Antero Reservoir

Antero Reservoir is an artificial reservoir that has been created by the construction of an earthen dam on the South Platte River. Owned and managed by the Denver Water in coordination with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Antero Reservoir is situated in Park County in the central part of the US State of Colorado. The Antero Reservoir provides potable water for the greater Denver region that is situated approximately 230km southwest of the reservoir.

About the Reservoir

A view of the Antero Reservoir
A view of the Antero Reservoir. 

The Antero Reservoir covers an area of 10.12 sq. km and holds a maximum capacity of 25,000,000 cubic meters of water. This relatively shallow lake reaches a maximum depth of 5.5m. The terrain around the reservoir has a bowl-like shape and is located at an elevation of 2,726m. This high elevation of the reservoir serves as a perfect setting for the extreme cold temperature that is experienced by the reservoir. The average high temperature of the Antero Reservoir is about 11.3°C while the average low temperature of the reservoir is about -7.5°C. The lowest temperature that has been recorded in the Antero Reservoir is -48°C.

The shallowness of the Antero Reservoir makes it quite warmer compared to its high elevation. This makes the reservoir a perfect spawning ground for large, fast-growing fishes. Some of the notable fishes that are found here include brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, kokanee salmon, snake river cutthroat, etc. Fishing is allowed in the reservoir throughout the year, with ice-fishing being the primary attraction during the winter months. In addition to fishing, the Antero Reservoir also offers many recreational activities such as boating, camping, hiking, and picnicking.

Brief History

The name “Antero” has been derived from a Spanish term which means “first” since the Antero Dam was the initial earthen dam that was built in 1909 on the Middle Fork of the South Platte River. Geologists believe that this dam occupied the site of a dry lake bed that was about 300 years old. This dry lake was referred to as the Green Lake that at present lies submerged within the reservoir. In 1924, together with the High Line Canal, the reservoir was acquired by Denver Water and since then the reservoir became a part of the Denver Water System. In 2002, due to drought, the Antero Reservoir became completely dry and remained closed for more than 5 years. In 2007, Denver Water in collaboration with the Colorado Division of Wildlife resurrected the Antero Reservoir and restocked it with fishes like brook trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, etc. Due to excess seepage in 2011, the water level of the reservoir was lowered by about two feet. In June 2015, the Antero Reservoir was drained to carry out the repair works of the Antero Dam.