Steamboat Springs Water Sports
Water might not be the first thing people think of when they think of Steamboat Springs, but many visitors — particularly those with an affinity for boating and kayaking — look forward to the area's sparkling lakes and rivers as much as they do the mountain peaks and small-town atmosphere.
The Yampa Valley's mountain lakes draw many visitors to the area each summer. There are two full-service marinas just a short drive from Steamboat Springs, the Steamboat Lake Marina at Steamboat Lake State Park and the marina at Stagecoach State Park. Steamboat Lake is a 1,053-acre reservoir and Stagecoach Reservoir is 780 acres. Both reservoirs permit boating, including jet skiing and water skiing, and offer boat rentals, gas docks, and fishing and camping supplies. Steamboat Lake Marina also offers boat docking. Stagecoach is equipped with two boat launches, and Steamboat Lake has three boat ramps. Motorized boats are only allowed at wakeless speeds on the 167-acre Pearl Lake, which is located in Pearl Lake State Park.
Water skiers are welcome on large portions of Steamboat Lake and Stagecoach Reservoir.
Fishermen, and women, will find plenty of fish biting in the local lakes. The most popular fishing holes for boaters are: Steamboat Lake for its rainbow and cutthroat trout; Stagecoach Reservoir, which is known for rainbow trout that average 10 to 16 inches and its large pike, which are as long as 46 inches and weigh up to 20 pounds; and Pearl Lake (popular with small fishing boats) with its cutthroat trout and grayling.
Jet skis and other personal watercraft are welcome on large portions of Steamboat Lake and Stagecoach Reservoir.
Sail boarders can enjoy the waters at Steamboat Lake and Stagecoach Reservoir.
Steamboat is known for having some of the best kayaking in Colorado, and a new playhole (constructed during the fall of 2000) only improves its reputation as a paddling playground.
The Yampa River runs through Steamboat Springs. On the east side of town the flow is a mild class I until it reaches downtown where it turns into a class II. As the river runs through downtown Steamboat, it is joined by a class V creek at Fish Creek. In early summer during the runoff, the Yampa usually runs about 6,000 cubic feet per second and slows to about 150 to 200 cubic feet per second for the majority of the summer.
Several area retailers rent kayaks and offer lessons. Summer kayak events include the Yampa River Festival and the Fat Eddy’s Fat City Showdown Kayak Rodeo, to be held June 6 – 8, 2003.
Steamboat's rafting outfitters offer guided trips on several nearby rivers: The Elk River, Yampa River, Colorado River, Eagle River, Arkansas River, and Cross Mountain Canyon. Trips are typically half-day, full-day or multi-day, and most of the full- and multi-day trips include meals, some of which are gourmet. The rivers' difficulty ratings range from class II, which is perfect for beginners or families, to the expert-only class V and everything in between. Each outfitters' trips are a bit different, so visitors can find one that fits their unique needs.
Tubing is an activity that fits perfectly with a lazy summer afternoon. It doesn't take a lot of skill and is a great activity for children through adults. However, there are no lifeguards, so tubers need to respect the river and keep safety a top priority at all times. Tubers can start their trip right in downtown Steamboat and float for about two miles to the James Brown Bridge west of downtown. Several area retailers rent tubes, and some even drop tubers off at the river and pick them up at the end of their journeys. The section of the river recommended for tubing is gentle with a few exciting spots.
Steamboat's close proximity to several mountain rivers, streams and lakes makes it a haven for fly fishermen. Some of the most popular fishing spots are the Yampa River, which runs the length of town; designated sections of the Elk River along Routt County Road 129, located a few miles from downtown; public sections of the Elk River along Seedhouse Road; Steamboat Lake; Pearl Lake; Stagecoach Reservoir; and Casey's Pond, a stocked pond that is perfect for beginners to practice casting.