9 Fishing Spots in Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak is a hotspot for fishing in Colorado. There are large lakes to go boating and fishing on all the way to small, secluded, high altitude reservoirs to fish and enjoy nature. I enjoy spending a day at these lakes and reservoirs just to take in the views and enjoy nature; fishing is just a bonus!

North Slope Recreation Area Fishing

north slope rec area
  • Price: $5 per person. At the gate make sure to mention you are going to the rec area and not the summit!
  • Directions: Parking. On Pikes Peak Toll Road drive just past Crystal Reservoir then take a right onto the dirt road at the parking lot/PPIHC Pit area.
  • Season: May 1st to 3rd Sunday in Oct
  • Times: 7:30AM - 6PM. Hours vary with the season, so check their site.

North slope is a great place for hiking, biking, but most importantly fishing! The North Slope Recreation Area consists of North and South Catamount Reservoir. Just out side the recreation area is Crystal Creek Reservoir which also allows fishing. The Catamount reservoirs are the more popular ones of the three, but they do not get too crowded. They all have very easy access with close parking. Most people hangout by the entrance, but there are some nice secluded spots on the fingers of the reservoirs.

The reservoirs may be on the Pikes Peak Toll Road, but when entering you can get a cheaper rate if you mention you are just going to the recreation area. There are some fishing shops in Woodland Park and Colorado Springs. The visitor center at Pikes Peak also sells bait and tackle.

The most popular catches at North Slope Reservoirs are Rainbow trout, Lake trout, and Brook trout. Because it is a reservoir in a recreation area there are a handful of restrictions: there is no wading in the water, no smoking or alcohol, pets must be on a leash, fishing the dams is prohibited. The fishing at each reservoir is individually regulated. Regular fishing rules apply, and if there are any additional regulations they will be posted at each reservoir. Also, bait (no minnows) is allowed at crystal creek and south catamount reservoirs. North catamount is limited to artificial flies and lure only.

South Slope Recreation Area Fishing

  • Price: $20 per vehicle
  • Directions: Entrace. The fastest way from Colorado Springs is to take 24 to divide then south to old victor. I prefer taking old stage from the broadmore because it is only a little longer but saves some gas.
  • Season: When ever the lakes are unfrozen. Can open as late as June.
  • Times: 7:30am to 3:00pm. Times vary and are dependent on the weather.

South Slope is a hidden gem. Because of how secluded it is and the need for reservations it is never crowded. It a great place for hiking and biking, and the high altitude reservoirs also give great views of Pikes Peak and the Almagre Mountains. In the area there is close parking near Mason Reservoir and McReynolds Reservoir.

Entrance to the recreation area involves a reservation and being let in by the ranger on duty. Reservations are made and paid online. The ranger performs scheduled patrols so there might not always be a ranger at the gate.

At the reservoirs there are plenty of cutthroat trout, but there are some additional regulations. You must have a valid Colorado fishing license and follow Colorado law. Additionally, at Mason Reservoir the possession limit is one fish 16 inches or smaller. At McReynolds Reservoir only catch and release is allowed. At both reservoirs only flies and lures are allowed and fishing at Boehmer Reservoir is prohibited.

Eleven Mile State Park Fishing

11 mile state park
  • Price: $9 vehicle day pass
  • Directions: Reservoir. You can access any side of the reservoir but the most popular is exiting 24 at Lake George then going to the north side.
  • Season: Year round!
  • Times: All day!

Eleven Mile Reservoir is a great place for fishing! It is also a popular place for boating, hiking, camping, and ice fishing. Personally, I end up there a lot for the sunset and for some star gazing. The popular entrance to the lake is on the north side where a parking permit is needed.

At Eleven Mile Reservoir you can fish for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, cutbow trout, brown trout, yellow perch, kokanee salmon, and norther pike. There is year round fishing at Eleven Mile if you do not mind some ice fishing in the winter.

There are also plenty of tournaments hosted at Eleven Mile Reservoir year round. In the spring No Name Tournament is held; In the fall there is a pike event; In the winter Cabela’s Colorado Classic is held monthly.

Within the state park there are extra restrictions that should be noted. Fishing is prohibited near the dam and is marked by buoys. Within 100 feet of the inlet it is flies and lures only as well as catch and release only. The inlet is marked by buoys as well. Fishing is also prohibited from any island or dock. The daily trout bag limit is 4 fish all under 16in. Northern Pike has no limit. Kokanee salmon is limited to 10 daily. Live minnows are prohibited. Finally, ice fishing shelters must be portable. There are some more requirements if you are planning to boat. Because of the threat of invasive species a thurough inspection of your boat is required when boating on the reservoir.

Eleven Mile Canyon Fishing

11 miles canyon
  • Price: $7 vehicle day pass
  • Directions: From Lake George, CO at US Highway 24 take County Road 96 south. After two miles veer right at the fork to stay on 96.
  • Season: Only closes due to weather
  • Times: Self pay station open during closed hours

The canyon is a scenic place to go for a drive, camp, do small hikes, rock climb, and more importantly FISH! The winding dirt road crossing over the river and going through tunnels makes for a fun experience just to explore. The canyon and river are right next to Eleven Mile State Park and the end of the road brings you to Eleven Mile Reservoir dam.

At Eleven Mile Canyon you will be fishing mostly for brown trout and rainbow trout. Pat Dorsey has a great article on seasonal strategies and different locations for fly fishing along the South Platte River in Eleven Mile Canyon.

Eleven Mile Canyon does not post any fishing restrictions. As long as you have a license and follow the law you are in the clear!

United States Air Force Academy Fishing

  • Price: $8 day pass
  • Directions: USAFA
  • Season: April thru September
  • Times: Varies

USAFA (United States Air Force Academy) is a beautiful place for hiking, scenic drives, hunting and fishing! The Academy has five lakes that are seasonally stocked. There is Deadmans lake in the north west side, Ice lake on the south side, and Kettle lakes on the south east side bellow the airfield.

The lakes at USAFA are stocked from April until September with 9-11in rainbow trout. Full information can be found on their website. Depending on the current condition access may be restricted to people currently or previously affiliated with the military. During restricted times sponsored guests are still allowed to fish on base. Permits are available on the website previously mentioned.

They do have their own special set of regulations. The daily limit is limited to 3 fish. A permit is required for second rods. Cleaning/disposing of fish into the lake is prohibited. Ice fishing is prohibited.

Rampart Reservoir Fishing

  • Price: $7 day use fee only cash or check
  • Directions: Location. The reservoir can be accessed from woodland park, but I prefer to take the more scenic route. From Garden of the Gods take Rampart Range Road up to the reservoir.
  • Season: May to Oct
  • Times: 7am to 5pm

The 500 acre reservoir is the largest body of water in Pikes National Forest. The reservoir is a great place to spend the day with hiking, boating, camping and fishing. The road to the reservoir is closed during the winter, but I love to hike and go ice skating during the winter. The reservoir has some ok views, but the best views of Pikes Peak is on the drive up from Woodland Park. The best drive up is from Garden of the Gods up Rampart Range Road. That is an easy dirt road that can be a little wash boarded.

Rampart Reservoir has rainbow smelt, rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, longnose sucker. Restrictions are minimal as long as you follow the law.

Another nearby place for fishing that is not common knowledge is Nichols Reservoir. Nichols is a short hike to the south east of Rampart. Fishing is allowed there and accessibility is not too difficult.

Skaguay Reservoir Fishing

skaguay res
  • Directions: Location
  • Season: Year round
  • Times: 24/7

Skaguay Reservoir is another hidden gem inside Pikes National Forest. The lake is easily accessable during non snowy seasons. The high altitude cold water lake has a great view of Pikes Peak and offers boating, camping, hiking, swimming and fishing. Skaguay is unique in the fact that nearly every other reservoir bans swimming, but because of the secludedness of the reservoirs swimming is allowed. Also, if the roads are not too icy the reservoir is a great place for ice fishing.

The Skaguay Reservoir is stocked with Rainbow Trout and Cutbow Trout. Brown trout is also becoming more prevalent (at 30%) and reaching over 16 inches. The northern pike is scarce but still there averaging 20 inches but reaching up to 40 inches.

Farish Recreation Area Fishing

farish rec
  • Price: $7 day use, but other options available
  • Directions:Location. Just outside of woodland park near Rampart Reservoir.
  • Season: Opens Late April
  • Times: 24/7

Farish recreation area is also known as the Air Force Academy Recreation Area. It is owned and operated by the United States Air Force Academy which means access is limited to the same people as the academy lakes. Permits are required, but if you have access there are cabins available that are on the lake and make a great weekend getaway.

Just like on the academy the lakes are stocked with rainbow trout. Reservations need to be made on their site. Restrictions are the same as on USAFA but cancellations will only charge you 10% and there is a two night minimum stay for any lodging stays.

Tarryall Reservoir Fishing


Tarryall Reservoir is 30 minutes north of Lake George and is a manmade lake that offers fishing, boating, and camping. The reservoir offers fishing on docks around the shoreline and on boats.

The lake consists of rainbow trout and northern pike. The area is the most secluded reservoir on this list so make sure to stock up on all resources as there are no stores around to restock if needed.

Fishing Regulations

There are a couple things you need to get in order before heading out fishing. First you need a fishing license, second you need to verify access, third you need to check regulations at the reservoir.

Where to get a Colorado Fishing Licnse

Parks and Wildlife has great info on getting a license, but I will give the summarized run down on what is needed. You can get a license from either their office or a issuer arguments.

How much is a Colorado Fishing License

There are a variety of fishing license options on Parks and Wildlife's website. For residents a year pass is $46.48 and for non-residents its $110.97. For a one day pass nonresidents pay $27.75 and a five day pass is $43.35.

How long are annual passes good for

The annual pass goes on sale March first and is valid until March 31 next year. This means if bought on the first day passes are valid for 13 months.

Verify Reservoir Access

Which ever reservoir you decide on check their website for opening dates. A good amount of places do not open until May or June. Some like South Slope Recreation Area do not have specific dates. They open when the reservoirs unfreeze which depends on the weather that year. Others like Rampart Reservoir may be closed via the main entrance but have a mile long trail that allows access. Also, check the road conditions before you head out. Some roads may be difficult, damaged, or snowed in. The road to South Slope or Skaguay Reservoir may be challanging to access and may require 4WD and higher clearance.

Check Local Reservoir Restrictions

The first step is to check their website for current restrictions. Restrictions can change at any time due to a variaty of reasons, such as an invasive species, weather, water level, fish population, ect. Each reservoir also has their own restrictions like some may be catch and release only for example. Be sure to check local signage when arriving because regulations are not always posted on the website or are out of date. Some websites will even just say to check local signage instead of posting current regulations.

Fishing Shops

Colorado Springs

  • Angler's Covey
  • Colorado Friends and Family Fishing
  • Tailwater Outfitters


  • Pikes Peak - Their visitor center has fishing gear

Woodland Park

  • South Platte Fly Shop

Lake George

  • Tumbling Trout