The recent rains and snow are a reminder that winter isn’t too far away. Soon fishing will primarily be at tailwater locations for the openwater enthusiasts. Everyone else will be drilling holes through the ice or reading about fishing while tending the fire.
With frost already hitting the High Ccountry, some of the highest waters will soon be sporting a coat of ice. There are those chomping at the bit and willing to take chances on early ice, sometimes as little as 1-inch thick. While 2 inches is said to be enough to support a single angler, 4 inches is a much safer bet.
For those early hard-water anglers, might I suggest the following:
• Don’t go alone.
• Always carry a throw rope.
• Always carefully test the ice before fishing.
• Wear a life vest on thin ice — or better stay off it.
• Carry a pair of ice picks on a cord to assist in pulling yourself out should you fall through.
• Have a change of clothing in the vehicle or on the shore to change into.
• Snowshoes can help distribute your weight on the ice.
For those willing to wait for safe ice, consider that the rivers are still in great shape and fishing well. Streamers are a great choice for the active browns on the Eagle, Colorado and Blue rivers. As water temperatures drop the best action will be found in the afternoon after the waters warm up, or by fishing the deeper runs.
There are a number of stillwater options at this time, not the least of which is Dillon Reservoir. While fishing has slowed, working the rocky shoreline with jigs or streamers will produce a few browns. Further downstream, Green Mountain Reservoir has been producing a few rainbows, but it’s the kokanee that are attracting most folks looking to snag a few.
Success has been limited but with each cold snap look for them to move in closer, that’s much the same story at Wolford Reservor.
In the Grand Lake area, Granby has been producing a few small trout. Again as waters cool look for the lake trout action to pick up as they move into shallower water to spawn. The dikes are always a popular spot. Upstream Monarch Lake has been producing fair numbers of healthy brook trout. Hurry on this one as it won’t be long before snows make access difficult.
Dave Coulson is the Colorado state editor for www.fishexplorer.com. He contributes a weekly fishing report to the Summit Daily.