By Jesse Montavon
As a pretty avid multi-species angler, I thought that I had a pretty good idea of what species of fish were native to Colorado, and I was pretty sure I had caught them all. Many different species of trout have crossed my net, including rainbow, brown, cutbow, tiger, and brook trout. Walleye, perch, crappie, catfish, brine, the list goes on and on. However, living and fishing in Colorado for all of my life, I was pretty sure of one species that I would have to travel to different states to target: Largemouth Bass.
Probably the biggest market in the entire fishing community, bass fishing is huge across the country and even the world. Many anglers even make a living just from competing in bass fishing competitions. For example, the winner of the biggest bass fishing event, the annual Bassmaster Classic, takes home a winning of around $300,000, and that is just the prize money. Many of these popular anglers are sponsored by numerous companies, earning fat paychecks just for using their gear and putting their brand on their jersey. Needless to say, bass are one of the most targeted species in the world.
It came as a huge surprise to me that largemouth bass can be caught right here in my home state; right here in our backyard! The western slope actually has a few of the best areas for bass fishing in the state, and a big one is right here in town. West of town along the Colorado river rests an area referred to as the connected lakes, which are part of the James M. Robb State Park. The connected lakes are just that: a series of smaller lakes in a marshy area connected by smaller streams and reedy areas. This is exactly where largemouth bass thrive, in marshy lakes and ponds. Although this area gets a decent amount of pressure from fisherman, the bass are pretty numerous and always hungry. I haven’t figured out the recipe that these bass love yet, but that is part of bass fishing. So far, a soft plastic crawfish, senko worm, silver fluke, and a minnow crankbait have been successful. Obviously, if you own a boat then you will be able to hit a lot more spots than just shore fishing, but both can be done. One of the best parts of the connected lakes is that if the bass fishing is slow, just pull out your flyrod and you can catch tons of little sunfish who surface for bugs in the evenings. Just the other day I got sick of not catching bass, so I caught 20+ sunfish in less than an hour.
So if you enjoy a challenge or if you are like me and you didn’t know a nice bass can be caught right here in our backyard, give the connected lakes a try. When I go out almost every afternoon, it doesn’t matter whether I catch anything or not. A night on the lake is a thousand times better than a night sitting on the couch. Get out there.