down there.
 Reply by: jibber      Posted: May. 29, 7:08:46 AM     Points: 14895    
Paint Brush pond (by the Grange) in Castle Rock has crayfish and lots of them. Also bullfrogs. The pond also has a huge population of gold fish. You may have to bait them to get them.
 Reply by: troutfinder      Posted: May. 29, 7:21:52 AM     Points: 189    
hey bobcat, just fyi lilly lake used to have tons of cutthroats in it, stocked by the DPW. I fished it not many years ago and every time we stopped by or hiked there you would see up to 10 guys on float tubes and fish rises everywhere. I haven't fished in at least 3 years so maybe there was a winter kill but you can find tons of stuff online about that place having cutties...they would even have signs closing off certain shore lines to fishing due to the cuttie spawn
 Reply by: brookieflyfisher      Posted: May. 29, 6:08:46 PM     Points: 6130    
Very cool bobcat! Yes, troutfinder, Lily Lake winterkilled some years ago. I remember seeing nice fish in there as a kid.

I believe the NPS decided to keep it fishless because of frequent winterkills and an effort to preserve the "paedomorphic" salamanders (which a lot of people call "axolotls" or "mudpuppies"). It's a little sad to lose a nice fishery, but there are plenty of lakes with fish and not too many places with rare amphibians any more, so I think it's a worthy trade-off since the place killed out occasionally anyways.
 Reply by: bron      Posted: May. 29, 6:17:34 PM     Points: 37348    
Hine Lake is full of crawdads. Ive captured 2 salamanders over the years and let them go. Dont have a place they are plentiful.
 Reply by: rkhancock      Posted: May. 29, 9:03:10 PM     Points: 24631    
Crawdads are everywhere in numbers. Find clear, rocky, weedy lakes and shine lights in the water at night till you find big groups of em.

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