Grand Mesa lake in Colorado

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing the Grand Mesa Lakes in Colorado

Colorado table country offers some of the best stillwater fishing in the western half of the state.

Sprawling south and west through Grand Mesa National Forest, the Grand Mesa Lakes are a diverse group of 300 finger lakes in the region that are rife with trout and tourists year round.

If you aren't a fan of crowds or company, head out further on the back roads and into the more remote areas of the Grand Mesa for plenty of rainbows, browns, and cutthroats.

Colorado's Grand Mesa lakes are perfect for camping, canoeing and fly fishing.

Majestic peaks soar in the distance as you make your way south along 65 on the western edge of the mesa country, and the 10,000-foot elevation isn't the only thing that will take your breath away on a bright day.

The Grand Mesa Lake itself provides excellent clarity and visibility throughout the prime fishing season due to its altitude, low temperature and low concentration of nutrients for plant life in the water. So, as long as you don't visit right after thaw and runoff, you should be able to see clearly to fishing depth on a sunny day.

Grand Mesa Lakes Map and Fishing Access Sites

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Alexander Lake: 39.040070, -107.965562
Atkinson Creek: 39.100309, -107.893292
Atkinson Reservoir: 39.094847, -107.882134
Bailey Reservoir: 39.021401, -107.742230
Baron Lake: 39.039803, -107.952859
Beaver Lake: 39.048182, -108.090057
Big Creek Campground: 39.078458, -107.883940
Big Creek Reservoir 1: 39.080724, -107.882306
Big Eggleston Lake: 39.043803, -107.944963
Big Meadows Reservoir: 39.097112, -107.957837
Blue Lake: 38.944808, -108.159582
Bonham Reservoir: 39.099777, -107.903421
Bonita Creek: 39.044336, -107.850463
Bull Basin Reservoir 1: 39.068064, -108.023583
Bull Creek: 39.075793, -108.021352
Bull Creek Reservoir 1: 39.065461, -108.015652
Bull Creek Reservoir 2: 39.063845, -108.019429
Bull Creek Reservoir 5: 39.082989, -108.023240
Butts Lake: 39.058867, -107.939126
Buzzard Creek: 39.244037, -107.680432
Carson Lake: 38.997525, -108.106839
Cedar Mesa Reservoir: 39.051002, -107.844455
Clear Lake: 38.995123, -108.066327
Coal Creek: 38.976843, -108.211767
Cobbet Lake: 39.041003, -107.986333
Cobbett Lake Campground: 39.041303, -107.983203
Colby Horse Park Reservoir: 39.081523, -107.795274
Cole Reservoir 1: 39.056734, -107.823512
Cottonwood Creek: 39.084988, -107.969338
Cottonwood Lake 1: 39.074061, -107.968652
Cottonwood Lake 2: 39.079791, -107.983586
Cottonwood Lake 4: 39.072728, -107.948567
Cottonwood Lake 5: 39.087386, -107.951314
Cottonwood Lake Campground: 39.072530, -107.963440
Crag Crest Campground: 39.049002, -107.937562
DeCamp Reservoir: 39.079791, -107.967107
Deep Slough Lake & Sheep Lake: 39.028202, -107.989080
Deep Ward Lake: 39.036203, -107.980325
Dirty George Creek: 38.991509, -108.048719
Dogfish Reservoir: 39.035936, -107.682149
Doughspoon Reservoir (1 & 2): 38.898331, -108.127825
Doughty Reservoir: 39.014999, -107.727296
Dugger Reservoir: 38.914428, -108.105681
East Fork, Leroux Creek: 39.019401, -107.698114
Finney Cut Lake 1: 39.076460, -107.829349
Finny Cut Lake 2: 39.083256, -107.831409
Forty Acre Lake: 39.076326, -107.915780
Goodenough Reservoir: 39.039537, -107.678201
Granby Reservoir (4, 5, 10 & 11): 38.999392, -108.028218
Granby Reservoir 7: 38.993465, -108.045441
Hunter Reservoir: 39.060733, -107.769181
Island Lake: 39.037670, -107.998349
Island Lake Campground: 39.031424, -108.008548
Juanita Reservoir: 38.966700, -108.279059
Jumbo Campground: 39.053918, -108.094053
Kannah Creek: 38.973640, -108.180868
Kenny Creek Reservoir: 39.113763, -107.807633
Kiser Creek & Kiser Slough Reservoir: 39.023668, -107.947537
Kitson Reservoir: 39.080724, -107.949082
Lanning Lake: 39.067531, -107.801454
Leon Creek: 39.174472, -107.807548
Leon Lake: 39.070996, -107.811067
Leon Park Reservoir (Sissie Lake): 39.072595, -107.834842
Lily Lake: 39.069930, -107.954232
Little & Big Battlement Reservoir: 38.994056, -108.056371
Little Eggleston Lake: 39.053135, -107.929341
Little Gem Reservoir: 39.028202, -108.004186
Lost Lake: 39.038229, -108.094664
Lost Lake: 39.101109, -107.824628
Mesa Creek: 39.052468, -108.099629
Mesa Lake: 39.044838, -108.088795
Middle Leon Creek: 39.075127, -107.799909
Monument Creek: 39.110300, -107.759225
Monument Reservoir 1: 39.106038, -107.744290
Morris Reservoir: 38.918435, -108.106196
Mosquito Creek: 39.309282, -107.538297
Neversweat Reservoir: 39.089918, -107.938954
Overland Reservoir: 39.084188, -107.646272
Park Creek: 39.168750, -107.794330
Pitcairn Reservoir: 38.910955, -108.114521
Porter Reservoir 1: 38.923443, -108.100187
Reed Reservoir: 39.033670, -107.946851
Reservoir Park: 39.331061, -107.483193
Rim Rock Lake: 39.022868, -108.009336
Rock Lake: 39.132540, -107.829091
Rock Lake: 39.132807, -107.829005
Sackett Reservoir: 39.066064, -107.833640
Sheep Creek: 38.974708, -108.142416
Silver Lake: 39.080857, -107.920758
South Mesa Lake: 39.041372, -108.091971
Spruce Grove Campground: 39.048752, -108.080063
Sunset Lake: 39.050598, -108.095153
Trio Reservoir: 39.047136, -107.832782
Twin Lake 1: 39.065665, -107.844112
Ward Creek: 39.028469, -107.997663
Ward Creek Reservoir: 39.017533, -107.997319
Water Dog Reservoir: 39.057267, -108.084180
Weir & Johnson Reservoir: 39.065131, -107.826945
Weir and Johnson Campground: 39.065748, -107.831562
West Divide Creek: 39.275272, -107.498471
West Fork Surface Creek: 39.034336, -107.856986
West Leon Creek: 39.095647, -107.792527
Willow Creek: 39.147053, -107.672193
Y & S Reservoir: 39.054335, -107.808578
Youngs Creek Lake: 39.121488, -107.825315
Youngs Creek Reservoir 3: 39.043936, -107.917497

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Best Places to Fish the Grand Mesa Lakes

Most comfortable access to the more popular and more concentrated lakes is via Highway 65 South from 70 West near DeBeque. This route will take you through the town of Mesa and along the Grand Mesa Lakes Byway, which feeds off into multiple public parking areas, resorts, RV parks, and campgrounds galore.

You might have to make your way further out along the banks away from civilization and the noise by the more popular lakes, but it's still not too tough to find a quiet spot.

Further out along Lakeview Drive, you can make your way towards the eastern section of the lakes, many of which are local reservoirs that hold stocks of fish that don't see too many anglers throughout the year due to the long drive out to them.

If you'd rather not share the water or would like plenty of space to yourself, definitely check out the reservoir country in the eastern stretch of Grand Mesa National Forest.

Head out Highway 260 East through the northeastern corridor for best results. Kitson Reservoir south of Grand Mesa itself is a lesser-known gem of this region, so you may want to start your exploration here.

Best Time to Fish the Grand Mesa Lakes

Late April through November are the best time to get out on the Grand Mesa during the year, with plenty of active midges, callibaetis, mayfly, and caddis hatches throughout the warmer months. 

You can fish Grand Mesa in the winter time, but generally, this is restricted to ice fishing due to the high altitude and intense cold in the winter.

Roads can be somewhat impassable until breakup and runoff in the spring depending on where you are headed too, so plan your trip accordingly.

Grand Mesa Lakes Fishing Tips

Recommended rod for this area is a 9-foot with a 4-weight, though you could pack a five weight for some of the lakes where the fish get a little less attention and a lot more food.

Be sure to match the hatch for the time of year. Midges #16-24 are a great all-purpose fly for spring through fall, though you may find that at certain lakes you will have better luck with streamers in #2-#10.

During the summer months, damselflies (#12-16) and callibaetis (#8-12) are going to yield best results.

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Grand Mesa Lakes Fishing Regulations

Stand Colorado Division of Wildlife rules applies for trout on the Grand Mesa Lakes, which is a total limit of 4 per day.

However, if you are interested in landing some game fish for eating, or the thrill of the chase, you can catch all the grayling, whitefish, yellow perch, numerous other species with no bag limit provided you are fishing east of the Continental Divide.

Best of all though, since the Grand Mesa National Forest is state land, you have fewer concerns about trespassing on private property if you head out further into the sticks than many other fisheries in Colorado.

Grand Mesa Lakes Trip Planning Tips

Your best bet for a flight close to the table country is to fly into Grand Junction Airport, and then drive east a couple of hours to Mesa or Grand Mesa to settle in.

There are numerous campgrounds, cabins, RV parks, and other places to stay all along the Grand Mesa Lakes Byway that winds its way south to Cedaredge, as well as state campsites further out into the forest land itself.

The Powderhorn Ski Resort is also close by, so you may want to check there for off season discounts on accommodations, and of course, it never hurts to check local off season rates for vacation rentals, too.

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Looking for more places to fish? Visit our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in Colorado.


About the Author Ken Sperry

Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and is on a quest to map the best places for fly fishing in America. He created the DIY Fly Fishing App to share this information and help you find new places to fish.