It seems the groundhog saw his shadow, so we’re in store for another six weeks of winter. Who knows if that’s how things are going to turn out, but recent cold and snow are not indications of spring. Thus, ice fishing is going to be around for a while.
Dillon Reservoir continues to produce a few, albeit badly deteriorated, kokanee at the Snake River arm. For fish in better shape, work shoreline areas in 10 to 30 feet of water. Most bait has a shot at working, but ice jigs tipped with a wax worm or similar offering are a better bet. Just remember actively fishing (moving the rod now and again) typically gets more action than a dead stick.
Downstream, Green Mountain Reservoir is sporting more than a foot of snow, resulting in a slush layer on top of the 18-plus inches of ice. Lake trout have been relatively active in the morning. Smaller lures in the 2- to 3-inch range with a bit of sucker meat will produce. Earthworms are also a good option to tip jigs with. Working one rod with a jig and the second with a spoon often produces more fish; the spoons bring them in, and the jigs get the bites.
South Park waters remain popular, and of the group, Tarryall is having some of the better action, mostly smallish rainbows. The nice thing about this reservoir is it’s seeing a lot less pressure than Elevenmile or Antero reservoirs. Of those two, Antero has the better reports. Best action is the morning bite, likely due to the lower traffic. One technique being used was colored jig heads tipped with sucker meat.
Granby Lake, with a good foot of snow on the ice, has been giving ATVs fits, as it has produced a slush layer. Getting stuck is a real possibility. If that’s your vehicle of choice, take chains and travel in pairs. Snowmobiles are a better option. Fishing has been fair for lake trout, mostly from those fishing deep water down to 100 feet. Don’t hesitate to fish shallow, especially with small jigs for rainbows.
Mount Elbert Forebay has been seeing ice anglers as the pump station is being repaired. It’s had good action for trout and macs on sucker-tipped jigs close to shore.
The river shouldn’t be totally ignored, especially the tailwaters. The Dream Stream, Blue River below both Dillon and Green Mountain and the Frying Pan are all offering decent winter fly-fishing with midges and Mysis. Downriver, the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers are flowing slush early in the day, but on those warm afternoons (above freezing), the slush often clears and offers a few hours to fish.
Dave Coulson is the Colorado state editor for www.fishexplorer.com. He contributes a weekly fishing report to the Summit Daily News.