Places to Fish - North Denver Fishing Guide

Updated on November 14, 2016

North Denver Fishing Guide

Denver, Colorado offers plenty of social and nightlife opportunities, but what if you'd like to wind down, throw your line in the water, and just fish? Well, North Denver answers the call with many great lakes and ponds where you just might catch the big one! Whether you're visiting Denver for a few days, or just want to fish near home, you won't want to pass up a chance to get your line in at these four great fishing spots.


1. Standley Lake

Standley Lake, a North Denver fishing opportunity. View from the southwest portion facing east.
Standley Lake, a North Denver fishing opportunity. View from the southwest portion facing east.

Located about a half hour jorthwest of Denver sits Standley Lake. Operated by the city of Westminster, this 1000-acre-plus lake is the largest in the North Denver fishing region. This lake is a very popular destination for water sports and fishing. The largest walleye in Colorado was caught at Standley Lake in 1997 and still holds that record to this day.

  • Species to fish for: The shallow sandy banks and large body of water allow for good numbers of rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, wiper, walleye, channel catfish and yellow perch.
  • Where to fish: The dam would be the most productive fishing place, but since it is not available for public use, the best places to fish are the shorelines closest to the dam. These places offer deeper areas and a greater chance to catch fish. The inlet on the south side of the lake also offers good shore fishing.
  • Tips for fishing Standley Lake: Get your line out as far as possible. Standley Lake is a tricky place to fish from the shore because of the shallow sand bottom. The key to hooking into something is weighting your line and hucking it as far as you can go. Also try fishing during a weekday, as Fridays and weekends receive a lot of boat traffic that can adversely affect fishing.


2. Thornton Gravel Ponds 2 & 3

16-inch rainbow trout caught at the Thornton Gravel Ponds.
16-inch rainbow trout caught at the Thornton Gravel Ponds.

Around a half hour due north of Denver lie the Thornton Gravel Ponds. These man-made lakes offer a boat-free fishing experience and are a great place to teach children to learn to fish. Unlike the shallow shores at Standley Lake, the Thornton Gravel Ponds offer steeper and deeper shores allowing for easier fishing. If you're not catching anything, you can try fishing from the South Platte River which is just a few minutes walk from the Gravel Ponds.

  • Species to fish for: The Thornton Gravel Ponds are the home to very large populations of green sunfish and smallmouth bass. Other sought-after species include rainbow trout and walleye.
  • Where to fish: Great fishing can be found along the shoreline of either pond, with the exception of the west part of the larger pond. This is a nature preserve and does not allow public access. If you're bringing children, the fishing dock on the larger #2 Pond is a great place.
  • Tips for fishing the Thornton Gravel Ponds: As there are no shade trees, the rocks surrounding the ponds can get very hot in the sun and make for poor fishing during midday hours. The best fishing is in the morning or evening hours. You'll also have much better luck if you fish from the bottom. Floating bobbies seem to scare the fish away from your bait.


3. McKay Lake

If you're a fan of frog legs, McKay Lake is the perfect place to snag a few bullfrogs.
If you're a fan of frog legs, McKay Lake is the perfect place to snag a few bullfrogs.

You'll only have to drive 45 minutes from the Denver Metro area to enjoy this gem of Westminster. Located just minutes from I-25, McKay Lake offers many great fishing opportunities and great views of the Rocky Mountains. Until the mid 1990s, McKay Lake was run and operated as a private game and fishing reserve. It's rumored that there are some very nice trophy sized largemouth bass that still live there. This lake is artificial lures and flies only, so it offers a more challenging experience for fishermen.

  • Species to fish for: The majority of fish that inhabit the Lake are Asian carp, but there are still healthy populations of largemouth bass and crappie (both black and white). Crappie and Carp may be kept, but all largemouth bass must be returned to the water immediately.
  • Where to fish: The floating fishing dock is a great place to cast out for bass and the occasional carp. Crappie fishing is great along either of the rock dams.
  • Tips for Fishing: Green or Yellow jigs and lures are the most productive for bass and crappie. Try fishing with barbless hooks to make it easier to unhook largemouth bass.


4. Webster Lake

Nestled in Northglenn, Colorado, is a little pond known as Webster Lake. This popular destination for picnics and outdoor activities is also a great place for children to learn how to fish. The Colorado Division of Wildlife routinely stocks this lake with rainbow trout. Paddle boats can also be rented to increase your fishing chances!

  • Species to catch: Rainbow trout and a variety of panfish can be caught at Webster Lake. Large crayfish populations also exist for a great boil.
  • Where to fish: Fishing all around the lake offers great opportunity. The north shore is closed to public access, as it is a nature preserve.
  • Tips for fishing: If you want to have a good chance at catching fish, try fishing shortly after the lake is stocked. This small pond does see a large amount of fishers, so the best time to catch fish is after it has been freshly stocked.


Questions & Answers


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      • davenmidtown profile image

        David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

        you're welcome.. it was a great read.

      • Joe Macho profile image

        Zach 6 years ago from Colorado

        Thanks for the feedback. I always like to think that if there's water, there's also fish to be caught. Thanks for reading.

      • davenmidtown profile image

        David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

        This is the perfect hub for a Holiday weekend. IT is full of useful information and expert tips. I can feel your passion for fishing as I read this hub. Thank you for sharing!