According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife annual fishing forecast for southeast Colorado, Trinidad Lake is “one of the best fishing spots in the southeast.”
The annual forecast is compiled in April and released in May. This year it trumpets the positives of fishing Trinidad Lake and other local lakes like Monument Reservoir and North Lake.
Thanks to a long-term commitment to spawning fish and aggressive trading of fish with other states, Colorado Parks and Wildlife aquatics officials say they have plenty of warm-water fish for anglers to pursue this summer.
Following are the entries for each of the mentioned fishing spots.
Monument Reservoir (40 acres)
Several trout species and Kokanee salmon are stocked every year into Monument Reservoir. This fishery should continue to be excellent in 2020. In addition to good growth rates, additional large fish (brooders) have been stocked by the Monument Resort. Kokanee salmon have been stocked since 2017, so expect to see the population continue to rebound and provide good ice fishing opportunities. Fishing in 2020 should be marked by great catches of trout and salmon with fish up to 20” for brown and 17” for rainbow trout. The kokanee salmon have high growth rates and will hopefully start to enter the higher quality size category.
North Lake (100 acres)
North Lake should provide some excellent fishing for catchable rainbow trout in 2020. Splake, when caught, should be of a large size; they have been stocked again for the past two years after almost a decade of no stockings of splake (they will be stocked in 2020 as well). Kokanee salmon have been stocked since 2017, and many fish were caught during ice fishing season. The kokanee salmon have high growth rates and will hopefully start to enter the higher quality size category. Catchable rainbow trout are stocked during the summer and early fall months and fishing is good throughout the ice free season. Ice fishing can be very good on the lake when conditions are safe for multiple species. Trout up to 20” were sampled in 2018. Please note that North Lake is restricted to the use of flies and lures only and boating is with hand, wind, or electric motors only.
Trinidad Lake (800 acres)
Trinidad Reservoir is one of the best fishing spots in the southeast because it can hold incredible fish and boasts few crowds. It has good numbers of walleye, saugeye, wiper, catfish, yellow perch and trout. Walleye and saugeye are abundant and many fish are very large. Persistent anglers could be rewarded with fish measuring 30 inches or larger and weighing over 10 lbs. Fishing in 2020 should continue to be great as populations are composed of good sized fish, and gizzard shad have been stocked for several years to boost forage. Walleye and saugeye anglers will start catching good numbers of fish in May and continue to catch these fish into July and August. Drifting jigs and nightcrawlers on the bottom is a very good technique. The largest sampled in 2019 was 31.3 inches and 11 lbs.
The wiper population is moderate, but the size of the fish in the reservoir is excellent. Fish over 20 inches in length are common with the largest sampled in 2019 measuring 25.7 inches. They can be hard to catch in Trinidad and still-fishing with chicken liver seems to be an effective technique. Bass fishing will also continue to be good into 2020, as there have been very large bass caught in gillnets and by anglers in recent years. These fish can be caught year-round with a variety of bass techniques. Please be aware of the bass regulation in place (15” minimum). Several bass fishing tournaments are held at Trinidad Reservoir each year. The largest bass sampled in 2019 was 18 inches.
Catfish numbers are low, but the quality is good with many fish measuring over 20 inches and some fish in the 10 to 18-pound range. The largest caught in 2019 was 31.3 inches and 17.67 pounds in the gillnets and a fish measuring 33.9 inches and 18.81 pounds was caught during trot line sampling. Night fishing is effective for catching these fish.
The trout fishery will remain very good with catchable fish stocked along with holdover fish in the 16 to 20-inch range. To catch trout, try using bait and lures from the shore or trolling from boats. Yellow perch is also a good species to fish for at Trinidad, as many master angler sized perch were caught by anglers in the last several years. Anglers that are willing to target yellow perch may be rewarded in 2020.
Please note that water levels will likely decline throughout the season and create some boating hazards; anglers need to be careful. Additionally, mercury levels in some sizes of walleye and saugeye in the reservoir exceed the State’s human health standard. Please see the fish consumption advisory posted at the reservoir or refer to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/wq-fish-consumption for more details.