One of the biggest draws of Colorado living is the 300-plus days of sun we get every year—and what better way to enjoy the rays than by relaxing alongside placid water at The Lakes at Centerra? For those in the know, Centerra’s two bodies of water are gems on a colorful Colorado day. Houts Reservoir and Equalizer Lake, which flank our community, provide ample opportunity for residents to get out, grab a kayak or fishing pole, and take in the beautiful mountain vistas.
Outdoor recreation goes hand-in-hand with Colorado’s bountiful sunny days and The Lakes at Centerra offers a ton of ways to take advantage of both. From morning meditations among the birds on the open water to casting a line at a surprisingly impressive variety of fish, here are our favorite ways to take in the fun and beauty of the lakes that are our namesake.
Boating at The Lakes
Cool breeze, warm sun and just a little bit of exercise: hanging out on the water is one of the most popular ways residents take advantage of this unique community feature. Ideal for warm afternoons and weekend outings, Houts Reservoir is available and accessible to homeowners during the summer months, allowing you to take full advantage of Loveland’s scenic outdoors.
Kayaks are available to residents and their guests for reservation during posted hours, which this season is between 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. Residents can also use their own watercraft (paddleboards and pool floats are prohibited) but must register online through the resident portal for a season permit and sign a liability waiver online before accessing the lake. Before launching that watercraft, make sure to check in with a pool ambassador.
Unlike other lakes around northern Colorado, your tranquil outing won’t be interrupted by folks having a little too much fun on the water. The Lakes Board of Directors and the High Plains Environmental Center (HPEC) regulate human impact and prohibit motorized boats on Houts Reservoir. Kayaks and canoes? No problem. For an added amount of tranquility, head over to Equalizer Lake, where boating of any kind is strictly prohibited. For your safety, please note that wading or swimming in either lake is not allowed.
While you’re gliding across the serene water with the wind in your hair, make sure to do it safely by wearing a personal floatation device and abstaining from alcohol consumption.
Fishing at The Lakes
If you’re itching to cast a line, residents of The Lakes don’t have far to travel. Both Houts Reservoir and Equalizer Lake are fantastic fishing hotspots with an impressive variety just waiting to nibble. Whether you’re a bait caster or fly fisher, the lakes are open to residents as well as the public.
Conveniently situated right near I-25 and U.S. 34, these two lakes within our community are proven spots for fishing enthusiasts—and the views are incredible, too. Anglers can reel in fish to the backdrop of Colorado’s pristine mountains. Many of our residents pack a lunch and make a day out of it. You’ll discover a robust variety of fish right in your backyard.
For the lucky or skilled casters, those fish might seem unlimited, but keep in mind that there are some restrictions on where you can drop a line. At Houts Reservoir, the fishing zone extends from the shoreline along the southwestern edge, from the pump houses to where the land bridge begins. For Equalizer Lake, the fishing zones include three casting spots: the fishing pier located west of Old Canal Park, the rip-rap/loose-stone shoreline along the southeastern edge and the dam rip-rap along the southern edge. For the safety of our residents and preservation of the lake, fishing between these locations is not permitted. Also, please refrain from wading into the water to cast—you’ll get an up-close look at those fish once you reel them in from the safety of dry ground.
While you’re casting from the designated fishing spots, you’ll be amazed at what you might pull from the water. In 2017, students at Front Range Community College conducted a fish sample in the lakes and identified the following species:
In addition, the Colorado Department of Wildlife has identified the following species:
With such a varied selection, you’ll never tire of casting a line. Just make sure that you have your fishing license. If you don’t have one, you can easily pick up a fishing license from the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website. You can also check out these fishing time charts to determine when fish will be the most active at each destination: Houts Reservoir and Equalizer Lake.
For the enjoyment of all, please adhere to all state and local fishing rules and regulations.
Walks & Wildlife at The Lakes
For many, the best way to take in The Lakes is a long, relaxing walk on the trails skirting the water. Having easy access to these scenic trails provides instant immersion into the landscape. The HPEC Lakeside Trail offers a 1.6-mile Houts loop and a 2.2-mile Equalizer loop. A loop around both lakes is 3.2 miles. The partially paved and unpaved paths offer access to wetland ecology and wildlife areas. If you’re specifically interested in bird spotting, HPEC hosts guided tours with ornithologists on the first Saturday of every month. HPEC will also host organized paddling groups, including paddle birding. There’s an amazingly diverse population of local and migratory shorebirds to see out on the lakes.
While you’re enjoying the scenic beauty of the paths, remember to please respect all HPEC trail and fishing regulations.
Join the Club
One of the things that makes living at The Lakes at Centerra a little sweeter is our Lake Club. This is where The Lakes becomes a true neighborhood.
The Lake Club offers a double-sided fireplace for cool-weather get-togethers and a community room that lets you hold events, like a book club upon reservation. In addition, there is an outdoor grill and indoor demonstration kitchen.
If COVID-19 has taught us one thing it is that people love gathering together, and when it is safe to do so again the Lake Club is a great place to do just that. Come together with friends and family to relax, unwind and enjoy the tranquility of the lakes.
Bonus Water Fun: The Lake Club Pool
Lake life is awesome, but sometimes a little pool therapy is just what you need. Whether you’re catchingsome sun on the deck chairs, cooling off in the general swimming area, breaking a sweat with some laps, or hanging out with the kids or grandkids in the splash zone, the pristine, crystal-clear Lake Club pool is a prime relaxing zone designed for all ages and interests. It’s a slice of vacation right in the heart of the community.
This season, the pool opens Friday, May 28 and closes Monday, Sept. 6.
Speaking of community: Just next to the pool is the Frank Farm Park, which features a sizeable playground and picnic area where folks can spread out and enjoy the good life. Conveniently located close to the clubhouse and surrounding homes of The Lakes at Centerra, kids can be kids in a community-minded outdoor environment that close enough to be home before the streetlights come on.
So, whether you’re going for “lake hair, don’t care” vibes, trying to reel in the next whopper, or maybe looking to take a mid-day vacation at the pool, The Lakes at Centerra offers all of that and more this season. Dip your toes in and find out for yourself.
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