By Chris Shaffer | 06/22/2015

No matter how good of an angler you are there are times when fishing is poor. Slow days happen even with the most veteran professional guides. This was the case for us last week in Rockies at Elevenmile Reservoir. Known as one of the premier fishing spots in Colorado, we got our butts kicked here on Wednesday, and for a few hours on Thursday.

We were, however, forewarned.

“You guys are coming up this week?” said Jim Collins of 11 Mile Store. “They are picking them up trolling, but guys on the bank aren’t catching much. For the last two weeks we’ve had an enormous hatch up there. These trout have been eating all they want for the last two weeks. They aren’t eating bait right now. They’re full.”


We planned this trip six months ago to film Pautzke Outdoors and figured it was worth a try, anyway. Collins mentioned the hatch had slowed and he believed the bait bite would very slowly start to improve. Unfortunately, it didn’t do so while we were there.


Wednesday started out better than we expected. We caught two trout, one on Silver Label, and the other on Green Label within the first hour. One of our buddies is old school and still uses a lot of Green Label and it was working. He was using a trout rig with two small hooks and the Green Label was getting hit every cast, but he missed almost every bite. Another friend used Rainbow FireBait and missed two strong takedowns during that second hour.


Then the bite died. We thought it was due to the high sun and heat. It was in the mid 80s, even this high up, and the sun was strong. Trout don’t normally bite midday when it’s hot and sunny. Still, we stuck it out and didn’t field any more bites for the next few hours.


“It’s still slow on bait out there. These trout are full. They’ve been eating all day and night for weeks,” Collins said. “The bait bite should pick up again in a few days.”

The bait bite didn’t improve while we were there. We did manage another nice 13-inch rainbow that evening on Premium salmon eggs, but our success capped at three. I didn’t fish much, rather spent the day holding the camera hoping to capture the few bites we fielded. Meanwhile, we weren’t the only ones being laughed at by the trout. Of the dozens of anglers who were fishing the same coves and points we were few, if any, caught anything.


“I live in The Springs and fish here almost everyday this time of year,” one angler told us. “Normally I catch a few fish each hour. Haven’t had a bite all day.”

That was the consensus. The next morning we skipped Elevenmile instead opting to try our luck at Tarryall Reservoir, a smaller reservoir roughly one and a half hours from Colorado Springs. The Colorado Division of Wildlife told us it’s an easy place to catch fish and heavily stocked. Upon arrival Thursday morning I knew we weren’t going to catch anything. The reservoir was full and a massive amount of water was being flushed into the lake. The watercolor, sadly, looked like a dark tea.

“Fishing hasn’t been very good here for the last week since this water changed color,” the park ranger told us. “I’ve checked everyone on the shoreline (there were dozens of anglers) and only seen one trout caught. You guys should have been here a week ago. They were hammering them.”

With clear water, hopefully less bugs and the dream of trout getting hungry again we drove the hour and a half back to Elevenmile and set up on the bank again. It was midday. The sun was high and the bite hadn’t returned. We fished for four hours without a bite.

The good news is Elevenmile is loaded with lots of fresh, cool, clean mountain water. There’s excellent growing conditions for trout and I’m sure now that we’re gone they’ll start biting again. The trout got the best of us this time and we’re thrilled such a prolific bug hatch filled them up so they can continue to grow to the Elevenmile trophies this reservoir is famous for.


Editor’s Note: For updated Elevenmile fishing reports please contact the 11 Mile Store (719) 748-3424. And, kudos to them for being honest about the fish report, as we are in this FireBlog! If you do have a poor fishing day, stop by Rudy’s BBQ in Colorado Springs on the way back home. It’s so good you’ll quickly forget about getting your butt kicked on the water and leave with a full belly like the trout have.