Jefferson Lake – Fall Fishing

The beginning of the fall season in September is always an exciting time of year. Actually, fall is my favorite season! The leaves are changing in the Colorado mountains and the weather is turning cool and crisp. It feels good to step outside with that cool breeze hitting your face as you take pictures of the beautiful yellow and red leaves on the trees.


The trees are spectacular and we look forward to them every year, but, we can’t go to the mountains to just look at leaves on the trees. We do have to go fishing!
We went to Jefferson Lake Recreation Area, in the Pike National Forest, to try our luck at catching some Rainbow Trout, and if we are really lucky, we might catch a Lake Trout.

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The elevation of Jefferson Lake is 10,685 ft. above sea level, so dressing in layers is a must. The mornings are chilly even in the summer. The far side of the lake gets the sun first, but we always head for the closest side in the shade because the fishing is better and we have a secret fishing spot where we have caught Lake Trout in the past.
Note: We use a bottom fishing rig with both a single hook and a treble hook. The single hook has a night crawler on it and the treble hook has Power Bait “Corn Scent” on it. We have found that the “Corn Scent” works best.

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We arrived at the State Park entrance around 9 a.m. and paid our $7 entry fee. The woman at the entrance was very friendly and let us know the fishing has been great and that the guest who just left saw a mountain goat on the road. She also let us know there are several moose in the area and they like to frequent the beaver dams for water between 12pm and 2pm.

When we arrived at the lake, the water was choppy and the wind was blowing so hard it looked like we were at the ocean. The view of Jefferson Lake is spectacular and is one of the highest lakes accessible by road in Colorado, so it seems to get high winds often. We decided not to brave the wind and head back down the mountain to fish the beaver dams. The beaver dams on Jefferson Creek are located on both sides of the road and the fishing is pretty good for Brook Trout. Brook Trout are always fun to catch and release.

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On our way down to the beaver dams we were lucky enough to see a young moose and capture some great photos.

We also decided to hike down to Jefferson Creek below the beaver dams, where we caught Brook Trout and Brown Trout. We used fly rods with size 6 bait holder hooks and night crawlers. The Brookies were pretty aggressive when the worm hit the water.

Note: There are public restroom and picnic tables along creeks and at the lake.
We hiked up and down the creek until we came to a place where we could no longer fish. It was a great day fishing even though we were not able to try for the state record Lake Trout out of Jefferson Lake. Next time!

Note: It’s predicted that the next state record Lake Trout is going to come out of Jefferson Lake.

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We have been going to Jefferson Lake for many years now. The best time to go is during the week. It can get crowded on the weekends just like many places in Colorado. We have also discovered the best fishing is in late spring and early summer as well as in to the fall. These times are best for the Lake Trout because they are more active in the shallow water at this time.

Note: This is a great lake to fish from canoes and kayaks and is very family friendly. The state usually stocks the lake in the summer with trout.