Fishing Report: The ice is coming, but solid open-water options remain
Special to the Daily
Old Man Winter is knocking at the door and ice is on the way. Lakes above 10,000 feet are starting to show some ice, to the point there have been a couple reports of folks venturing out to fish — it’s thin ice, mind you, under 4 inches thick. If you decide to be an early ice fisher, please be smart and carry a throw rope, ice pick, fish with a buddy, carefully test the ice frequently as you venture out, and wear a life vest.
Meanwhile there remain some solid open-water fishing options. Wolford Mountain Reservoir has been fishing well for trout with spoons, and if you time it right, kokanee are taking small bright-colored jigs. Remember snagging by any means is illegal at Wolford.
Another good location for kokanee, catch and release, is the “Dream Stream” section of the South Platte. This run might be short, but if you miss the kokanee the trout action has been decent with egg patterns, San Juan worms, copper Johns and other generic nymphs. All of the South Park reservoirs are ice free and fishing fair to good. Tarryall Reservoir is doing well with a fly-and-bubble rig trailing a pheasant tail. Antero Reservoir has seen limited action on flies; bait has been a better bet for most angler. Elevenmile and Spinney Mountain reservoirs have been spotty at best.
Granby Lake is still in the mid-40s, perfect temperatures to catch lake trout shallow. A number of anglers are doing fair on smaller lakers using spoons and minnow-style lures.
Taylor Park Reservoir is starting to show a bit of ice in shallow water early, but typically it’s gone by mid-morning. That is like to change with this current cold snap. The rainbow action has been good.
The Blue River below Dillon and Green Mountain reservoirs is flowing low; as a result, trout are on the spooky side. Light tippets and small flies are the order of the day. The great thing about these sections is they remain fishable all winter long. The best time to work tailwaters in the winter is typically between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.; that’s when you have the least issue with icing guides.
The Colorado, Roaring Fork and Eagle rivers are currently open and ice free and fishing well. The strategy is moving more to a winter pattern, where fishing the deeper runs with nymphs is the better approach. Don’t hesitate to try streamers, but fishing deep and slow is going to be more productive on most days.
Dave Coulson is the Colorado editor for fishexplorer.com.
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