As the Super Spook skipped and dodged left-right-left-right across the surface of the mountain reservoir, a lake trout blew up on the plug, missing it so completely that its broad tail rolled high in the air. Not missing a beat, Denver-area Guide Nathan Zelinsky kept the plug dancing steadily toward his position on shore. The laker was immediately back on the hunt, slashing at the plug four more times, until, finally, it connected, snapping Zelinsky's rod tip down—and the battle was on, the fish pulling long and hard, in typical lake trout fashion.
Zelinsky has been catching lake trout on topwaters on four different high-country Colorado lakes in the Buena Vista-Fairplay area for two years. Lakers on these waters often explode on shallow-running rainbow trout, so he thought, well, why not? The approach isn't just good at times, but seemingly the best possible way to trigger these fish. It drives them crazy when more standard stuff doesn't get a look.
We fished with Zelinsky to shoot this phenomenon for TV this past May. This fishing often shines right after ice out when lake trout roam shallow. Rainbows are shallow then, too, although they tend to stay shallower most of the season, in part to stay away from the lake trout. When the lakers feed they often push rainbows against shore or up against the surface. Some of these reservoirs are closed to motorized boat traffic until later in May, so we fished from shore, catching fish along steep rocky banks as well as over gradual sweeping sand and gravel flats.
This area is one of the most scenic and productive fishing destinations in the country. It lies about a two-hour drive from Denver, to the southwest on Highway 285, through Jefferson, Fairplay, and on to Buena Vista. Twin Lakes lies about 30 minutes north of Buena Vista. Jefferson Lake, north of Jefferson is another top lake trout lake.
Lake trout are one option, but the area also has top lakes for rainbow trout, particularly Spinney Mountain Reservoir, just southeast of Buena Vista. Meanwhile the portion of South Platte River between Eleven Mile Reservoir, which is known for pike and trout, and Spinney Mountain often is referred to as the Dream Stream, an easy-access river that produces outstanding fishing for brown trout, rainbows, and cutthroats.
We stay at the Best Western in Buena Vista, which is very comfortable. Several nice restaurants in town serve great meals, with one favorite the Eddy Line on South Main, which offers a superb Tomahawk Pork Chop and great pizzas.
Contact: Guide Nathan Zelinski, 720/775-7770, tightlinesoutdoors.com.
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