If you find yourself in the Colorado Springs area with an uncompromising desire to fish nearby, there are definitely worse places to be in. Many parts of Colorado are lake and river-less, but the lush, mountainous terrain just outside of Colorado’s second largest city is packed with streams, lakes, reservoirs, and all manner of fish.
Read on if you’ve got a hankering to fish near Colorado Springs and want to know where to go.
With fishable areas of this scenic river located under an hour’s drive from Colorado Springs, it’s a solid choice for anglers who don’t want to venture too far outside town. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Arkansas River offers stellar fishing opportunities for everyone from experienced fly fishermen and women down to young kids.
Some sections of this river are designated as “Gold Metal” waters, meaning that 60 pounds of trout or more are produced per designated acre. There are places to fish stretching from where the river empties into Lake Pueblo through Cañon City along Highway 50 and far beyond, but your best bet is to head west of Royal Gorge Mountain Park, which is still just over an hour’s drive from Colorado Springs.
This next spot is an ideal place to introduce fishing to small kids and inexperienced adults. Located 30 minutes north of town in the city of Monument, Monument Lake provides easily accessible shore fishing opportunities and a nice view of the Front Range foothills northwest of Colorado Springs.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to fish near town, this spot is for you. Recent reports state that Monument Lake has been stocked with 10,000 rainbow trout and 2,000 channel catfish, but you can find perch, bluegill, and largemouth bass here as well.
From Colorado Springs, it takes an hour to get to this reservoir, but the forested, gorgeous drive is well worth your time and puts you in close proximity to Sugarloaf Mountain and Knights Peak. Only artificial lures and flies are permitted at Penrose-Rosemont Reservoir, which is said to be home to rainbows, brook trout, and splake.
This spot feels like it’s a world away from the busy and loud nature of Colorado Springs, and you’ll find it by going southwest of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo on Old Stage Road and then Upper Beaver Creek Road. But be warned, after parking, you’ll have to hike a half-mile with your gear on foot to reach the reservoir.
Pikes Peak South Slope Recreation Area
You’ll need a permit to fish here, but by all accounts the Pikes Peak’s South Slope Recreation Area offers some of the most scenic and exciting fishing conditions near Colorado Springs. Between the need for a permit and the hour and 45 minute drive it takes to get here, many outdoor lovers skip this pristine spot, which means the fish are plentiful and the crowds are thin.
If you have an affinity for cutthroat trout, the area’s two reservoirs will be of special interest to you––Mason Reservoir is said to have an “abundance” of cutthroat trout according to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife 2020 Fishing Forecast. This area is located at a high elevation, and is only from late spring into fall.
Since this creek runs straight into the city of Manitou Springs, it’s theoretically possible (but not advised) to cast straight from the parking lot of the local Taco Bell and pull out a Brown Trout. Fountain Creek is an excellent way to scratch your fishing itch without leaving the Colorado Springs area. But if you’re after peace, quiet, and superior fishing conditions, simply head up Highway 24 past Rainbow Falls and cast out your line somewhere along the creek there.
Pikes Peak North Slope Recreation Area
Offering three sizable and scenic bodies of water to choose from, the Pikes Peak North Slope Recreation Area is rumored to be flush with rainbow, greenback cutthroat, and brook trout. Try your luck with shore fishing, or, preferably, access the deepest parts of the reservoirs with a kayak, canoe, or paddle boat.
At a third of the drive it’ll take you to get to the South Slope Recreation Area, this destination is far quicker and easier to access, but it’s also much more crowded. But judging from the online reviews, these scenic reservoirs have plenty of fish for everyone. Notable lakes include: Crystal Creek Reservoir, South Catamount Reservoir and North Catamount Reservoir.
Quail Lake Park
Described by online reviewers as “pleasantly surprising,” Quail Lake is a popular suburban fishing spot located in southern Colorado Springs near 1-25. Trout and large carp are said to swim in the lake’s waters, which are ideal for kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats. If you don’t mind crowds and the constant oceanic roar of the nearby interstate, this is an ideal spot to fish on your lunch break or bring your family to during the summer.
Offering dispersed camping, ice fishing, non-motorized boating and excellent shore fishing during the spring, summer, and fall, Skagway Reservoir is another stellar fishing destination located near Colorado Springs. However, because of the steep mountain terrain that falls between this body of water and the city, it takes an hour and 45 minutes to drive here. But those who make the trek are rewarded with stellar fall foliage, uncrowded fishing conditions, and plenty of trout.
Rampart Reservoir Recreation Area
Before we tell you too much about this place, be warned that state officials have started limiting access to its parking lot as soon as it fills up mid-day on summer weekends due to its popularity. An hour outside of Colorado Springs near Woodland Park, the Rampart Reservoir Recreation Area offers lake, pond, river, and winter ice fishing.
Reservoirs and ponds in the area are stocked with trout, which can be fished by shore or non-motorized boat. Anglers, hikers, and campers love the bulbous rock formations that line sections of Rampart Reservoir, and the striking spots of gold aspen foliage that crop up in the area every fall.
To get the most out of fishing here, it’s recommended to camp near the water to capitalize your time fishing by getting an early start in the morning. In addition to fishing, the area offers stellar hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, and plenty to do in the winter.
Thanks for checking out our favorite places to fish near Colorado Springs. Good luck and remember to check all the rules regarding flies, lures, bait, catch-and-release, fish limit, etc. to the local area. Consider these fishing spots near Pueblo for some additional ideas.