I think cheeseman might be closer....but it depends on where you are starting from...north, south, east, or west? or i guess Waterton Canyon might be considered one...i dont think it freezes over does it? Ive never fished it for trout...
While in the technical definition of the term, Estes(gravity or surface spill dam) does qualify as a tailwater, howver it does not exhibit the characteristics of a variable or bottom release dam such as Reudi or Flaming Gorge. While the # of fish/mile in the Big T is high, those fish do not show the growth rates or condition factors of fish in the Frying Pan or Taylor.
Thanks everyone for the reply, but to clarify, what is the closest true (bottom release) tailwater to Denver? I don't think we have the hydroelectric dams here that we have in TN but what do we have that's close?
Yes, a bottom release from a dam is important...it keeps the waters below the dam (the "tailwaters") at a warmer temperature---usually the mids 40s---so it does not freeze. during the winter the warmer water in a lake is generally near the bottom. if you folks recall the springtime the water "turns over" and the colder water flips and heads to the bottom of the lake. (this turns the North Platte below Alcova dam into an off colored mess...) During the summer when lakes are warmer and the fish tend to be less active tailwaters are often the most stable areas for trout to inhabit.
Some colorado tailwaters have mysis schrimp...these waters produce some absolutly huge fish...15 or 20 lbs is not too uncommon. the Blue used to have mysis (i think it still does...) and the Frying Pan and Taylor do...so those can be some good (but crowded) places to head if you are after some big fish....a friend of mine has a picture of several fish that were pushing 20 lbs out of the Taylor...they are so big they look fake...
On Sunday I was in the Dillon/Silverthorne area. I stopped in Cuttthroat Anglers Fly Shop in Silverthorne and visited for a while. Right behind the shop is the Blue River and that happens to be the tailwater section. I walked behind the shop and walked across the bridge and stopped for a while looking down into the water with my polorized glasses on. I must have seen 70 or 80 rainbow in the river over a period of 15 minutes. They looked like "HOGS", which means they would look even bigger when they were out of the water. This area is only an hour from Denver and would be well worth the trip! Use a mysis shrimp in the smallest sizes you have. There were a few guys fishing in the river using egg patterns. They were not catching anything and I wanted to tell them they were about 3 weeks late.....Good Luck.... BTW---The flow is at 1.03cfs in Silverthorne and 2.09cfs at Keystone Gulch near Dillon.
The blue river....a true love hate relationship I have with that place. I do agree, the Cuthroat anglers shop could be better about the way they deal with people, but the thing is that river gets absolutely pounded for as small as it is. As we all know, we hate to give our spots away and working in that shop Im sure it can get a little redundanlty borring telling every other guy that ask what to throw the same reply of, "mysis trailed with a midge pattern." Nonetheless, thats their job and business to give advice and be approachable so I dont think its any excuse. As for the river, I have cought some very nice fish fattened up on the mysis. The downside is most fishing directions usually consist of, "hike in about a mile, walk to this big bolder with an eagles nest overhead...you can't miss it." At the blue directions usually sound like this, "park at the factory outlet, walk under the I-70 overpass and position yourself directly across from the farris wheel." If you dont mind fishing in a circus with semi's buzzing overhead then hit it up but just expect people.
FG this summer I was coming home from the Eagle and hit the Blue minding my own business and a Cuttthroat employee on break or something starts giving me the business because I'm using a rapala. Some people amaze me. maybe they don't want to see spin guys on the river because that might take away business from them
There are a couple a-hole dudes like that that throw flies. From my experience though, most quality flychuckers are nice guys, its the crappy ones that are insecure about there ability who have to play the "holier then though thing." The best fly fisherman I know also spin fish and most astrted spin fishing like myself. I think the the more you know about any type of fishing, the more success you will have.