What time of year is good to catch Salmon in Colorado?

What time of year is good to catch Salmon in Colorado?
I know where the prime fishing locations are for catching Salmon in Colorado (Mesa lake, etc), but is there a proper time of year to go? If some live 4-5 years, then can’t you catch Salmon at any time of the year? I’ve heard you can only fish for them in the fall but don’t know how accurate that is. Just curious if there are certain times of year that are bad for Salmon fishing in Colorado or not.. Hope some one can answer!

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Answer by costacoralito
Most Salmon species span in the ocean and are not found in Colorado. However, Kokanee (land-locked Pacific sockeye salmon) are suited to the large, fluctuating mountain reservoirs of Colorado. These silver fish with black spots on the upper half of their bodies can be found swimming in compact schools feeding on zoo plankton, a food source unaffected by the drawing down of reservoirs. They turn reddish in color and males develop a “hook jaw” during the fall spawning season. Trolling with cowbells at medium depths provides angling success. Special snagging seasons are offered on some areas during spawning runs, and provide much of the catch for these delicious salmon. Kokanee die after spawning. Chambers Lake and Blue Mesa Reservoir are both listed as Kokanee hot-spots by the Colorado Department of Fish and Game.

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2 Responses to “What time of year is good to catch Salmon in Colorado?”

  1. The reservoir you are referring to is called Blue Mesa and has over 110 miles of shoreline. It is the largest man-made impoundment in Colorado. I have caught salmon there at several different times of the year. The salmon are landlocked sockeye known as kokanee which do not get as big as their anadromous counterparts. (Anadromous meaning they are born in fresh water, live in salt water and then return to the fresh to spawn.) The salmon in Blue Mesa are captured by the Colorado Division of Wildlife as they enter the streams to spawn as three or four year olds. They are then artificially spawned and when the captive numbers and egg counts are reached, the state opens up the salmon season to snagging. (They did when I lived there and I am assuming they still do. Check the regulations or call the DOW to find out for sure.) We fished for the salmon in much the same way we fished for the rainbows and brown trout which the lake is also known for. The difference being that the salmon seemed to prefer a MUCH smaller jig and bait. I found a silver-chrome headed lead-head in either 1/32 or even 1/64 ounce tipped with a short (1/2″ or so) piece of nightcrawler worked the best when suspended about 5 or 6 feet beneath a cast-a-bubble float. The fish are BRIGHT silver with red meat until they approach the spawning age and season. Then they turn bright red with black backs over green heads and tails, and the male kokanee develops the hooked nose and chin referred to as a :”kype”. (A LOT of fishermen prefer to smoke them later in the season.) They are not big fish as most other salmon go, (Almost always less than 24″) but they are fun to catch, good to eat, and when you can find them schooled up and hungry, the action can be fast and almost furious. However, they can be hard to pinpoint sometimes and then you’ll have to content yourself with catching some really nice ‘bows and browns. The alternative is dragging down-riggers for the big lake trout (mackinaw) that are also found there. And for some additional fun and fine food, consider dropping a crayfish pot or two down on the rocky bottom near the shoreline. Blue Mesa has some of the largest crayfish I have seen just about anywhere with the possible exception of Lake Tahoe on the California/Nevada border. Blue Mesa water is clean and clear, unless the winds are whipping it into white caps, and the fish and crayfish taken there are GREAT eating. It was ALWAYS one of my favorite places to fish. You are lucky to have access to it. Enjoy!

  2. Check the sea food counter at the local supermarket. It’s always a good catch for Salmon year round. :D