Fishing and Hiking at Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Jessica, Scooter and I spent the day at Golden Gate Canyon State Park in early June for some fishing, birding and hiking. The park is about 15 miles west of Golden and about 45 minutes from our house.

As a State Park, you need to pay a fee to enter, so we stopped at the Visitor’s Center, paid our fee and got some tips on where to hike and fish. There are two main ponds, Slough Pond and Kriley Pond, not far past the park entrance that see heavy fishing pressure. We skipped Slough Pond as there were no parking spaces and lots of people already fishing the small pond. A bit past that is Kriley Pond, which is also fairly small and was pretty crowded on the Sunday we visited.

Dudes Hole, Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Dudes Hole, Golden Gate Canyon State Park

We found a parking space up the hill from the pond though, and Jessica took off on a birding hike up Blue Grouse trail, while I walked down to Kriley Pond to fish a little. As mentioned, there were a lot of people already there, about half of them sitting in lawn chairs fishing with Power Bait, and the other half in waders trying a little fly fishing. The power baiters on the East end of the lake weren’t having any luck, while the fly fishers on the West end of the lake were reeling them almost every cast. I stuck with my tried and true Kastmaster Spoon, walking around the entire pond, with zero luck. You could see dozens of little trout near the shore all around the lake, but they were having none of it. I guess the East end is where Ralston Creek flows into the pond, and the catchable fish were hanging out there.

Jessica said Blue Grouse trail was pretty uncrowded, had more bikers than hikers, slightly uphill, and not anything remarkable.

You can drive around the perimeter of the park, which on a map looks like a long way, but is only 20 or 30 minutes. So we drove over to Aspen Meadows Campground, with a short stop at Panaroma Point, with a goal of hiking down to Dude’s Hole and beyond.

Dude’s Hole is small, picturesque pond a short hike down the trail from campground, so while I stopped and fished, Jessica and Scooter hiked further down the trail while I fished Dude’s Hole. Again using my trusty Kastmaster Spoon, I caught two little Brown Trout on the first two casts, and caught three or four more in about 30 minutes. The family down the bank, fishing with worms, were counting out their fish as they hauled them in … nineteen, twenty, plus. All the fish were tiny, but it’s better than being skunked and I’d call it a successful day.

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