Summit County Fishing Reporter: South Park waters mostly iced over, but use caution |

Summit County Fishing Reporter: South Park waters mostly iced over, but use caution

Chase Boone shows off his first fish caught through the ice during a past season at Dowdy Lake in the Red Feather Lakes area northwest of Fort Collins. Ice fishing is beginning to ramp up in the High Country.
Photo: Dave Coulson |

The cold weather has started the process of icing the rivers. The Eagle River is mostly open but flowing ice early and running clear by later afternoon. It won’t be long before it ices up. Fishing has been fair as the waters warm in the afternoon. Midge and small nymph patterns in the deeper runs are most effective.

The Colorado River from Glenwood Canyon downstream has great clarity and is fishing well. While streamers are still producing somewhat, most are doing well with small nymph patterns. Copper Johns have been particularly effective as of late. The nearby Roaring Fork River is in prime condition and one of the better options at this time.

Tail-water fisheries, such as the Blue Rive in Dillon, are running crystal clear and producing a few fish. The fish are there, but catching them is challenging. Light tippet, 6X or finer, and small flies, 18 and smaller, are the keys to success.

While open water remains at several reservoirs, such as Dillon, Granby, Wolford and Green Mountain, ice fishing is becoming the better option. Wolford continues to produce a few kokanee using small jigs under a bobber or with spoons, although the reports suggest most spoon tossers are actually doing more snagging than fair hooking. Green Mountain and Granby both have a good rainbow bite, which will continue until ice-up. Few lake trout are coming to the net.

The Snake River inlet at Dillon Reservoir is capped and attracting large crowds of folks trying to catch the spawning kokanee. While many are having success, much better catching can be had at nearby Officers Gulch — popular also, but not crowded. Good numbers of brook trout are being caught, although nothing longer than 12 inches. Work dark, crappie-style jigs tipped with a wax worm near the bottom.

In a of couple weeks, South Park waters went from mostly open to mostly iced over. Ice thickness varies from an inch or so to several inches in places. While many are giving it a try, extreme caution should be exercised, as the objective should be to fish on top of the ice, not under it.

Tarryall Reservoir has been iced the longest, with ice thickness reported from 3 to 7 inches, depending on location. Action has been mixed, with some reporting fast action, others not as good. Jigging spoons, such as Kastmasters, have been effective for some. Others have done well with small tube jigs; pink or white are popular colors. Most are reporting the fastest action in the mornings.

Antero Reservoir is reporting 4 to 7 inches of ice, although thin ice may exist in places. Off the dam face, a few kokanee have been reported. Working just under the ice has been very effective for many. A wide variety of lures are working, but small and tipped are two commonalities. Elevenmile Reservoir is reportedly capped, but use caution, as no one has reported more that 3 to 4 inches of ice.

Dave Coulson is the Colorado state editor for He contributes a weekly fishing report to the Summit Daily.

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