Rivers continue to be the best bet for open-water fishing, short of a run down the hill to either the Grand Junction or Rifle areas or the Front Range, where a number of waters are now open to boating.
The Eagle River from Avon to Gypsum, the Colorado River from Pumphouse downstream through Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork River from Carbondale to the Colorado are some of the top choices at this time. Fishing techniques for waders are much the same on all three. Work the slower, deeper runs with stonefly nymphs, attractors or midges. Slow and methodical is the key. Don’t hesitate to try streamers: Either dead-drift them, or as the waters warm in the afternoon, swing them through the runs.
South Park waters are offering plenty of ice fishing, and the ice should easily last into April. Just keep in mind as things warm the shoreline thins out first. So the issue is not one of thick ice, but one of getting onto the ice without getting a soaking. Use extreme caution at all times when ice fishing.
Tarryall Reservoir is fishing fair for 10- to 14-inch trout, mostly rainbows. A few northern pike have been caught. Most all methods have been working to some extent. Antero Reservoir is slow, and some report the water has an odor. It is possible it’s suffering from low oxygen. Better to fish nearby Eleven Mile Reservoir, which seems to be fishing best in the afternoon. Jigging spoons, such as Kastmasters, tipped with a mealworm have been effective for some.
Some of the ice fishing right now is at Willow Creek Reservoir. There’s a good 18 inches-plus of ice. While the fish aren’t large, the action has been steady. Small ice jigs worked through the water column work well. Tipping them with some type of “worm” is a good idea.
Other options for decent fishing include Granby for lake trout, but ice is thick and hand augers are not recommended. Williams Fork Reservoir has been producing fair numbers of small lake trout, to 20 inches; small jigs tipped with a little sucker meat are a good tactic. Green Mountain Reservoir also has been producing some lake trout. The morning bite, before 10 a.m., is your best option.
Dave Coulson is the Colorado state editor for www.fishexplorer.com. He contributes a weekly fishing report to the Summit Daily News.