Fishing Near Denver: 6 Ideal Getaways!

Mar 12, 2021 | 6 minute read Comments
Reading Time: 6 minutes

It’s no secret that Denver anglers are among the luckiest in the country. Serving as a hub for countless angling adventures, the Mile High City has filled many anglers’ bucket lists over the years. Nowadays, fishing near Denver is also a perfect way to stay active while avoiding the crowds. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best fishing spots close to home.

a panorama of Dillon Lake near Silverthorne, Colorado

Waterton Canyon

Only 30 miles south from downtown Denver, Waterton Canyon is a great place to fish if you’re short on time. The canyon shelters a winding trail that runs along the South Platte River, and is home to some truly spectacular wildlife. 

bighorn sheep in Waterton Canyon, Colorado

From blue heron to bighorn sheep and mule deer, there’s a lot to see and enjoy. Don’t wander too far off from the trail, though – the steep cliffs of the Canyon are home to mountain lions, too!

Fishing-wise, this part of the South Platte lives up to its reputation. You can enjoy fly fishing from the shallows or stay dry and drop a line from the handicapped-accessible fishing pier. You can also head down the canyon and cast for Trout at Strontia Springs Lake. Did you know that this place is responsible for Denver’s water supply?

Georgetown Lake

An hour’s drive from home will take you to a quintessential fishery of the Centennial State. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, this place is ideal for a weekend getaway. Whether it’s strictly fishing you’re looking for or an all-round outdoor adventure, the alpine surroundings of Georgetown have your number.

Georgetown Lake, Colorado

Just outside of town, Georgetown’s namesake is a pristine lake that happens to be one of the best Trout fishing spots in the state. There are a number of handicaped-accessible fishing docks, but you can also pick your spot along the well-maintained lakeside trail. If you’re up for a workout, you can take a rowing boat and drop those lures right where you want ‘em!

If you’re visiting during wintertime, bring an auger and get ready for an epic day of ice fishing. The lake starts to freeze around November, but it typically takes a few weeks for the ice to thicken enough for you to stand on it. The action will have your blood flowing from the get-go, but if you start feeling frosty, a bowl of hot soup from the nearby restaurant will sort you right out. 

Cheesman Canyon

This one’s for the die-hard fly angler. A 90-minute drive southwest from downtown Denver, Cheesman Canyon is one of Colorado’s most pristine fisheries. Here, the boulder-dotted shoreline of the South Platte is surrounded by leaning pines and willows and steep towering cliffs. If there was ever an epitome for fishing in the wild, this is it.

Cheesman Canyon, one of the best places to fish near Denver

To get to the canyon, you’ll follow a 1.5-mile trek that will bring you face to face with deer, raccoons, and all sorts of colorful lizards. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a bald eagle!

Perched atop one of the rocks, you’ll have an excellent vantage point for catching Trout. This part of the river is teeming with Rainbows, but you can also find a Brownie here and there. The canyon sees a strict catch-and-release policy, so make sure you return any fish you catch unharmed. 

If you’re up for a stroll, the historic Cheesman Dam is just around the corner. Take a step back in time as you check out this impressive 211-foot work of stone. Back in 1905 when it was built, the dam was the tallest of its kind in the whole world!

Cherry Creek State Park

If you’re looking for a family-friendly fishing spot that’s literally in your backyard, look no further than Cherry Creek State Park. This place combines action-packed angling with all the creature comforts you need, making it ideal for a relaxing day on the water.

an aerial view of Cherry Creek State Park, Colorado. The park is a popular spot for fishing near Denver

You can start your day by renting a boat or kayak at the Pelican Bay Marina. As soon as you hit the water, you’ll find yourself on top of critters like Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Rainbow Trout, and Walleye. If you prefer casting from shore, the park offers plenty of access points to the reservoir.

When it’s time to give the reels a rest, you can hit the beach or check out the local pub. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, you can enjoy the nearby campground and picnic area. The park doesn’t just offer the “usual” attractions, mind you.

You can take the kids for a horseback riding lesson, and even leave them there as you hop on a jet ski and do some riding of your own. And if that’s not your thing, you can test your marksmanship at the park’s shooting range.

Blue River

You’re probably thinking how on earth could a whole river be considered a “fishing spot.” And you’re right! Pinpointing where exactly to cast a line on a seemingly never-ending stream of water can be daunting. Unless you’re fishing the Blue River, that is.

Blue River, Colorado

Here’s the scoop: the 34-mile section of the river between Dillon Reservoir and Kremmling is officially designated as a Gold Medal Water. In other words, these magnificent waters house some of the largest Trout you’ll ever see. Throw in some beautiful Kokanee Salmon, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a bucket-list trip!

The 90-minute drive to the river will put you within spitting distance of some magnificent 14ers. Once you reach the river, you can make your base in the town of Silverthorne. Those with a more adventurous spirit can stock up and head 6 miles up the road to spend the night at the Blue River Campground.

One thing you should be aware of is that only lures and artificial flies are allowed on the Blue. The water level can vary so make sure you check local fishing reports before heading out.

Bear Creek Lake Park

Some of the locales we mentioned are truly legendary angling battlegrounds. But what if you’re not looking for a hall-of-fame catch? Perhaps your idea of fishing near Denver is a more laid-back affair. 

Bear Creek Lake Park

If only there was a place where you can catch and keep loads of different fish and not spend a lot of time getting there. Well, you’re in luck because just outside Lakewood, Bear Creek Lake offers that and much more.

First of all, the variety of species on offer is pretty much second-to-none. How’s this for a list: Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Common Carp, Perch, Saugeye, Walleye, and Rainbow Trout. 

The fun doesn’t stop there. You can take in the sights on one of the many walking, cycling, and horseback riding trails. When you’re ready for a breather, kick back and fire up a grill at one of the local picnic areas. And if you want to make it a weekend, you can spend a night under the stars in the Park’s campgrounds.

The Perfect Getaway

Between narrow mountain streams and expansive lakes and rivers, Denver’s fishing grounds seem to have something for every angler. Whether you’re looking for a hotspot that’s right under your nose, or a more remote venue well worth driving to, your ideal fishing getaway is just waiting to happen.

a dirt road following the South Platte River in Waterton Canyon, Colorado

Speaking of remote venues, it goes without saying that the further you’re willing to drive, the more awesome fishing spots you’ll find. Wherever you are, though, big fish are never far. So, grab your rod or find a guide near you and get out there!

So there you have it. What’s your favorite spot to go fishing near Denver? Ever visited one of these beautiful places yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

Comments (2)
  • Robert HallCan

    Mar 22, 2021

    Can’t wait for the season to start. Can you inform me of what lakes have boat rentals.

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      Mar 23, 2021

      Hi Robert,

      Thanks for reading.

      Horsetooth and Dillon Reservoir are two lakes you can rent a boat on. Both are just over an hour away from downtown Denver.

      Tight lines!

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