Fishing Colorado: Sawhill Ponds, Boulder

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I got the chance yesterday to head up the Boulder way to get in a bit of fishing, before being flushed out by high winds and some thunder and lightning coming my way. For the folks that are based in CO, or might have occasion to head out this way for travel work or otherwise, I thought it’d be useful to record some of the spots I like to fish. First up is Sawhill Ponds.

The good news about Sawhill is that you can catch a lot of fish; even yesterday, I was getting strikes on maybe every third or fourth cast once I got further in. The bad news? The fish are small – really small. There are big fish, make no mistake – I’ve seen algae eating carp that are like small submarines, with a wake and everything. But the average size of the fish I’ve actually caught there rather than just seen is maybe four or five inches. I was just telling a friend of mine yesterday that Sawhill’s made me sick of catching Bluegill, though you can catch Bass if you know what you’re doing (I’ve caught one bass in all my time there, if that tells you anything about my skills).

How to get there? It’s really pretty easy. Directions from Denver are:

  1. Head north on I-25 to US-36W, exit 217 (left exit)
  2. Take US-36W to CO-121/US-287 Broomfield / Lafayette (about 9 miles)
  3. Make a right off the exit ramp onto US-287, and proceed for about 7 miles until you reach Arapahoe Rd
  4. Make a left onto Arapahoe Rd, and proceed until you hit 75th St (about 3.8 miles)
  5. Make a right onto 75th St and proceed until you see a white railroad crossing indicator, and the dirt road entrance to Sawhill will be immediately on your left

Once there, I recommend distancing yourself from the power lines looming over the parking lot as quickly as possible, because while electro-magnetic radiation is not supposed to be harmful at distances of greater than a couple of feet, the overly loud humming noise they give off can’t be good. I’ve had no luck with the pond closest to the parking lot, but the very next pond on the left and the first pond on the right have yielded the aforementioned hauls of Bluegill with the occasional Bass. You can go deeper in still – Sawhill’s a veritable maze of ponds and small lakes – and have even better luck.

Recommended flies are caddis and grasshopper patterns. I had good luck with the hopper the last trip out (till I lost it in a tree about 35 feet behind me – not my fault this time, wind), but earlier trips have indicated that small fish prefer small flies, hence a fair degree of success with the caddis. But generally speaking, the fish here aren’t all that picky.

Overall, I prefer Sawhill to other, closer to Denver venues like the Rocky Mountain Arsenal because it tends to be far less crowded. You’ll see people, occasionally on horseback, but not too many. Most importantly, you’ll have little difficulty in finding good spots to fish from.

So whether you’re working for Sun, StorageTek, OpenLogic or other companies in the Broomfield tech sprawl, or happen to be in the area, I’d recommend Sawhill for a quick fishing trip, as long as you’re comfortable fishing for quantity over quality.

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