Fishing: ‘We’ve been catching some pigs’ |

Fishing: ‘We’ve been catching some pigs’

Tonya Bina

Dale Casteel, guide and owner of Beacon Landing Marina, Lake Granby, caught this 39-inch, 29-pound lake trout on Lake Granby on May 16.

The area’s lakes and rivers are yielding big catches during the spring thaw.

Anglers from Granby and Grand Lake are reporting whopper lake trout being taken from shallower waters now set free from winter’s hold.

“Springtime is traditionally a really good time of year for fishing,” said Hot Sulphur Springs Colorado Division of Wildlife Aquatic Biologist Jon Ewert. “It’s one of the only times of year anglers can catch really large lake trout in shallow water near the shore.”

Fish remain mostly dormant during the winter for survival, then come springtime when the ice melts away and surface waters become warmer, their feeding intensifies.

Because the ice came off of Lake Granby later than normal this year, Ewert predicts good fishing conditions should keep up until at least early June.

“We’ve been catching some pigs,” said Lake Granby angler Steve Brenner, of Granby, “and we still have a couple good weeks of really good fishing. Right after the ice is off is definitely the best time.”

Brenner said he counted as many as 50 boats on Lake Granby on Saturday, May 14. “People are so excited this time of year.”

Anglers have been reporting fishing catches in the 35-inch to 37-inch range out of 4 feet of water in as recent as May 17.

On Grand Lake, “deep-diving rapalas and crank baits fished in about 20-feet of water have been producing 20, 30, 40 pound lakers,” said Doug Birkhole, a fishing guide from Rocky Mountain Outfitters, Grand Lake.

The cold snowy temperatures combined with a large volume of water that was moving through the channel of Shadow Mountain Lake into Grand Lake “pushes the bait into the flats and causes the big fish to come up,” said Outfitters owner Jim Gasnor.

Although sport anglers enjoy catching these unusually large fish, most choose to release them. Fat content of such fish can render rather oily meat when cooked.

Mid-range sized fish between 16 inches to 22 inches are deemed best for eating.

The population of these sized lake trout is booming in Lake Granby, according to Ewert. “They’ve been very successful spawning the last two years,” he said. For 16-inch to 22-inch Mackinaw, “We encourage people to harvest the bag limit.” Ewert said, which is four per person.

“We need that to keep the lake in balance,” he said.

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext.19603.