South Park Valley Reservoirs Custom Fly Selection
The custom fly selection you are about to order will consist of a dozen hand selected flies from the fly bins of Anglers All. These flies will be selected by an Anglers All staff member using the knowledge, research and experience of the collective Anglers All team, based on the month you will be fishing in South Park. These selections will include nymphs, midges, dry flies and a streamer or two. Your package will include your ordered flies in a reusable Anglers All fly cup, as well as a list with names and descriptions of your flies. The dozen you will receive will not guarantee fish caught, but include the flies we would bring to the water if we were to fish it with you!
The South Park Basin
Situated between the Rampart and Sawatch mountain ranges, South Park is a special destination. Characterized by rolling plains and mountain meadows, this area is so magnificent, it looks like it belongs on a postcard. Though Colorado is home to a large number of cold, stillwater fisheries, the lakes in South Park are arguably the most productive - and, as a group, easily the most popular.
Now, there are a few things you need to know about South Park if you don’t already. The same open spaces that create the iconic views also allow the wind to tear through the region unchecked. The wind is a major factor in the South Park area and something that must be prepared for on every trip.
South Park is also well known for its cold temperatures. The area can be downright brutal at times, especially during the heart of the winter. It is wise to frequently check the weather conditions before loading up your vehicle - the forecast here can change in an instant.
But luckily, if you’re exploring South Park’s stillwater fisheries, there’s a good chance you won’t be exposed to the gnarly conditions mentioned above. The lakes will begin to freeze when the temperatures start to dip in mid to late Fall, taking them off the radars of fly fishermen until ice-off begins in late Spring (all depending on the weather conditions of the given year).
While the lakes in the South Park area all have a set of shared characteristics, each stillwater fishery has its own unique traits as well. For a closer look at each lake, check out the descriptions below.
Spinney Mountain Reservoir - “Spinney” is the 2,520-acre lake located above the Dream Stream section of the South Platte River and downstream of the confluence of the Middle & South Forks of the South Platte.
Opening day at Spinney is a sight to see. With no ice fishing allowed during the cold Colorado winter, the resident trout go months without seeing an angler. But once the date for opening day is announced, things get crazy. Anglers will line up outside of Spinney Mountain State Park well before sunrise just to get their boats on the water.
When considering the average size of trout in Spinney, it’s easy to see why the crowding occurs - rainbow trout over 5 lbs. are a common occurrence. Landing a 24” trout in the Front Range sections of the South Platte River can prove to be an arduous task. But landing a 24” in trout in Spinney is just business as usual!
SPECIES: Rainbow Trout, Snake River Cutthroat Trout, Brown Trout, Kokanee Salmon, & Northern Pike
NOTE: A Colorado State Parks Pass is required to fish Spinney.
Antero Reservoir - “Antero” is the 2,000-acre lake located near Antero Junction, sandwiched between HWY 285 & HWY 24. The reservoir also lies on the South Fork of the South Platte River.
Perhaps the most underrated of the fisheries in the South Park basin, Antero is the first of several reservoirs along the South Platte River. After receiving a renovation in the late 90’s that saw the entire reservoir drained and cleaned up, Antero has been rebuilt and continues to progress into a premiere piece of stillwater. As a high plains reservoir, Antero is chock-full of all the nutrients required for the resident trout population to grow fat and happy!
SPECIES: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout, and Snake River Cutthroat Trout.
Eleven Mile Reservoir - “Eleven Mile” is the 3,300-acre lake located above Eleven Mile Canyon and below the Dream Stream section of the South Platte River.
When you think about Eleven Mile, most fly fishermen think about the Eleven Mile Canyon section of the South Platte River. The reservoir mostly flies under the radar due to its lack of restrictions; Eleven Mile is popular with bait fishermen and is not limited to strict Catch & Release practices.
But if you do choose to take the fly rod out onto Eleven Mile, whether from the bank or a boat, be sure to bring the big guns. 7-9 wt. rods are preferred, with a 6 wt. almost being too light for this water. The reason: Eleven Mile Reservoir is nutrient-rich and harbors some BIG fish. 20” rainbows are average, 5-10 lb. carp can be seen cruising, and, if you’re persistent, you might just find that 20 lb. pike of a lifetime.
SPECIES: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Snake River Cutthroat Trout, Northern Pike, Kokanee Salmon, & Carp
NOTE: A Colorado State Parks Pass is required to fish Eleven Mile.
Tarryall Reservoir - “Tarryall” is the 180-acre lake located roughly halfway between Jefferson and Lake George on Tarryall Road. Tarryall Creek flows from the bottom of the reservoir and eventually feeds into the South Platte River.
By far the smallest of the 4 reservoirs, Tarryall goes unnoticed by many anglers. Located on the northern boundary of South Park at an elevation of 8,860 ft., this small lake is somewhat off the beaten path compared to Spinney, Antero, & Eleven Mile. While the resident trout do not grow nearly as large as the brutes of the larger lakes, the fish in Tarryall receive far less pressure. That said, with Tarryall’s abundance of vegetation, the fish still have the potential to grow into monsters - they’re just the exception, instead of the rule.
SPECIES: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, & Northern Pike