Steamboat Lake State Park Wildlife
Routt National Forest helps to preserve large tracts of contiguous habitat in the region. Mule deer and red fox commonly occur in the park. Rare sightings of black bear and mountain lion are sometimes reported. Other mammals at Steamboat Lake include American marten, long-tailed weasel, northern pocket gopher, beaver, muskrat and several species of shrews, voles, squirrels and mice. Tiger salamander, striped chorus frog and western terrestrial garter snake also are present. Because dramatic late summer drawdowns do not occur at Steamboat Lake, the reservoir exhibits characteristics similar to a natural lake with more constant shoreline conditions and water levels for resident and migrating wildlife.
Over 200 species of migratory and resident birds are known in the park including northern harrier, osprey, great blue heron, western screech owl, western bluebird, hairy and downy woodpeckers and red-winged blackbird. Located in the Pacific Flyway, the reservoir attracts many shorebirds and waterfowl. Greater sandhill cranes return to nest in the willow carrs and marshes each spring. The park staff requests that visitors keep their distance when observing the cranes.
Steamboat Lake offers excellent cold-water fishing opportunities for rainbow trout, Tasmanian and bel-aire hybrids, cutthroat trout and brown trout. Occasionally a Brook trout is reported.