Those hoping for open-water fishing reservoir or lake fishing will have to wait a little longer or head down the hill to find it, though limited open-water fishing is often available at inlet areas. The best bet for open water remains rivers at this time.
The Colorado River from the pumphouse downstream has been fishing well, and is floatable. Double nymph rigs with a heavily weighted point fly is the best option for probing the depths of the deeper runs. Stoneflies and bead-headed nymphs are ideal for the point fly. There are reports of good midge hatches and sporadic rises in the evening hours. The Glenwood Springs area and downstream is fishing great right now. Just be aware that clarity can quickly become an issue once snowmelt gets underway.
The nice thing about starting on the Lower Colorado River is you can always move upstream on the Roaring Fork or Eagle rivers until you find clearer water. Both rivers have been fishing well, with midges remaining the primary pattern. Waters are still cold so working the deeper runs remains a good tactic, but use smaller weighted nymphs for the point fly and a midge dropper.
With the higher flows on the Blue River below Dillon Reservoir, anglers are finding fishing to be excellent. Good numbers of mysis shrimp are getting flushed into the river, making that a good starting point. Your second fly should be either a midge pattern or an attractor, such as small San Juan worm. Now is also a great time to try a streamer.
While the flows are still low, there are reports of spawning fish moving into the Dream Stream from Elevenmile Reservoir. That’s the good news; the bad news is even greater numbers of anglers are showing up. So unless you like fighting the crowds, weekdays are going to be your best bet to visit this popular water. If you do go, please don’t fish or wade redds.
Elevenmile still has a good coat of ice on the main reservoir, but there are reports of open areas around inlets and thinning shore ice. Use caution getting on the ice this time of year, no matter where you go.
Willow Creek Reservoir is reporting good action for rainbows through the ice. Fishing shallow water, up to 20 feet has been productive. Give small ice jigs tipped with wax worms a try. Nearby Granby still has a couple of feet of ice, the top half being a snow ice, the lower half good clear ice.
Snowmobiles are getting around without issue. The action for small lake trout has been decent with jigs tipped with something, such as sucker.
Dave Coulson is the Colorado state editor for www.fishexplorer.com. He contributes a weekly fishing report to the Summit Daily News.