Fishing in Colorado lakes & ponds

My 9yr-old son wants to go fishing - we live here in NW Denver.

Ignoring trout/moving-water fishing as too specialized, how do I fish in Colorado’s ponds & lakes? We, of course, will be fishing from the lake side. What for bait? How deep? What else?

My past history of fishing is 25-years out of date and all I managed to catch then was a bad sunburn.

We plan to catch & release since my idea of fish is the little rectangular ones that come out of Mrs. Paul’s boxes.

I haven’t fished there in, oh, 15 years or so…But, first things first! You need a license to fish in Colorado. A one-day license is $9. You can order online:

Then what you need to do is go to a fishing tackle store and speak with them (you can also get a license at most fishing shops).

I mainly fished at Chatfield and on the Platte, but occasionally went up to Cheeseman lake. There are tons of little ponds around, and you can drown worms there all you want. Just take a rod, some hooks and some worms and go throw them in the lake.


I’m not too worried about licenses right now, our first target lake is a local boy scout camp. As a private lake, no license is required. The charge just $2/day to fish.

So, worms still work? How deep do I drown it?

Personally, I’d just toss an empty hook and open my book but my son would be very disappointed if we didn’t actually catch something.

I grew up fishing in Colorado

Is the lake stocked or is it just the natural fish population? If it’s stocked, it won’t really matter what you toss in the water…they’ll probably eat dirty socks.

If you’re planning to release, I wouldn’t use worms. There is a slightly smaller chance of failure, but a lot of the lake fish in Colorado will swallow the worms very deeply; taking them out usually involves yanking out some serious fish guts and then all you have is a bloody fish to hold–one that you probably wouldn’t want to eat anyway, and will certainly die if you throw back. Maybe take some worms as a back-up if the lures aren’t working.

Depending on the lake, a couple of spinning lures would probably do the trick. As a bonus, they sort of keep you entertained as you’re reeling 'em in.

Best of luck.