Black Lakes near Vail Pass now stocked with 9- to 16-inch rainbow trout |

Black Lakes near Vail Pass now stocked with 9- to 16-inch rainbow trout

Daily staff report
Christian Bickerstaff, of Littleton, shows off his first catch of the day at Black Lake No. 1. The lakes at the top of Vail Pass have recently been stocked with roughly 3,000 catchable rainbow trout.

VAIL — The Eagle River Water & Sanitation District stocked Black Lakes with 2,500 pounds of rainbow trout on Friday. This is the first stocking this year of 9- to 16-inch-long rainbow trout into the two Black Lakes, which are located adjacent to Interstate 70 near the Vail Pass exit.

The fishery supplying the trout said roughly half the weight of the fish is 9- to 14-inch fish and the remaining is 12- to 16-inch fish. The total number of trout is estimated at more than 3,000. The final stocking of another 2,500 pounds of trout will occur in early July.

The trout are raised by a Boulder-based fishery that is licensed and health-inspected by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which annually tests the fishery’s trout to ensure each lot is healthy and free of disease.

The district stocks the lakes annually with catchable rainbow trout under the terms of a 1986 agreement with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. The two cold-water reservoirs are operated as part of the water supply system developed by the district, which is responsible for the public water system serving the town of Vail and, by contract, communities from Eagle-Vail through Cordillera.

At various times of the year, the district releases water from the two lakes into Black Gore Creek that flows into Gore Creek, which runs through the town of Vail. The released water augments Gore Creek streamflows. The lakes are currently “spilling” as remaining snowpack melts and water beyond the storage capacity flows over the spillway into Black Gore Creek. Black Lake No. 2 filled April 25, while Black Lake No. 1 filled May 29.

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Both lakes are visible from Interstate 70, sitting to the west of Vail Pass at an elevation of 10,500 feet, and are easily accessed. Black Lake No. 1 covers 27.7 acres and has a capacity of 527 acre-feet of water, nearly 172 million gallons, while Black Lake No. 2 covers 9.6 acres and has a capacity of 98 acre-feet of water, or about 32 million gallons. The lakes are stocked proportionally, with about two-thirds of the 2,500 pounds of rainbow trout going into Black Lake No. 1 and the remaining fish stocking Black Lake No. 2.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife partners with the district to operate Black Lake No. 2 in support of fishing, wildlife habitat and recreation. Information on fishing licenses and fees is available online at

For information about district operations, go to or call 970-476-7480.

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