Ruedi Reservoir Colorado Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Ruedi Reservoir

Ruedi Reservoir, a high elevation body of water created by the Ruedi Dam, offers boating, fishing, hiking and biking access for those who prefer to stay out of mainstream Aspen recreation.

  • High altitude, on-water recreation access. Think, boating and fishing!
  • Did we mention fishing!? Gamefish galore!
  • Access to hiking and biking trails in the Fryingpan River Valley.
  • Ammenities-laden campsites available first-come, first-served or by reservation. Take your pick!
  • Contact Aspen/Sopris Ranger District at (970) 963-2266 or 925-3445 for information.


The construction of Ruedi Dam, as part of the storied Fryingpan-Arkansas Project of 1950s capitol politics, created the Ruedi (pronounced Roo-Dye) Reservoir, just 14 miles east of Basalt, CO, in the Fryingpan River Valley. This multipurpose reservoir provides a water source for everything from industrial to municipal to recreational use. Let's talk about recreational use, shall we?


The reservoir, located on the western slope of the Fryingpan River Basin, can be visited by heading south on Highway 82. Take a left, heading east, on Fryingpan Road, at the town of Basalt.

Approaching from Aspen? Just drive 19 miles north on 82 and look for Fryingpan Road in Basalt. The reservoir is located about 14 miles down the road. You can't miss it!

There is an $8 parking fee to park in the lot by the boat ramp. Located in White River National Forest, though not on land designated "wilderness," contact Aspen/Sopris Ranger District at (970) 963-2266 or 925-3445 for more information.


Visit the reservoir after the snow melts, when the summer sun warms the afternoon, when the leaves begin to change. Facilities around the reservoir close in the winter months, although ice fishing is allowed on the frozen water. Yes, the reservoir freezes over. Located at high altitude (about 7800 feet), Ruedi Reservoir is certainly subject to extreme weather conditions, especially in the months around and during the winter. In the warmer season, too, use caution, as a sunny July afternoon can quickly turn into an afternoon of severe storm weather.


Offering nearly 1,000 acres, anglers can chase rainbow and lake trout, but there's also a chance for kokanee as well.

From winter ice fishing to deep water applications along the dam face in the summer, the trout are there and they are plentiful. Your basic trolling setups or baits are best on the open water. Try jigs tipped with baits through the ice during the winter months. The top fishing season will be right after ice out as fish look to make up for lost time by eating everything in sight. 

Besides rainbows, lakers and kokanee, Ruedi Reservoir fishermen also may hook into the occasional brown trout, yellow perch especially in winter, or they might end up with a white sucker. Rainbows and browns average 10 inches while the lakers average 22 inches. Anglers are asked to keep all perch they catch. Another 60,000 rainbows are planted into Ruedi each year. 

Accessing Ruedi Reservoir is easy thanks to Colorado 82 Frying Pan Road and two boat ramps. There's also a campground to make a long weekend of it.


Finally, a place to launch your motor boat! Boats of all varieties, sail to pontoon, are allowed in these spacious waters. A boat ramp is located by the main parking lot. Please, be mindful of restrictions regarding invasive species spread through contaminated boats. Visit for more information.


Ruedi Trail: Located to the north of the reservoir, this trail takes hikers (and bikers) to the top of Red Table Mountain. The trailhead can be easily found about 200 feet north of the jeep trail near the boat ramp and parking lot. This eight mile trail gains over 3000 feet elevation, leading hikers to a spectacular 360 degree vista view. For trip planning, contact Sopris Ranger District at (970) 963-2266.


First a word about bike trails in the area: They are also open to hikers.

Rocky Fork Trail: Located south of the res. For access, take a right, off Fryingpan Road, at the angler's access road below Ruedi Dam. Follow the road until it dead ends. Trailhead located at the dead end. The initial ascent of this trail is certainly steep but it levels and inclines become more gradual. This trailhead allows access to a system of trails which, depending on how you go, could take you to Basalt or Woody Creek. Please, consult trail maps available at White River National Forest Ranger stations in Aspen and Carbondale.


Four campgrounds, availing over 75 sites, are located on the northern side of the reservoir, though only three are open for the 2010 season. (Little Maude is closed.)  Little Mattie and Ruedi Marina campgrounds do not accept reservations. Mollie B, however, does take reservations and offers hot/cold water, flush toilets and an on-site dump station. These are not your hard-knocks campsites! Visit the White River National Forest Website for more information.