The best time to get out fishing is well…anytime, but the summer at the Colorado high mountain lakes is remarkable. The weather is crisp and cool and the fish are biting. Jefferson lake in mid-June was no exception. The lake was recently stocked. We caught several beautiful Rainbow and Cutbow Trout with an average size of 12″. The lake also holds Brookies and Lake Trout.
We have been going to Jefferson Lake for many years in the summer and fall and we can honestly say the fishing was the best we have ever experienced, catching ~60 fish in 4 hours. The lake is located in Pike National Forest off US Highway 285. There is a $7.00 fee for entering, so bring a little cash to put in the envelope.
The elevation of Jefferson is 10,692 ft, is surrounded by tall pines and has an easy walking trail around the lake. It also has a boat ramp for small non-motorized watercraft. The lake is family friendly and is a great place for kids and beginners. The farther around the lake you go, the fewer people you encounter.
Jefferson Lake is a popular destination and has several campgrounds, but if you get there early, you can get a good fishing spot and enjoy the day. For some reason, the area by the parking lot is always packed, maybe it’s because there is a bathroom nearby. Don’t be affraid to venture away from that area and take a short hike to a better spot. We like fishing to the right of the parking area just beyond the tree that hangs over the trail. You could also hike to the head of the lake where the stream comes in.
We fished with fly rods using small white dry flies and bead-head wooly buggers in the morning with some success. Later in the day, we fished with nightcrawlers on size 8 hooks with plenty of bites. We also used spinning reels with light rods with spinners and Cast Masters; no luck with lures.
The fish were mainly concentrated around the edges of the lake. When the sun is shinning in the clear water of this lake, you can clearly see the fish chasing after your bait or fly.
We hope you have a great time and catch a lot of fish. Please refer to the CPW Regulation Site for bag limts and licenses. We practice catch and release with all our fish in locations like this. We use a plastic lined net and handle the fish with care for others to catch. Visit the CPW site for the stocking report.
You can read about our experience fishing Lake Jefferson in the fall, CLICK HERE.
Fish…FUN…Leave no Trace