With fishing (both flatwater and beneath the ice) boating, hiking and biking, this reservoir west of Colorado Springs is a popular getaway for Front Rangers. Located in the high windswept prairie of South Park, it offers stunning views of distant peaks and nine campgrounds, along with backcountry sites. It also offers a rare diversity of fish by Colorado standards, with trophy rainbow, brown, cutthroat, kokanee, and pike.
"I had never been ice fishing before. In fact, I never could imagine what was so fun about it, until I came up here a few winters ago to write an article on the popularity of the sport. Then I saw the excitement when, from a hole drilled into the ice, anglers brought forth huge catches, bellowing with excitement. I asked one man what was so fun about it. “The solitude, the quiet, getting out on the ice, and watching the fish swim by, knowing you’re not going to catch them all.'"
- For a unique camping experience, bring (or rent) a canoe or boat and paddle to one of the 25 backcountry campsites on a wooded peninsula, away from any roads.
- Forgot a key piece of fishing or camping gear? The 11 Mile Marina store has plenty available, as well as boat and canoe rentals.
- Winters are harsh here, which makes for incredible ice-fishing. Just don’t forget the hut for warmth.
Recommended season(s): Spring to fall for shore and boat fishing and camping, winter for ice fishing
—R. Scott Rappold