The recent cold snap put the entire state in a deep freeze, and as a consequence, open-water fishing is primarily limited to river tail waters and some of the lower rivers, such as the Roaring Fork and Colorado River around Glenwood.
The good side to the cold is nearly every pond, lake and reservoir has a solid cap of ice. There are a few exceptions, such as a couple of the deeper reservoirs at Granby and the Blue Mesa Reservoir, which still have open water.
South Park waters are fully iced and fishing well. Jefferson Lake is capped, but the trail in is not fully snowed over, making it rough on snowmobiles. Fishing is good for rainbows and small lake trout. Small tube jigs are a good choice.
Lower down, Eleven Mile Reservoir is attracting large numbers of anglers. Most of the reservoir has 6 or more inches of ice. While action isn’t fast, those sticking with it are producing some nice fish to the 20-inch mark. Besides tube jigs, try kastmasters and other slab jigging spoons. Don’t be surprised if a pike or two show also.
Antero Reservoir is also seeing a lot of anglers. Reports indicate ice is 8 to 12 inches thick, depending on the area. Fishing has been consistent, with anglers catching fish on nearly everything tried: eggs, worms and tipped jigs of all sizes and colors. The largest fish being reported are approaching 20 inches.
The Snake River inlet at Dillon Reservoir is still producing kokanee and a few trout. Just don’t expect to be alone as traffic has been heavy. The keys to success are fish early, change up lures frequently if what you’re using isn’t working and don’t be afraid to drill a few holes.
Downstream, Rifle Gap and Harvey reservoirs are now sporting a full coat of ice that was 2 to 3 inches, meaning it should be more than 4 inches by the weekend. Those braving the thin ice have been doing well on perch and an occasional trout. Work jigs tipped with a waxworm near the bottom for good action. If you don’t catch a fish in 15-30 minutes, move and drill a new hole. Water 10 to 30 feet deep will be your best bet.
Dave Coulson is the Colorado state editor for www.fishexplorer.com. He contributes a weekly fishing report to the Summit Daily News.