Old Man Winter is making his presence known. Higher elevation waters, those above 8,000 feet, are starting to grow icecaps, which has folks pulling their augers out to do a little ice fishing. Unfortunately, most ice caps at this time are thin — less than 4 inches — and as a consequence, there have been a number of reports of folks taking a cold water bath. If you go, use extreme caution and check the ice thickness carefully before stepping on it. Carry a throw rope, don’t fish alone, and consider wearing a PDF when trying to fish thin ice.
Of the South Park waters, Tarryall has the thickest ice, but it runs from 2 to 6 inches, so extreme caution should be exercised. Fishing has been good for trout, with a few pike being caught. No need to venture far from shore, as most fish are being caught shallow, in less than 10 feet of water.
A number of folks have been ice fishing the Snake River inlet. There are reports of ice up to 6 inches thick, although most is thinner. Kokanee fishing has been decent, and a few trout are being caught. Small, bright jigs tipped with wax worms have been working.
Wolford Mountain Reservoir continues to produce a few kokanee, although reports are mixed. The schools move in and out. Best action typically comes early for kokanee, but the trout have been biting throughout the day. Spoons, spinners and streamers are all good choices. Remember, all fish must be fair hook; foul hooked fish must be released.
Green Mountain Reservoir still has open water and few anglers. The rainbow bite has been great, but the lakers have not made their presence known. Still, fishing large crankbaits, spoons or spinners could pay off handsomely. Big saltwater streamers would be a good choice.
Don’t overlook Granby for some open-water fishing. However, nearby Shadow Mountain Reservoir has an ice cap.
Rivers are still ice free and offering some excellent fishing. One of the best options is the lower Colorado from Glenwood Canyon downstream to Rifle. A variety of tactics are working, including minnow-imitating lures and spinners. Fly-fishers are doing well with large, dark streamers. Those preferring to nymph fish will do well with eggs patterns, San Juan worms, baetis, small stones and midges.
Dave Coulson is the Colorado state editor for www.fishexplorer.com. He contributes a weekly fishing report to the Explore Summit Weekender.