Dustin Doskocil is one of the first photographers to focus on kayak fishing. He’s filmed the biggest names in the sport for the biggest companies in the business. His words and images are regularly featured in Kayak Angler (see his feature on exploring Alaska). Four years ago, Doskocil took a leap and moved to Denver, Colorado, and since then every kayak fishing trip has been a discovery.
[This article is part of our 10 Most Popular Kayak Fishing Destinations According To Google series. See the most searched for kayak fishing hotspots, and get all the inspiration you need for your next dream getaway.]
I went on a solo trip to Blue Mesa Reservoir in late June to explore the area and do a bit of fishing. Located a few hours’ drive southwest of Denver, Blue Mesa Reservoir is the largest body of water in Colorado, making it perfect for a kayak or SUP fishing trip.
Reservoir Fishing in Colorado
Once I got out of Gunnison, I felt like I was in the wild. Weather was hot and dry and the wind blew dust all day. Around 1 p.m., the wind built to a climax and brought in afternoon rain showers. An hour or two after the rain, the ground was dry and hot again.
I brought my paddleboard and trusty first mate Sam, a 65-pound rescue mutt. We planned to fish for lake trout at the confluence of the Gunnison River and Blue Mesa Reservoir.
I’m a largemouth bass angler, so I wasn’t confident that I would get a bite. However, I figure a day on the water is always a good day.
Sam and I floated out into the middle of the river about a mile from the inlet. The Gunnison and Blue Mesa Reservoir area is mountain desert. It’s dry, brown and rocky. But the river, reservoir and little creeks provide relief from the dry heat.
Work the Bank for Rainbow Trout
Working the bank, I let a white tube jig float to the bottom. To my surprise, I quickly got a few bites. One time, I reeled in the lure, and a gigantic brown trout chased the jig to the board.
My heart was racing. A few casts later, I hooked into my personal best rainbow trout. Fighting the trout was like reeling in a brick, although it did make a couple last-minute runs next to the paddleboard. After landing the fish and admiring my catch, I sent it back to the water.
Just as I released the fish, the wind picked up and a storm gathered in the mountains. I could smell the dry dust ahead of the musk of an afternoon rain. Sam and I got off the water just in time.
Colorado Kayak Fishing Tips
I grabbed my Sol Stout paddleboard because it’s wide and thick with stability and volume to carry Sam and our gear. When I’m hitting an unfamiliar fishing area in Colorado, I like the freedom of a SUP over a kayak because I can launch it from anywhere.
Where to Launch
Launch right off US 50 before the reservoir.
Where to Stay
Hartman Rocks has several awesome campsites surrounded by great views. There is also camping north of Blue Mesa Reservoir in the Gunnison River National Forest.
Where to Eat
My fishing trip started with a grilled cheese and beer at Soulcraft Brewery. Afterwards, I hit the Twisted Fork. Get a seat on the patio in the back. The chicken curry noodle bowl was a great end to a fun day on the water.
View this post on Instagram
Other Colorado Attractions
Stop by Gene Taylors for all of your fishing and camping gear, the dive pub for a beer and visit the Whitewater Park or Hartman Rocks for hiking, biking, climbing and rafting.
This article was first published in Kayak Anger Issue 44. Subscribe to Kayak Anger and get the magazine delivered to your front door. Download the Kayak Angler Magazine+ app to seamlessly glide between the digital archives, the latest articles and videos or browse the digital archives for your desktop here.
Visit the wild west for a shot at a personal best rainbow trout. | Feature photo: Dustin Doskocil