Dream Lake iced over - RMNP

Carter Lake Conditions

Park elevation: 5760'
Report last updated: 5/19/2016

Current Conditions

photo from park
A view of Carter Knolls campground from the Carter Lake swim beach.
Park situation


  • HUNTING is not allowed at Carter Lake

  • The shower house in the Eagle day use parking area is now open. 
  • Rangers no longer sell annual passes, day passes, or any other permit, including camping permits.Daily entrance permits are available for purchase at the automated pay stations on south CR 31 and west CR 8E, near the entrance station gates. The automated pay stations accept credit and debit cards only. Cash or checks will no longer be accepted at the self-service automated pay stations.


Fishing conditions

Trout fishing has been picking up as water temperatures rise. Anglers have been succesful with Powerbait of green and orange colors on the bottom. Gold colored spinners and rooster tails have also brought in fish. The daily bag limit on trout is 4. There is no size limit.

Boat fishing: Trout have been schooling near the dams. There is no fishing on or within 100 feet of the dams, but if you troll outside the 100 feet and cast into the dam area, you may have some luck.

For walleye, try to find some deeper water. The Saddle at the southeast end of the reservoir and "Green Cove" near the north end of the Sundance trail both have steep shoreline and deeper water. The walleye like to hang out on the underwater ledges in these areas. They tend to be more active in the early morning and early evening. Few large walleye have been caught recently. The daily bag limit on walleye is 3. Walleye must be less than 21" or else immediately returned to the water.

The bass have been evasive, as of late. If you are fortunate enough to land one, make sure it is at least 15" before you decide to keep it. Bass less than 15" must be immediately returned to the water. The daily bag limit on bass is 5.

For more current conditions and stocking reports, check with the Division of Wildlife.

Ice fishing is not permitted

Water level and boat ramps

Water Level:



Boating Access Hours

Before traveling to one of our reservoirs, always check here first for the most current information.

We are required to inspect every vessel entering Carter Lake and Horsetooth Reservoir for aquatic nuisance species. That requires specific hours of operation for boating. No boat launching is permitted outside of these hours; however, boats already on the reservoirs may continue operation.


 Carter Lake Boat Ramp Hours


May 1st 2016
North ramp: 6am - 10pm 7 days a week
South Shore ramp: 6am - 10pm 7 days a week
North Pines ramp: 8am - 4pm Wednesday - Sunday 



Water elevation

Carter Lake Marina Store is now open daily from 9:00am - 5:00pm.


All campgrounds are open.

Attention campers: If you do not have a reservation for a campsite, you will need to visit the Larimer County administrative office at 1800 South County Road 31 to purchase your campsite during the following hours:

Monday- Thursday 8:00am - 4:30pm

Friday 8:00am- 8:00pm

Saturday- Sunday 8:00am- 6:00pm

Weekends are still filling up so reserve early!

Camping fees will no longer be accepted at your campsite. A reservation for camping is highly recommended. You may now reserve a campsite one day in advance. To reserve a campsite, call (800) 397-7795 or visit www.larimercamping.com.

Camping reservations may now be made from 1-180 days in advance.


Mule deer and elk are plentiful this time of year. A large herd of elk has been frequenting the areas near our administrative office, just off of County Roads 31 and 18E. The mule deer have been gathering near the marina and Eagle Campground around dusk. Wild turkeys have been spotted in and around North Pines Campground and Eagle Campground. Use caution when driving. Wildlife commonly grazes near the roadway and can be difficult to see, especially at night. Keep in mind, we want to keep the wildlife wild. Do NOT leave food out or otherwise feed the wildlife.

Park events

A complete list of upcoming events can be found at http://www.larimer.org/naturalresources/news.cfm.

See the Parks and Open Lands event calendar.
Background Image: Dream Lake frozen over in Rocky Mountain National Park by Bryce Bradford. All rights reserved.