For city anglers looking to get away from the crowds, Gross Reservoir is a 440-acre lake at 7,290 feet. Rolling hills covered in pine trees stretch from the mile-high-blue sky to the granite shores of crystal-clear water. Fishing is tough, but anglers are able to score trout, salmon and muskie. The best option is stocked rainbow trout, which are easy to catch on bait, lures and flies. Even though the lake is near the city, on a typical day, I’ll share the water with one or two other people. Best of all, powerboats are not allowed on Gross Reservoir, making for quiet, peaceful paddle fishing.

Gross Reservoir fish Colorado
Close to town, out of this world. | Photo: Dustin Doskocil


Discount Fishing Tackle, Denver has the tackle and info for fishing area lakes and rivers.


Eldora Lodge is a cozy mountain cabin with a hot tub, great views and marijuana-smoking Tipi. Primitive camping is available on the north west side of the reservoir.


Grab a green chili smothered burrito or steak sandwich at the Wondervu Café or chicken wings and a beer at the Last Stand Tavern. Another option is to head into Nederland for some amazing pizza at Crosscut followed by a little mountain nightlife at The Pioneer.

The Scoop

What’s biting

Gross Reservoir has been stocked with rainbow and brown trout along with kokanee salmon and even tiger muskie.


Non-motorized boating is allowed Memorial Day through September 30. In winter, the lake is open for ice fishing and bank fishing is allowed year-round.

Rigged Up

For rainbow trout, tie a spinner or jointed minnow on six-pound test and cast to structure and the bank. For a more relaxed approach, pop some artificial bait on a No. 1 hook under a bobber, sit back and enjoy the view. Lake trout will bite tube jigs, jerk baits and swimbaits.

Kayak Gear

The lake is 340 feet deep, so a fish finder will help locate structure and bait to narrow the search.

Game plan

Head toward the Boulder Creek inlet, tie on a Panther Martin or jointed minnow, find a hole and fish it. I’ve also had luck trolling along the shore of this beautiful reservoir.

This article was first published in Kayak Angler Issue 43. Subscribe to Kayak Angler’s print and digital editions here, or browse the archives here.

Close to town, out of this world. | Photo: Dustin Doskocil


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