The beauty of a large and varied state like Colorado is that you can go catfish fishing at any time of day or night. The largest catfish ever caught in Colorado was reeled in at Aurora Reservoir just outside Denver at 6pm on Monday evening. So even city dwellers have no excuse, as some of the best catfishing can be had outside of working hours while the kids are still awake.
But you’ve got to know where to go!
Let me give you a rundown on some of my favorite places to go catfish fishing in Colorado.
The Best Place to go Catfishing in Colorado
There is one lake that clearly offers the best catfishing in Colorado and that is Aurora Reservoir on the eastern outskirts of suburban Denver just outside Aurora. Within 15 months in late 2009-2010 three catfish state records for Colorado were set in Aurora Reservoir.
On July 26, 2009 Mike Stone broke the longstanding state record for the biggest catfish caught in Colorado by reeling in a 35 pound 4 ounce channel catfish. The previous record had stood since 1994. Mike knew that the Aurora Reservoir was on the best places for catfish in Colorado and he had been chasing a monster catfish for some time.
I’ve been coming out to Aurora Reservoir pretty much every weekend, rain or shine, since 2003. I had just cast my line into the water and started to pour a cup of coffee when I saw the tip of my fishing rod move and jerk. We fought him for 15 minutes.Mike Stone
But Mike’s record only stood for about a year before another angler showed him up.
On June 28, 2010 Daris McKinnon set a new catfish state record by landing a 35 pound 8 ounce catfish in the Aurora Reservoir. Although only 4 ounces heavier than Mike’s fish from a year earlier, that was all Daris needed to put himself in the record books. Daris landed his catfish from an electric boat out on the Aurora Lake with a 7 foot rod spooled with 65 pound braid and a 2 inch piece of cut bait.
I’m flabbergasted. It was literally pulling the boat. The catfish tired out after 20 minutes.Daris McKinnon
But Daris’ record didn’t even see the year out before a young woman set a new standard for catfish in Colorado.
On October 4, 2010 Jessica Walton was fishing at (you guessed it!) Aurora Reservoir when she reeled in a 43 pound monster channel catfish, smashing the previous Colorado record. This is easily the biggest catfish ever caught in Colorado.
Jessica landed this record breaking catch using 20 pound line with a night crawler, and would you believe she had only caught two fish before in her life!
That’s how good of a place Aurora Reservoir is for catfishing. Anyone can set a state record!
Jessica credited her boyfriend for the catch
I have to admit, Chris was pretty upset at first when he heard that I was the one who caught the state record because he puts so much time into fishing and it’s his favorite thing to do. But he’s also happy for me because he’s the one who taught me how to fish.Jessica Walton
With three state records to its name within the space of less than two years, you better believe that Aurora Reservoir is the best place to go catfishing in Colorado.
You can’t argue with results!
But if you are looking for an alternative place to catch those enormous catfish apart from Aurora Reservoir then you should try out Pueblo Reservoir, as it holds two state records for Blue Catfish and Flathead Catfish.
Where to Catch Catfish in Colorado?
Are there catfish in Colorado? Absolutely there are! There is no shortage of Catfish in the mountain state of Colorado. With more than 4,000 lakes and reservoirs you better believe that those catfish have found their way into plenty of waterways around here. Most of the major Colorado lakes have a population of catfish just waiting to be caught.
If you don’t have the local knowledge to know where to catch catfish in Colorado let me clue you in on some of the best places to try.
For the best catfishing near Denver try out these lakes:
- Aurora Reservoir
- Chatfield Reservoir
- Cherry Creek Reservoir
- Hertha Reservoir
- Sloan Lake
- Standley Lake
If you are closer to Colorado Springs take a trip out the following waters to look for catfish:
- Adobe Creek Reservoir
- John Martin Reservoir
- Martin Lake
- Horseshoe Lake
- Pueblo Reservoir
For those who live west of the Rocky Mountains, the largest lake in the state is the best place to go catfishing:
- Blue Mesa Reservoir
And if you are in the East near Burlington or up North near Sterling you can try out these lakes:
- Bonny Reservoir
- North Sterling Reservoir
Southerners near Durango should look to these lakes with catfish:
- Echo Canyon Reservoir
- Navajo Reservoir
And if river fishing is more your style, then the Yampa River, Arkansas River and the mighty Colorado River are all known to hold populations of catfish.
What Types of Catfish are in Colorado?
There are three common types of catfish in Colorado:
- Channel Catfish
- Flathead Catfish
- Blue Catfish
We already spoke about the channel catfish record of 43 pounds that was set at Aurora Reservoir.
The biggest Blue Catfish ever caught in Colorado was pulled in at Pueblo Reservoir south of Colorado Springs by Randy Stilwell. It weighed in at just over 29 pounds.
The heaviest Flathead Catfish was also caught at Pueblo Reservoir. A 30 pound Flathead was pulled in by Michael Flock to set the Colorado state record.
What Bait do you use when Catfish Fishing in Colorado?
Among the baits I use to catch catfish in Colorado are dip baits, cut baits, crawfish and blood baits. I find the best catfish bait in Colorado are dip baits because they the easiest to make and they provide excellent results.
You should cast into the deepest part of the lake you are fishing, remembering the catfish are bottom feeders. The cool Colorado waters make the fish sluggish at times, and I recommend waiting at least 30 minutes to see if you get any bites before deciding to switch. After switching baits, don’t give up on your spot just yet. Have another cast and see if the scent of the previous bait has lured some catfish into the area.
Fishing for catfish in cooler waters takes patience!
The Last Cast
Catfish fishing in Colorado is alive and well, with plenty of amateur anglers pulling in monster sized catfish. If you live near Denver then Aurora Reservoir is the obvious place to go catfishing, and Colorado Springs locals are best to take a drive out to Pueblo Reservoir. These two lakes have landed so many big catfish in recent years that it is hard to go past them, but those who live in other parts of the state do have options.
Just temper your expectations a bit, we can’t all pull in 30 and 40 pound catfish every time we go out fishing!