Dillon Reservoir

Dillon Reservoir, aka Lake Dillon, is Summit County’s crown jewel. We’ve been leading guided kayak tours on Dillon for fifteen years! A large part of our kayak tours is based on Dillon Reservoir facts and history. So, over the years, we have compiled just about every piece of information on Dillon Reservoir we can find. This is our attempt to organize that information. We hope it can better help you when planning a visit to Dillon Reservoir.

If you’re considering visiting Dillon Reservoir but haven’t decided on an activity, we highly suggest checking out our guided kayak tours on Dillon. We are ranked as Frisco’s number one activity. We are also the only kayak tour outfitter permitted by the Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee (DRrec) to lead guided kayak tours on Dillon Reservoir. DRReC is the governing body responsible for managing Dillon Reservoir.

We published this page in February 2023, and it is an ongoing project. We will continue to update it and add information as we go. If you can’t find an answer to what you are looking for please, submit a comment at the bottom of this page. 

Dillon Reservoir offers camping, fishing, and kayaking in the Summer. Cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and snowshoeing in the Winter. The water temps can be very cold at 9,100 feet of elevation, but the crazy thing is that even higher mountains surround it! There are three mountain ranges surrounding Dillon. Probably the most famous and most visited is the Ten Mile Range, but don’t skip the Gore Range and the Williams Fork Range, both of which include awesome Wilderness areas!

Quick Facts

  • Area – 3,233 surface acres
  • Depth – Has an average depth of 75 feet and at it’s deepest point near the dam 215 feet
  • Shoreline – 26 miles
  • Colorado’s third largest reservoir
  • Frisco Marina – The Frisco Bay is located on the west side of Dillon Reservoir and is where our business is located. Our kayak tours launch from this marina due the better protection from wind and many islands nearby
  • Dillon Marina – The Dillon Marina is on the east side and is best suited for power boating. This marina is the highest deep-water launch in the country.
  • Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Canoeing
  • Sailing
  • Powerboats
  • Fishing
  • Camping (designated sites only)
  • Jetskis
  • Water skiing
  • Camping on islands
  • Overnight use outside designated campgrounds and marinas

Fishing on Dillon Reservoir

Fishing on Dillon can be action-packed during certain times of the year. It can however be very difficult during late summer. Often during July and August, the Trout and artic char will start to search for cooler water temps. We are writing a detailed page specific to Fishing on Dillon Reservoir, but this page will provide you with some quick info.

Dillon Reservoir is over two-hundred feet deep, and the Char love that depth once the surface temps creep up above 60 degrees. Below are a few frequently asked questions regarding fishing on Dillon. We are currently writing a dedicated Fishing on Dillon Reservoir page with detailed information on where to buy fishing tackle or flies specifically for Dillon Reservoir.

What fish species live in Dillon Reservoir?

  • Brown Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brook Trout
  • Artic Char
  • Kokanee Salmon
Rainbow Trout being held over the water on Dillon reservoir

Can you keep fish on Dillon Reservoir?

  • Yes, the regular state-wide regulations apply to Dillon Reservoir which is a daily bag limit of 4 trout and a possession limit of 8 trout.
  • Artic Char have a special regulation on Dillon, which is 1 Artic Char must be over 20 inches.

How do you catch trout on Dillon Reservoir?

The answer is detailed and for more information, visit our page on how to catch trout on Dillon reservoir.

  • Fish the River Inlets in Spring
  • Fish below 15 feet when surface water temps approach 60 degrees

Hiring a guide on Dillon or fish alone?

Year-round fishing opportunities are abundant on Dillon, but visitors often leave Dillon Reservoir skunked and defeated. This can especially be the case if you are new to fly fishing. Guided fishing trips on Dillon can be a quick and easy way to shorten the learning curve if you’re looking to catch fish quickly. For fly fishing, the river inlets on Dillon Reservoir, we recommend the Colorado Angler. Their Fly shop is in the Town of Dillon, giving you quick access to the Snake River Inlet or the Colorado River.

If you want to fish the reservoir and catch Artic Char or trout lurking in the deeper areas of Dillon, we recommend contacting Randy with Alpine Fishing Adventures. These guys specialize in fishing from a boat and can target Artic Char in the deeper zones of Dillon during the warmer times of the year.

Camping on Dillon Reservoir

The Camping opportunities on Dillon Reservoir are just as extensive as the fishing! There are technically six campgrounds with over 450 sites. Often during the peak of summer, most campsites on Dillon are sold out, but luckily the powers that be keep a few campsites as drive-up only, meaning reservations are not allowed. This allows guests to show up without a reservation. All of the sites in Pine cove are no reservations, this campsite probably has the least amount of privacy, but it’s in the best location if you are planning on biking on Dillon or leaving your boat in the water overnight.

Dillon Reservoir Campground List

  • Heaton Bay
  • Peak One
  • Prospector
  • Pine Cove (no reservation)
  • Windy Point (group campground)
  • Lowry Campground (overlooks Dillon)

Can you camp on Dillon Islands?

No, camping on the islands of Dillon is strictly prohibited. In fact, overnight use as a whole on the reservoir is highly regulated. In a nutshell, overnight use is only allowed in designated campsites. You can boat at night on Dillon, but if you don’t have a slip or a mooring ball at the Frisco Marina or Dillon Marina, you will be stuck on the lake until 8 am the next morning! Both boat ramps have closing times since all boats launching and leaving Dillon Reservoir are required to be inspected for exotic invasive species such as the Zebra Mussel.

Does Dillon Reservoir have dispersed camping?

There is no dispersed camping on Dillon reservoir however, there are a number of dispersed camping options within a few miles of Dillon Reservoir.

What is the best campground on Dillon for paddleboarding or kayaking?

In our opinion, Heaton Bay Campground is the best area for paddleboarding or kayaking. The number one reason being it’s closest to the Islands of Giberson Bay and it’s a very easy and protected paddle to Sentinal Island and Pirates Cove.  For more info on Heaton Bay visit our Heaton Bay Campground page.

Dillon Reservoir Access

Trailered Boats & Power Boat Access

Dillon Reservoir has several access points, but due to our efforts to stop the spread of Exotic Invasives, there are only two sites where you can launch a motorized boat or a trailered watercraft. If you plan to launch any watercraft using a trailer or a motorized boat, you must launch from one of the two marinas. The Dillon Marina is a great option for early and late seasons due to its deep water access. Dillon Marina is very exposed to our prevailing west winds and isn’t the best option for small boats and kayaks. The Frisco Bay Marina is great for smaller crafts but is also fine throughout most of the season. The Frisco Bay Marina is more protected and offers quick access to Giberson Bay, a great zone for paddlesports.

Paddlesports Access

Guests visiting Dillon Reservoir to paddle may launch their canoe, kayak, or paddleboard from just about anywhere they can walk to. The exception to this rule is if you transport your kayaks by trailer, you must get the trailer and watercraft inspected for invasive species at one of the marinas. Please visit our Dillon Reservoir Kayak and SUP launch sites page for our favorite spots to launch a paddle craft.

  • Frisco Bay Marina
  • Dillon Marina
  • Farmer's Corner (Blue RIver Inlet)
  • Dillon Dam Rd
  • Snake River Inlet