With dam and spillway repair work completed and water levels high enough to support recreational fishing, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has resumed regular rainbow trout stocking at the Haviland Lake State Wildlife Area.
Haviland Lake ( [log in for link]
) was drained in 2019 so work could be conducted on the dam and outlet structure. Work passed final inspections last summer to allow the property to resume normal operations, but a lack of snowpack meant the reservoir only took in a small amount of water in 2021.
The water level at the reservoir has come up considerably this year thanks to spring runoff in Elbert Creek. Still, it remains about 3½ feet below the spillway.
"We are optimistic, but we don’t know that the reservoir will totally fill this year,” said CPW property technician Pat Hayden. "Over the winter, we went from around just under the seven-foot mark, and now we’re at about 10½ feet. We’ve definitely got a lot more water than last year with water up to the edge of the gravel boat ramp, so that’s why we are ready to go ahead and start stocking it. We’re happy to be getting back to normal.”
CPW has historically stocked Haviland Lake with rainbow trout four to six times per summer. It was stocked only once in June 2021 because of low water levels, and that had been the reservoir’s only stocking since June 28, 2019.
The reservoir was stocked for the first time this year on May 6 with 2,074 rainbow trout at an average length of 10 inches. The fish came from the Durango Fish Hatchery. Haviland Lake is scheduled to be stocked similarly three more times this summer.
"We are happy to have Haviland back,” said Jim White, CPW aquatic biologist in the Durango area. "It’s a beautiful local fishery enjoyed by many.”
The 208-acre reservoir is 18 miles north of Durango on U.S. Highway 550. It is managed by CPW, while the U.S. Forest Service manages the campground.
The reservoir supports multiple recreational opportunities including fishing, motorless boating and paddleboarding. A valid hunting or fishing license or State Wildlife Area pass is required for everyone 16 or older accessing this state wildlife area.