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Fishing For Salmon In Colorado

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Guide to fishing for kokanee salmon.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Colorado Lake Fishing For Salmon

Colorado offers limited salmon fishing. They cannot spawn in Colorado, so populations of salmon are replenished by stocking. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife stocks Kokanee salmon in lakes and streams throughout the state to maintain great fishing for salmon in CO.

Salmon Fishing Options

Kokanee Salmon

Kokanee Salmon

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. They are not the same as the ocean-run salmon species, but they still provide an exciting angling experience. Fish for them around structure with distinct drop-offs and depth changes. Typically kokanee average one to two pounds. They are plankton feeders and very sensitive to water temperature. They school in lakes at depths which remain ideal temperatures. Once this depth is identified, schools can be found where they are easily caught. Use small lures trolled at the appropriate depth. The can also be caught using corn, but the main way they are caught is using flashy lures which they attack when the lure intrudes their space. Kokanee salmon are known for their hard-fighting nature, making them a sought-after catch among anglers. The current Colorado state record for kokanee salmon stands at over 7 pounds, caught in Blue Mesa 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.

Salmon Fishing Waters In Colorado

Kokanee salmon are a popular sport fish in Montana and can be found in several bodies of water such as Barker Reservoir, Beaver Creek Reservoir, Blue Mesa Reservoir, Cheesman Reservoir, Clear Creek Reservoir, Crystal Creek Reservoir, Eleven Mile Reservoir, Green Mountain Reservoir, Gross Reservoir, Lake Granby, McPhee Reservoir, Monument Reservoir, Morrow Point Reservoir, Ridgway Reservoir, Williams Fork Reservoir and Wolford Mountain Reservoir.

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.

Kokanee Salmon

Kokanee salmon

World record: 9 lbs 10 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 5 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

The state record kokanee salmon came out of Blue Mesa Reservoir.

About The Pacific Salmon Family

Pacific Salmon are born in and remain in freshwater streams for the early years of life. The number varies by species. Afterward they migrate to the Pacific Ocean waters where they bulk up and prepare for their once in a lifetime spawning run up the freshwater stream where they were born. They will instinctively return to their birthplace, spawn and die. They are found in the streams which empty into the ocean, and adjoining ocean waters.

The preferred method for catching salmon is normally fly fishing in flowing water. Depending on the activity level, salmon may be caught on wet or dry flies. For more details check here for articles about fly fishing.

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.

Salmon Organizations

Pacific Salmon Commission

Pacific Salmon Foundation


Salmon fishing waters and information, by state.

AK Salmon Fishing CA Salmon Fishing CO Salmon Fishing ID Salmon Fishing IL Salmon Fishing IN Salmon Fishing MA Salmon Fishing ME Salmon Fishing
MI Salmon Fishing MN Salmon Fishing MT Salmon Fishing NC Salmon Fishing ND Salmon Fishing NE Salmon Fishing NH Salmon Fishing
NJ Salmon Fishing NM Salmon Fishing NV Salmon Fishing NY Salmon Fishing OH Salmon Fishing OR Salmon Fishing PA Salmon Fishing
RI Salmon Fishing SD Salmon Fishing VT Salmon Fishing WA Salmon Fishing WI Salmon Fishing WY Salmon Fishing

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.

Best salmon fishing waters in Colorado!