Conditions for the week of Feb. 2, 2016. Information is provided by CPW employees and local fishing enthusiasts. Keep in mind that fishing conditions change on a constant basis. A lot can change in a week from the time this fishing conditions report is produced.
Conditions Report - Metro Denver Area
Ice conditions range from 0 to 8 inches. The thickest ice will be in the coves. For shore anglers there is some open water around the fishing pier. The water level is rising, please use extreme caution! Due to the warm weather and rising water levels, we are seeing access to and from the ice become an issue. Colder weather forecasted should help. Large pressure cracks run along the main body of the reservoir and open water pockets. Trout is fair to good using mealworms and wax worms. Perch of various sizes are being caught shallow in 8 to 15 feet of water using jigs tipped with wax and mealworms. The larger perch are being caught sporadically in deeper water from depths of 35 to 45 feet of water. Walleye is slow to fair. A few reports of walleye being caught in the early mornings and evenings using jigs. Pets are not permitted on the ice. For more information call 303-326-8425. February Park Hours 6:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Conditions Report - Northeast Colorado
Blue Gill, fair, with wax worms at Marina Inlet. Crappie. Trout, good, with jigging spoons, tube jigs and minnows at Marina and Heinricy Inlet. Walleye, fair with jigging spoons, tube jigs and minnows at Marina and Heinricy Inlet. Yellow Perch, fair using minnows/wax worms at Heinricy Inlet. The current water temperature is estimated to be below 32 ° with a depth of approximately 46 feet. Ice is 7 to 9 inches lake wide. NOTE: No snowmobiles or Off Highway Vehicles are allowed on Boyd Lake. Estimate approximately 1600 Surface Acres. PLEASE NOTE: Any live fish collected for use as bait may only be used in the same body of water from which they were collected. All live bait/fish from a commercial source and transported by anglers must at all times be accompanied by a receipt for the source. See the Colorado Fishing Regulations for further clarification and information.
Cowdrey/Delaney Lakes/Lake John
This last storm has dropped a good 18 inches, although it's essentially falling straight down with not too much blowing and drifting. Seems to be done, and we're now working to clean things up. Roads to Lake John from Walden are open, and any local roads that aren't will be soon. Some highways are closed, so anyone heading to these waters should be sure to check CDOT and/or WYDOT websites for road closures. Don't forget the Delaney Butte Lakes Ice Fishing Contest this Saturday, Feb. 6, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Eleven Mile Reservoir
TROUT: (FAIR) The fish were hiding last week. Bite times were later in the day with the full moon. They were tough to find in the morning and then all of a sudden in the afternoon they would start moving around. West of North Shore to Cross Creek seemed better than anywhere east. There are plenty of fish east, but harder to locate. Big ones were hiding in deeper water, but prowled the super shallows areas when hungry. KOKANEE SALMON: (FAIR to SLOW) For those that hunt the hikes are paying off. Look for two and three year olds to be biting along the channel areas from North Shore to Deer Island. Gold Kastmaster tipped with red meal worm is working, although there are some that swear by the Silver Kastmaster. Pink jigs have improved their performance. NORTHERN PIKE: (GOOD) Cooperation has continued with suckers and waterdogs on tip -ups or a stiff rig doing well. Look to shallow water, weed bed line or rock drop offs for best results. Spoons can definitely bring them in. Be patient and quiet when a big one shows up. Give them enough time to make their decision. You won't be able to rush them into a bite by moving the bait around. If anything you will scare them away. DREAM STREAM: On the morning of January 2nd, the river appears to have frozen over with very limited open and fishable water. Reports about conditions along the river are sparse. Flows have been running about 65 cfs and should stay there in the near term. (All reports courtesy of 11-Mile Marina) Ice covers the reservoir and is consistently reported as being between 18 to 21 inches. Fishermen are reminded that ice thicknesses can vary within relatively short walking distances. If fishermen intend to access the ice they are encouraged go out with a buddy, drill test holes about every five feet as you walk out onto the ice, carry a 50 foot coil of rope and wear a lifejacket.
Lake level is at winter fill level so approximately two feet from full. Surface water temperature is approximately 33 degrees. Fishing had been fair to slow for all species. Jackson Lake Fish Survey and Management Data. There is a reported 16 inch thickness at the outlet on the dam, approximately 12 inches in the Inlet, and approximately 14 inches at the boat ramp. The rest of the lake has iced over but ranges from anywhere from 14-16 inches. Always use caution when fishing on the ice and be sure to fish with a buddy. Ice thicknesses vary across the reservoir as a whole, and can vary significantly even a few yards away. Please remember to inform a friend or a family member of your return time. Always wear a flotation device, and carry ice awls or picks and a length of rope with for safety measures. Please also remember to keep your pet on a leash to prevent a pet ice rescue.
Ice fishing has begun on the lake; fishermen have mostly stuck close to shore off Balance Rock and the Elks Ramp. In those areas fishermen have had some luck catching crappie and yellow perch. Ice thickness has been measured up to 8 inches but can change quickly as the lake is still filling. As the reservoir continues to freeze here are a few tips to help keep you safe before you go out. Current fish survey summaries can be found here. The reservoir is CLOSED to boating for the winter season.
Spinney Mountain Reservoir
Spinney Mountain State Park has closed for the season. The reservoir will reopen after ice-off next spring. We look forward to seeing you then. During the vessel operation season, the lake is open for use starting one half hour before sunrise until one half hour after sunset. All vessels and fishing aids are required to be off the water by one half hour after sunset. The park exit gate is locked promptly in the evening one hour after sunset. All trailer vessels and gas powered vessels must be inspected for invasive plants and animals both prior to launch and before exiting the park. All vessels MUST be cleaned, drained and dried prior to the inspection taking place. This includes requiring the removal of all snow, mud or other road debris from both the trailer and the vessel prior to the inspection. It is illegal to knowingly transport Aquatic Nuisance Species. For boating regulations information, see the CPW boating section.
St. Vrain State Park Ponds
There are 11 fishable ponds at St. Vrain that are stocked on a regular basis. Ice fishing for stocked trout is still going strong on Mallard, Sandpiper, and Coot Ponds. Bald Eagle Pond is artificial flies and lures only. Bald Eagle Pond and Blue Heron Reservoir are trophy bass fisheries: all bass caught must be immediately returned to the water! Blue Heron has been producing some good sized White Crappie, Bass, and Yellow Perch on small jigs and minnows. Check the state stocking report for more information. Don't forget your fishing license! All of the ponds have at least 6" of ice; however, Pelican Pond has several large open sections of water and is NOT open for ice fishing, due to 9 aerator systems that keep the pond's aquatic species and vegetation at a healthy level throughout the year. All of the major ice fishing destinations on the park has ice rescue stations located on their shorelines. We advise people to know how to use them in case of emergency; we also recommend the use of partners, life jackets/float coats, ice awls, and avoiding ice that is thinner than 4", is porous, or unstable.
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Conditions Report- Southeast Colorado
While this week we have seen colder temperatures descend on the upper Arkansas River Valley, Saturday the 6th looks to bring another wave of warmer weather that should extend through the following week. Nighttime temperatures that are in the low teens and single digits can make conditions tough during the day for fisherman, but when you see a pattern of daytime highs in the 30s-40s or higher with nighttime temperatures near or above 20 degrees, those are the days you want to be on the water. The freestone nature of the fishery means that fish activity is more dependent upon changes in the weather, so good weather typically means more active fish. Look to find fish in groups in slower, deeper water where they don't have to work very hard to rest or find food. Areas of the river that get lots of sun exposure throughout the day tend to fish better than areas with lots of shade. Generally, the river southeast of Salida through Big Horn Sheep Canyon is the most productive on warmer days, with production declining the further one travels upstream. Midges are the predominant food source for active fish, but with the mix of immature mayflies, stoneflies, and caddis larva available even through the winter, many times the fish will feed more opportunistically on whatever food is available to them. The takeaway here is that it is generally more important to find the right type of water than to use the "right" fly. Since fish metabolism is much slower due to the cold water, expect takes to be more subtle than during summer months; set the hook on the slightest possible indication of a take.
Lathrop State Park (Horseshoe and Martin Lake)
Boat Ramps are now closed. We will re-open March 2016. The lakes have frozen over. The ice does not stay at Lathrop the entire season, and makes ice fishing unreliable. We consider the ice unsafe, and would recommend staying off the ice.
The lake is at 819 surface acres with a surface elevation of 6,191. The lake is frozen over. Fishing remains good for trout on jigs with meal worms. A few reports of perch caught. Walleye bite remains slow. The South Shore, Reilly Canyon and boat ramps are all producing trout.
Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado
State Forest State Park
On days where the weather isn't too bad North Michigan Reservoir continues to be a popular spot to ice fish within the park. Reports show that most anglers are finding rather good success catching mainly 10 to 12 inch trout. We encourage future anglers to pay attention to the weather forecasts to find the optimum time to come out and catch some fish. Downsizing your gear could be a good idea to help give a more natural presentation to the normally spooky trout. Given the North Michigan is about 10 to 15 ft lower than usual (due to a study that is being conducted on the dam) there is a creek that runs along the eastern side of the reservoir that flows right around the surface of the ice. This has formed about two feet of 'slushy ice' that sits on top of the frozen reservoir in certain spots by the lower cabins. All anglers should do their due-diligence in checking the ice before proceeding to drill and fish.
Eighteen plus inches of layered ice found in most areas. Fishing has been best in the AM. Seeing nice 12-14" brookies and some smaller rainbows. Try white or pink jigs w/meal worms. UNSAFE areas of ice can always exist so please use caution.
The lake is at 819 surface acres with a surface elevation of 6191.62. The lake is frozen over. The fishing remains good for trout on jigs with meal worms. We have had a few reports of perch being caught. The walleye bite remains slow. The South Shore, Reilly Canyon, and Boat ramp are all producing trout. THE BOAT RAMP IS NOW CLOSED FOR THE SEASON.
Currently there are 12 to 14 inches of ice on the lake and 4 to 5 feet of snow on the ground. Please remember that ice conditions vary and always use caution when accessing the lake. In some areas the edges of the ice are soft. Anglers are catching rainbows and cutthroats in the 17 to 19 inch range 15 to 20 feet off the bottom with jigs and meal worms. The entrance station is closed; please use self serve or come to the Visitor Center for passes. The Visitor Center's winter hours are as follows: Friday - Tuesday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Wednesday - Thursday CLOSED
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Conditions Report - Southwest Colorado
Jackson Reservoir (Mancos State Park)
Ice fishing is taking place. Ice thickness varies, but averages about 8 inches. About six of those are good clear right now, with another 2 inches of milky re-frozen snow on top and several inches of snow coverage. As always, ice is never fully predictable and you should use caution. See our ice safety pages and tips. Ice fishing action for rainbow trout averaging 12" and small yellow perch is excellent. Areas along the dam and off the end of the boat ramp are producing. Small teardrop jigs (1/8 oz) tipped with a piece of night crawler, meal worm or wax worm are good bets. Tipping the jig with a small ball of Power Bait will reduce the action from the very small perch if you want to select for the trout. The most common perch are about 4". This fishery will benefit from perch harvest if you will use them. Pickle/can those small ones, bones and all! Check out the many excellent recipes online. If you'd like to really get after the small perch, find a relatively heavy (1/4 oz if you can find one small in profile and hook size) but small-in-profile jig and fish approximately 40 feet of water depth, right on the bottom, southwest of the end of the boat ramp. Go all the way to the bottom. Braided line (with a few feet of fluorocarbon leader) helps feel the subtle bites and allows a better hook set at that depth. Larger perch are hit/miss. If you catch one, get right back down to the same depth. Many of them are suspended a few feet off bottom. Be safe and have fun! Staff recently published a brief ice fishing video you can view on CPW's Facebook or our Colorado Outdoors blog . The boat ramp parking lot is plowed for angler access. A park pass is required on vehicles in the park. Daily park passes are available at the self-serve pay station at the park entrance. For fishing rules/regulations and information, please visit the Fishing page.
Fishing has slowed. Colorado and New Mexico fishing licenses are available at the Visitor Center. The new fishing year begins April 1 for both states. Social security numbers are required for purchase. Please remember to bring sunscreen, insect repellent and clothes appropriate for changes in the weather.
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