This time of year, open-water fishing is limited primarily to tailwater fisheries and lower sections of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers. Tailwaters are your best bet and fairly consistent fisheries with midges and either nymphs or dries when cloudy. It’s best to fish during the week to avoid the crowds.
There are plenty of options, but ice fishing offers your best chance for a great day of catching. Nearby Dillon Reservoir has been fishing slow. A better choice is downstream at Green Mountain Reservoir, where fishing has been fair for rainbows in shallow water. A wide variety of small ice jigs are working. Lake trout move from deeper water, where they are most often fished, to shallow areas to feed. Use one rod for lake trout and another for rainbows and browns.
Williams Fork Reservoir has a good foot of ice and is producing a fair number of small lake trout in the 16- to 22-inch class. Fishing pressure has been light.
Reports indicate that lake trout have been caught from 10 feet of water to 50 feet or deeper. Interestingly, the same can be said for the rainbows, although they typically run higher in the water column.
Concentrate your lake efforts near the bottom with slightly larger jigs — up to 3 inches. For the rainbows, work smaller jigs from the ice down one reel crank at a time.
The better action has been occurring in the afternoons.
Now that Granby has a good ice cap, we’re seeing a lot more fishing pressure on the reservoir with snowmobiles and ATVs being able to move around freely. Just be aware that there is a lot of slush, which can make travel difficult. Most reports are for lake trout — nothing large, most less than 24 inches — using standard fare. Jigs and sucker meat are used by most.
South Park waters remain very popular. Antero Reservoir continues to produce fish. Working shallow waters, less than 10 feet, is a good tactic. Jigging spoons, such as Kastmasters, have been working. Other good choices are small tube jigs in the 1- to 2-inch class; white and pink have been effective.
There was a tournament at Elevenmile recently, so it might be good to give this one a rest. Same can be said for Tarryall. While tournaments are great fun, they can make catching a bit more challenging for a little while. If you have a snowmobile, consider running up the hill to Jefferson. Fishing has been good for lake trout, and there’s almost no pressure.
Dave Coulson is the Colorado state editor for www.fishexplorer.com. He contributes a weekly fishing report to the Summit Daily News.