Fishing For Salmon In Colorado
Guide to fishing for Atlantic (landlocked) salmon, chinook and kokanee salmon.
Colorado offers limited salmon fishing. They cannot spawn in Colorado, so populations of salmon are replenished by stocking. Two types of Pacific salmon are stocked in lakes and streams. They are the kokanee and the chinook salmon.
The purpose of this page is to share basic information about salmon fishing and identify popular salmon waters in the state. Colorado is not typically known for its salmon fishing opportunities, as it is a landlocked state without direct access to the ocean. However, there are certain instances where salmon can be found in Colorado's waters due to stocking efforts and unique circumstances.
Kokanee salmon, a landlocked form of sockeye salmon, can be found in several reservoirs and lakes in Colorado. These fish are prized for their brilliant red color and tasty flesh. Popular locations for kokanee salmon fishing include Blue Mesa Reservoir, Eleven Mile Reservoir, and Wolford Mountain Reservoir. Anglers can target kokanee salmon using techniques such as trolling with flashy lures or using downriggers to reach deeper waters where the fish reside.
When it comes to state records, Colorado recognizes records for various fish species, including salmon. The current state record for kokanee salmon stands at over 7 pounds, caught in Blue Mesa Reservoir. It's worth noting that Colorado's salmon fishing opportunities are limited compared to states with coastal access, so record-breaking catches may not reach the same sizes as those found in Pacific salmon runs. Nonetheless, catching a trophy-sized kokanee salmon in Colorado is a memorable achievement for any angler.
While Colorado may not be known as a prime salmon fishing destination, the presence of kokanee salmon in select reservoirs provides anglers with a unique opportunity to target these prized fish. Anglers looking for an exciting challenge and the chance to experience the thrill of reeling in salmon can explore these designated locations in the state.
Salmon Fishing Waters In Colorado
Blue Mesa Reservoir, Carter Lake, Chambers Lake, Dillon Reservoir, Eleven Mile Reservoir, Grand Lake, Green Mountain Reservoir, Gross Reservoir, Lake Granby, Lake San Cristobal, McPhee Reservoir, Morrow Point Reservoir, Ridgway Reservoir, Ruedi Reservoir, Shadow Mountain Lake, Spinney Mountain Reservoir, Taylor Park Reservoir, Williams Fork Reservoir and Wolford Mountain Reservoir are the primary salmon fishing lakes in the state.
Rivers & Streams
The Upper Gunnison River valley provides the top tier of kokanee fishing in flowing water. River systems surrounding the lakes on the Colorado Front Range also provide some action.
World record: 79 lbs 2 oz
State Record: Unknown
World record: 97 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 11 lbs 0 oz
World record: 9 lbs 10 oz
State Record: 7 lbs 5 oz
Click the images and links above for species details.
Williams Fork Reservoir produced the state record chinook salmon (king).
The state record kokanee salmon came out of Blue Mesa Reservoir.
Colorado Salmon Fishing
Kokanee salmon are stocked in many Colorado waters including Beaver Creek, Eleven Mile Reservoir, Blue Mesa, Clear Creek, Grand Lake, Blue Mesa, Shadow Mountain Reservoir, Williams Fork Reservoir, Taylor Reservoirs and others.
Salmon fishing waters and information, by state.
Learn the life cycle of salmon
The more you know about the life cycle and seasonal migration of salmon, the more likely you are to be looking in the right area next time you visit Colorado salmon fishing waters. Visit the salmon fishing page for more information about the life cycle of the different species of salmon.