Fishing the tailwaters, such as the Blue River below Dillon Reservoir, Dream Stream below Spinney Reservoir and Frying Pan below Ruedi Reservoir, is quickly becoming the primary open-water option. The lower Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers may offer some ice-free sections on the warmer days. Typically, midges are going to be your best bet, and on days when the air temperatures reach the 30s, it can be pleasant.
On those sunny days with little wind, ice fishing can be downright comfortable. Right now, large numbers of anglers have been making their way to South Park reservoirs. A few folks have been trying to get into Jefferson Lake. The problem is, it’s a long walk and the snow isn’t heavy enough to make the run good on a snowmobile — too much bare ground. Another good snow is needed.
Antero Reservoir has a good morning bite. The ice is anywhere from 9 inches on up in thickness. At the current rate of growth, power augers will become more than a luxury.
A lot of people have been fishing, so it’s a good idea to be prepared to move to areas with less pressure if your favorite spot is getting hammered. Small jigs are working well — as in 1- to 2-inch tube jigs tipped with a meal or wax worm. Good colors are chartreuse, white, black and pink. Don’t hesitate to try other small ice jigs, and consider fishing two or three jigs at a time.
Eleven Mile Reservoir has been producing better numbers than Antero. Ice is similar thickness. Water clarity at “the Mile” has been murky for the most part, but that hasn’t hurt fishing. Give tube jigs at try, along with ice jigs. Good colors are orange, pink and white. While dead-sticking is a popular way to fish, it’s really a good idea to work those jigs a bit — just don’t over do it. A jiggle is all it takes.
Tarryall Reservoir also has a good morning bite. While the action is often good, the fish typically are recently stocked trout.
Officers Gulch Pond has been producing good numbers of brook trout. Don’t be afraid to fish shallow and tight to the bottom with black or red crappie jigs. A light action rod will help detect the soft bite.
To the west, Harvey Gap and Rifle Gap reservoirs have around 6 inches of ice. The action has been good for trout and perch. For the perch, small jigs tipped with a wax worm or perch eye near the bottom are often effective. Work waters from 10 feet to 30 feet deep.
Dave Coulson is the Colorado state editor for www.fishexplorer.com. He contributes a weekly fishing report to the Summit Daily News.