Location and Overview
A part of Spinney Mountain State Park, Spinney Mountain Reservoir is located in Park County, CO, east of the town of Hartsel and about 60 miles west of Colorado Springs (check out the map). The reservoir sits at an elevation of 8700 feet, boasts about 2500 surface acres, and is renowned for its excellent trophy trout fishing.
Fishermen rate Spinney Mountain Reservoir:
Fishin’ Spinney Mountain Reservoir
Spinney Mountain Reservoir bears the coveted designation of Gold Medal trout water, and consistently yields up rainbow trout in the 16-inch plus range. Browns and trophy-size cutthroats can also be had. Additionally, the reservoir is home to a sizeable population of northern pike. Spinney is an extremely popular destination for fly fishermen, and anglers report regularly report success with woolly buggers and pheasant tails. Kastmasters, Rapalas, and assorted spoons and tube jigs also tend to work well. Veteran Spinney anglers like to work the inlet area and the southeast portion of the lake during the spring and fall. Try the northeast corner of the reservoir for good results on pike.
The lake is only open from ice-off in the spring to ice-on in the fall (typically about the beginning of May through sometime in November), and some very specific regulations apply. Only one trout 20 inches or longer may be kept, and fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures only. There are no size or possession limits on northern pike. For the latest Spinney Mountain fishing report, click here.
Private boats are allowed on the lake, with two lauch ramps available for anglers’ use. Float tubes are also permitted, although no body contact with the water is allowed. Float tubers like to hit the points and coves along the north and south shores of the lake. Fishing from shore in these areas is productive as well.
Parking and picnic areas are available along both the north and south shores of the reservoir, and a small store is located on County Road 59 near the main entrance to the state park.
Spinney Mountain Reservoir offers easy access to the South Platte River, which flows into it at its northwest corner and flows back out again at the east end on its way to nearby Eleven Mile Reservoir. Both these sections of the Platte offer some very good fishing, although special regulations apply as outlined below.
To get information on the latest trout plants by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, call (303) 291-7531, or click here for more information.
Spinney Mountain Weather
Anglers fishing in the Colorado mountains need to be very aware of the climate and watch carefully for sudden changes. Snow and ice are common on roads and trails from about mid-October through the later part of April. Snow is possible (but not as likely) even during the summer months. At any time of the year the weather may change unexpectedly, and it is not uncommon for summer days to be beautifully sunny during the morning with sudden thunderstorms in the afternoon. Additionally, wind can come up quickly and create potentially hazardous conditions for boaters on the reservoir.
Always check the weather forecast prior to going out, and be prepared for inclement or changing weather with a raincoat and warm clothing to layer if the need should arise.
Click here to see current weather conditions and forecasts for the city of Hartsel.
Lodging and Camping
No camping is permitted at Spinney Mountain Reservoir, but nearby Eleven Mile State Park offers convenient camping at a total of nine different campgrounds.
Lodging is available in Colorado Springs, about 60 miles from the reservoir.
Licensing and Regulations
Spinney Mountain Reservoir opens for fishing each spring at 100% ice-off, which is usually around the beginning of May, and closes when the ice returns around mid-November. During this time fishing is permitted from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset. The state park is a fee area, charging $5 for a day use pass. Annual passes may be purchased for $55. For more information on park passes, or to purchase one online, check out the Colorado State Parks site.
Fishermen must have a valid Colorado fishing license to fish in the reservoir, and only artificial flies and lures are permitted. Anglers may keep one trout with a minimum size limit of 20 inches. There are no size or possession limits on northern pike.
Special regulations for those stretches of the South Platte River adjacent to the reservoir are as follows:
Upstream from Spinney Mountain Reservoir to the confluence of the Middle and South Forks of the Platte, fishing is permitted with artificial lures and flies only. All trout between 12 and 20 inches in length must be released, and two trout may be kept in possession. No more than one trout possessed may be over 20 inches in length.
That portion of the Platte downstream from Spinney Mountain Reservoir to the inlet of Eleven Mile Reservoir is catch-and-release only, and only artificial flies and lures may be used. The stretch of water from County Road 59 downstream to the Eleven Mile Reservoir inlet is closed to all fishing from September 15 to December 31.
To see all the latest Colorado fishing regulations, click here.
For more information on Spinney Mountain State Park, check out the Colorado State Parks website.