Conditions Report - Northeast Colorado
The current water temperature is roughly 30 degrees with a depth of 43 feet. Anglers have had success catching blue gills off the marina inlet using wax and meal worms, as well as yellow perch and walleye off Heron Cove using tube jigs and meal worms.
Boyd Lake State Park
The fishing has been tough recently. The greatest challenge is finding actively feeding fish. Current hatches include sporadic hatches of midges. Anglers willing to put in extra effort have been catching a mixed bag of resident rainbows, cutbows, and browns. Dry fly anglers have been having success in the slower pools and tailouts. Try sticking to a #24-26 Parachute Adams when they are surface feeding. When there is no active hatch, try nymphing with midge imitations mid-column in the transitional zones. Suggested flies include #18-22 Mercury Pheasant Tails, #20-22 Barr Emergers, Jujubaetis, Flashback Black Beauty, and #20-26 Parachute Adams.
Eleven Mile Reservoir
Anglers are having success, but the key is persistence. Try securing your shelter as a base camp, and then drill a circle of holes around your spot about 25 to 50 feet away. Give each hole about 10 minutes, making sure to fish it top to bottom, regardless of depth. Various baits have worked well so far this season, so make sure to cycle one type all the way around before switching. Anglers have been having success at Cross Creek, even with northern pike. Spoons tipped with a worm, meal worm, or a sucker have worked well. It's always a good idea to use an extra rod for your tip up and work a spoon or large tube jig on the other (this applies to anglers with an extra rod stamp). Try to be at least 25 feet from your tip.
Eleven Mile State Park
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The lake has an ice thickness that varies from 8 to 10 inches. Some anglers have been successful with crawler tipped spoons in 10 to 15 feet of water. In addition, don’t overlook the opportunity to catch a tiger muskie in the 36 to 40 inch range.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The lake has an ice thickness that varies from 10 to 12 inches. Rainbow trout have been caught using Ratfinkees tipped with wax worms in 12 to 14 feet of water. There have also been reports of some larger brown trout.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The lake is at winter level and has dropped approximately 2 feet down. The current surface temperature is roughly 30 degrees. There is approximately 8 to 12 inches of ice at the outlet and 6 to 8 inches of ice at the inlet. Fishing has been fair to good for crappie, walleye, and trout.
Jackson Lake State Park
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The lake has about 12 inches of ice. Anglers have had success catching fish in the 10 to 14 inch range, with the occasional in the 18 to 20 inch range.
Spinney Mountain Reservoir
Just a reminder: The reservoir is closed for the winter season and will open back up in the spring after the lid has melted off. Tailwater fishing is still permitted.
Spinney Mountain State Park
St. Vrain State Park Ponds*
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The ponds have an average of 5 inches of ice. Anglers at Blue Heron Reservoir have been catching a mixed bag of crappie, bass, yellow perch, and walleye on small jigs and minnows. Sandpiper Pond has been producing some rapid action for rainbow trout and bluegill. Coot Pond has also been good for trout, and also offers anglers a chance to catch saugeye and walleye. The action at Mallard Pond has been slow, but is home to a decent yellow perch population.
St. Vrain State Park
(*) Indicates to contact the CPW Denver Area Office at 303-291-7227 for current ice conditions
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Conditions Report- Southeast Colorado
Arkansas River Headwaters
The upper river is not productive during the winter (December through February). Flows on the river will increase as the Twin Lakes release rises from 165 to 205 cfs. This change is due to the higher than average snowpack and its anticipated runoff. The increased flows will help to mitigate dramatic changes in water temperature as we head into spring, and insulate the river against icing over, especially north of Buena Vista. Anglers are better served by travelling downstream to the Salida area during this time. Sunny days following warm nights will provide the best action. The middle river drops around 1,000 feet in elevation between Buena Vista and Salida. At this time of the year, the resulting difference in water temperature is substantial and has an impact on the aquatic insect activity as well as the metabolic activity of the fish. There is still plenty of good fishing in the Milk Run, Browns Canyon, and the Big Bend area. Expect fish to be actively feeding subsurface on midges, though they will also take caddis larvae and golden stonefly nymphs. With these low flows, Browns Canyon is easily accessed by wading across the river at Hecla Junction. With the colder weather and shorter days, expect Bighorn Sheep Canyon trout to be finalizing their winter plans. Warm, sunny days will still find plenty of fish on the feed in the pocket water with mid-speed current and good structure, but expect more and more fish to be congregating in the deeper, slower runs that we term “winter water”. There they can be best tempted by striated midge patterns (black beauties, zebras, etc…), golden stonefly nymphs, and “meat & potatoes” nymphs like pheasant tails, hares ears, and princes. Focus fishing efforts on the period of peak sun/warmth between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (Courtesy of ArkAnglers).
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
Clear Creek Reservoir*
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The reservoir has about 10 inches of ice. Anglers have had success catching trout near the boat ramp using meal worms, jigs, and PowerBait.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The reservoir has about 12 inches of ice. Anglers have had success catching trout using meal worms, earth worms, PowerBait, and jigs.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The lakes have about 10 inches of ice.
Just a reminder: Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures only.
De Weese Reservoir*
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) There is about 6 to 12 inches of ice varying throughout the reservoir. The best ice is below the lodge (12 inches) and by the dam (6 to 8 inches). Anglers have had success catching average sized trout with a few in the 18 to 20 inch range using jigs tipped with meal and wax worms.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The reservoir has about 10 inches of ice. Anglers have had success catching trout using PowerBait, grubs, and meal worms.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The lake has about 12 inches of ice. There is a spring near the center of the lake that keeps the ice weak in that area, so please use caution. Anglers have had success catching trout with most types of bait.
The current surface temperature is roughly 34 degrees. The west end of the reservoir is capped with a thin layer of ice, but is still unsafe for ice fishing. Fishing for all species has slowed down considerably during the past weeks due to cold conditions. Anglers should focus efforts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun is the warmest. Anglers should try vertical jigging in 25 to 50 feet of water. Trout fishing has been fair from the shore for anglers using bait and spoons. The Arkansas River tail water is running at 75 cfs with temperatures around 39 degrees. The clarity has been good and the fish have been feeding on midges and BWO’s.
Lake Pueblo State Park
San Isabel Lake*
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The lake has about 5 to 10 inches of ice. There is open water near the spillway and the shorelines are still soft, with cracks and ridges along the ice due to windy conditions. The action has been slow recently, but anglers have had success catching few trout. While ice fishing is possible, extreme caution is advised.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The reservoir has about 10 inches of ice. Anglers have had success catching trout with jigs and PowerBait.
The current temperature is in the low 30 degree range. Anglers have had success catching trout along the shoreline using PowerBait, doughbait, and worms. There have been a few reports of perch as well. Ice has started forming in the Reilly Canyon area and along the south shore. At the moment, it is extremely thin, but has been staying throughout the day and continuing forming over night.
Just a reminder: boating has closed for the season as of December 1st.
Trinidad Lake State Park
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The reservoir has about 8 inches of ice. Anglers have been catching average sized trout using jigs, lures, PowerBait, and meal worms.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The lakes have about 8 inches of ice. The ice is still very thin near the boat ramp and no vehicles are allowed on the lake at this time. Anglers have had success catching trout using jigs with sucker meat, grubs, PowerBait, and meal worms.
(*) Indicates to contact the CPW Colorado Springs Area Office at 719-227-5200 for current ice conditions
Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The reservoir has about 12 inches of ice. Fishing has been sporadic thus far, however most trout have been in the 12 to 15 inch range.
Delaney Butte Lakes*
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The lakes have about 12 inches of ice. Fishing has been decent, with most action being seen in the morning. Most trout have been in the 16 to 20 inch range, with the occasional 20 inch. Anglers have had success with smaller tube jigs, Atomic Teasers, and Kastmasters.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) Wind and warm weather have slowed ice formation this year, but the lake is now fully covered. Fishing has been good for fall-stocked rainbows, arctic char, and kokanee. All arctic char less than 20 inches must be returned to the water immediately.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The reservoir has about 6 inches of ice in some locations, with much thinner ice and open water found around the shoreline.
Just a reminder: be sure to know how to identify tiger muskie from northern pike. All tiger muskie less than 36 inches must be release alive.
Harvey Gap State Park
(Ice conditions as of 1/15/2017) The lake currently has about 18 inches of ice. Fishing thus far has been great, with all sizes of fish being caught. Anglers have had success using small jigs, tubes, and Kastmasters, and meal worms.
Mack Mesa Lake*
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The lake has open water near the shore again. The ice has melted, and most of the lake is fishable from the bank as well as the pier. Anglers have had success catching trout with night crawlers. If the lake does freeze over, DO NOT go on to ANY park of the lake unless you are entirely sure you can do so safely.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The reservoir has about 2 to 6 inches of ice. Some anglers have started ice fishing, but extreme caution is advised. Anglers have been catching a mixed bag of perch, walleye, and bass.
(Ice conditions as of 1/16/2017) The lake is now frozen in most areas with around 10 to 14 inches of ice with a fair amount of slush on the surface. Please use caution when accessing the lake as the ice thickness may vary. Anglers have had success catching rainbows in the 12 to 18 inch range using PowerBait, meal worms, and ice jigs..
Just a reminder: all three boat ramps are closed for the winter.
Vega State Park
Wolford Mountain Reservoir*
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The lake has an ice thickness of 6 to 8 inches with a few inches of snow on top. Fishing has been good for catchable-size rainbows that were stocked in the fall. Once the ice thickness reaches 15 inches, vehicles will be allowed on the lake.
(*) Indicates to contact the CPW Grand Junction Area Office at 970-255-6100 for current ice conditions
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Conditions Report - Southwest Colorado
Echo Canyon Reservoir*
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The reservoir has about 3 to 5 inches of ice. Trout fishing has been fair to good.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The lake has about 12 inches of ice with slushy conditions on the surface. Anglers have an excellent opportunity for catching 10 to 12 inch rainbow trout, wild cutthroat trout, and brook trout.
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The reservoir has about 10 inches of ice. Anglers are having success catching a mixed bag of rainbow, brown, and Snake River cutthroat trout, with most being in the 12 to 15 inch range and the occasional 18 inch. Crayfish imitations such as small tube jigs are good bets. Try tipping your jigs with half of a mealworm or a wax worm. Fish are currently spread through the reservoir from 6 to 20 feet.
Road Canyon Reservoir*
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The reservoir has about 10 to 12 inches of ice. Anglers have had success catching rainbow and brook trout using jigs tipped with meal worms or wax worms.
Williams Creek Reservoir*
(Ice conditions as of 1/3/2017) The reservoir currently has about 6 inches of ice. Trout fishing has been relatively slow.
(*) Indicates to contact the CPW Durango Area Office at 970-247-0855 for current ice conditions
Conditions Report - Statewide
Rivers and Creeks
Now that we are into the month of January, we notice a shift in fishing conditions. With the arrival of winter, we see low flows and clear waters. This means anglers must be more careful not to spook the fish when approaching the water. Browns have also finished spawning for the season, so be cautious of redds when wading along the rivers. With most of the waters beginning to ice over, anglers will have to primarily rely on tailwaters, which refer to the waters below dams or any other structure that regulates water flow. The regulated water flow keeps the spots from freezing over and provides warmth for the cold-blooded trout. Even with the warmer conditions of these waters, the fish will still behave sluggishly. Fish diets in the winter are made up primarily of midges and an assortment of small blue-winged olive nymphs and are occasionally supplemented by larger mayflies, annelids, trout eggs, stoneflies, and even caddis larva. Winter fishing typically consists of a lot of nymph fishing since the trout are not overly active due to the cold water temperatures, so try using stonefly nymphs and imitation midges. Remember that the hatches are much smaller in the winter, so keep your flies in the #16 to #20 range. It is also important to be mindful of your split shot usage. With the fish being sluggish, they aren't going to divert too much for food, so making sure those flies drift directly in their path is important. Be sure not to use too much split shot though because the last thing you'll want to do is to have to retrieve a snag in those cold waters. As the trout continue to get a later start, anglers should mirror that and look for ideal times to be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.