Wildlife at Jackson Lake Visitors to Jackson Lake might see white-tailed or mule deer, coyote, red fox, cottontail rabbit, black-tailed jackrabbit, fox squirrel or thirteen-lined ground squirrel. In the winter, bald eagles are visible perched in cottonwoods and soaring over the reservoir. Large numbers of American white pelicans descend upon the lake in the summer. Due to its location in the Central Flyway many migratory birds visit Jackson Lake. Birders travel from throughout the region to visit because of the abundance and diversity of bird species. Long-billed curlews and whooping cranes are occasionally observed. Ferruginous and rough-legged hawks are present in the winter, while Swainson’s hawks return for the summer months.
Northern harriers fly low over wetlands and grasslands. Ground-nesting grassland birds such as horned larks, lark buntings, western meadowlarks and vesper sparrows may breed in the park in the spring.
Amphibian and reptile species in the park include the painted turtle, snapping turtle, six-lined racerunner, plains garter snake and bullfrog. Nonnative, predatory bullfrogs may contribute to declines in amphibian populations native to Colorado. Plains spadefoot toad, lesser earless lizard and western hognose snake are restricted to grasslands and sandhills. These species use rodent burrows for cover or to dig out prey.
Anglers are attracted by the fishing opportunities at Jackson Lake, which include rainbow trout, walleye, wiper, yellow perch, crappie, drum, carp and channel catfish. For more information about fishing, visit the Department of Wildlife's fishing page. You may also find helpful information by downloading our Jackson Lake Fishing Brochure.