By Chris Shaffer | 06/21/2015
Fishing a new lake for the first time can be intimidating, particularly when you have no knowledge of where to fish, don’t personally know anyone who’s fished the lake and there’s no tackle shops in the area with updated reports. Meanwhile, last week in Southern Colorado, even with the above challenges in hand, we decided to make the one hour and 30 minute drive from Pueblo to DeWeese Reservoir, a place we were told sees a lot of pressure from local anglers.
We didn’t have a clue where to fish on this 300-acre reservoir resting at 7,800 feet in a valley shadowed by towering Rocky Mountain peaks. After talking with a few locals they told us the reservoir is the fullest they’d seen in a decade. They also mentioned we should have come the week prior. Fishing had slowed tremendously, they said.
At this point, it was too late in the day to reroute and find a lake that was fishing better. Instead, we set up on a small island near the boat launch and started fishing. The first hour was promising. We caught a few rainbows in the first hour before a front moved in and shut off the bite, while also bringing 30mph winds with it. Lightening was closing in forcing us to head into Westcliffe (a small town) for a few hours and wait for the storm to pass.
The storm killed the bite and also took a few hours to pass. We did return for a few hours of trout fishing that afternoon and started to field a handful of bites as late afternoon approached. Even in the presence of poor conditions we learned DeWeese offers better than average trout fishing for residents of Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Canon City and the surrounding communities. It was impressive to see no small trout, like you typically would with a heavily planted lake. In fact, we didn’t catch a rainbow smaller than 12 inches. Most were 12-14.
Most of the anglers we saw littering the bank were bait guys. They floated salmon eggs or soaked dough bait. Surprising, we didn’t see anyone fly fishing or tossing lures. As you guessed we also used bait. There we three of us and we used six rods (all of us had second rod stamps). We ended up hooking roughly a dozen trout, most of which were caught on Gold Label and Silver Label salmon eggs and Feed Pellet Brown, Garlic Salmon Egg and Chartreuse Garlic FireBait.
When fishing here I’d recommend keeping things simple. A few of our setups consisted of South Bend size 10 trout rigs fished with a Gold Label on one hook and Silver Label on the other. In addition we employed sliding sinker rigs, using a ¼ ounce Water Gremlin egg sinker with a No. 8 Gamakatsu Baitholder hook (we used this rather than the salmon egg hook since we were releasing fish and didn’t want them to swallow the small hooks). Molding the FireBait around the baitholder brought consistent action when casting onto the edge of the channel the skirts down the middle of the reservoir.
While we didn’t arrive until roughly 9am and left a 3pm, when the wind wasn’t howling the bite was on. I’m guessing with such short growing seasons up here the trout bite all day, but we’re sure action would have been even better if we fished at first light and dusk. With a full reservoir and lots of quality trout available action should be steady through summer and fall for anglers using eggs and dough. Expect to catch mostly trout greater than 12 inches, which is great for a lake at this elevation. Add DeWeese Reservoir to your must check out list. It has world-class scenery and some hard fighting trout.
Editor’s Note: There is no parking fee or boat launch fee, but also no facilities available. For supplies Westcliffe and Silver Cliff are minutes away. Look out for a future edition of Pautzke Outdoors which was filmed here.