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Days
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Motors Allowed?
No
Difficulty
Easy / Class A
Distance
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Just south of the CSU Foothills Campus and the Maxwell Natural Area, tucked into the Pineridge Natural Area, Dixon Reservoir is a great fishing destination close to Fort Collins in a golden Rocky Mountain setting. It boasts 44 quiet acres of prime water habitat for a diverse range of fish species, and because it is surrounded by natural areas, a host of other animal species as well.

Dixon Reservoir allows warm water angling for bluegill, channel catfish, black crappy, and grass carp, many of which are stocked on an annual basis to keep the population healthy and to recover numbers lost to recreational fishers. The reservoir also hosts a population of pumkinseed sunfish, among others. Spring fishing is most productive for the pumkinseed sunfish and the bluegill; in late May, when the water temperature tops 65 degrees, bass fishing picks up. While bass tend to remain small in Dixon Reservoir, reaching 15 inches at most, channel catfish have been known to exceed two feet in length and weigh more than eight pounds. Because of the thick vegetation along the Dixon’s shores, waders are recommended to cast lines here. Alternately, bring an inflatable raft or kayak. The reservoir allows any non-motorized boat access.

While there is but one trail circumnavigating Dixon Reservoir and its profile is slim for off-water adventures, it is folded into Pineridge Natural Area, and Maxwell Natural Area abuts Pineridge to the north. There are several miles of trail between the two. Some include elevation gain on the hill that separates Dixon Reservoir from Horsetooth Reservoir to the west. The trail here is short, but it is very useful for training, and the trails are regularly used by runners.

An abundance of wildlife can be seen at and around Dixon Reservoir, including the numerous fish species, heron, rattlesnakes, black-tailed prairie dog, and elk.

​Note: For specific stocking updates and other fishing rules and regulations, call the Natural Areas Ranger at 970.416.2147. Fishing at Dixon Reservoir requires a permit through Colorado Fish and Wildlife.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Calm waters. Stocked with bluegill, channel catfish and black crappie.

Cons

Steep boat ramp access. Swimming prohibited.

Features

Fishing
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas
Bird watching
Wildlife

Site characteristics: Water

Lake

Portage required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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