Watson Lake State Wildlife Area
Watson Lake, Colorado
This small State Wildlife Area sits at the base of a cliff that is a traditional nesting site for Golden Eagles, White-throated Swifts, and Canyon Wrens. The lake was formed during construction of Horsetooth Reservoir. It might have served as a borrow pit for various materials needed for Horsetooth’s four dams. The lake now attracts waterfowl in late fall and early spring, including Hooded Mergansers. Stop by the nearby Bellvue-Watson Fish Hatchery, as self-guided tours, fishing, birdwatching, and nature trails make this an excellent education and recreation destination.
In 2019, a fish ladder was completed on the Poudre River at Watson Lake to improve fish habitat. This area of the Poudre contains important spawning habitat and deep pools that can provide refuge for fish. This project was made possible by Colorado Parks & Wildlife, along with funding partners noosa yoghurt, Northern Water, Morning Fresh Dairy, Poudre Heritage Alliance and Trout Unlimited.
Open all year, except for the northwest side, access is prohibited as posted.
Interpretive signs facing the Poudre River at the fish ladder structure.