Colorado statewide fishing report – December 14, 2018

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Published Sunday, December 16, 2018

Conditions Report - Statewide

Statewide Conditions 

It is still not time to hang up the waders and fly rods. We are starting to see ice building on most of the smaller creeks and streams throughout the state. The larger rivers are icing up in the shaded sections. Look towards the tailwaters below dams as some of the most consistent fishing throughout the winter, constant temperatures and food supply also grow some of the largest fish, so hang on when you hook into one. The rivers and streams are entering winter mode especially in the higher elevations. Low flows, cold temperatures, and clear water mean the fish are stacking in the deeper pools and runs. Nymph and midge rigs will be the go to bugs moving forward but streamers are still going to get you fish for a couple more weeks. Send us pictures of those catches so you can show off your angling fame to your friends and family! 
Colorado Fishing Atlas

Conditions Report - Northeast Colorado

Eleven Mile State Park

As of 12/10/2018, reports are coming in that the ice around Cross Creek is around 8 inches thick. It is important to note that this is still early ice season caution is to be used, especially with the warm windy days in the forecast. Keep an eye on reports or contact a local bait and tackle shop to get the most current ice conditions before heading out there. For the anglers fishing the early ice the hot action of the late fall has continued with reports of nice trout and pike being caught. Kokanee fishing could also pick up as it was very slow in the fall. Guides suggest that January is going to be about the time to expect the salmon fishing to get better.  
Eleven Mile State Park

Spinney Mountain Reservoir

As of 11/26/2018, Spinney Mountain State Park has closed for the season. 
Spinney Mountain State Park

Deckers and Cheeseman Canyon

As of 12/14/2018, the flows have dwindled significantly in the river system, which is typical heading into the winter season. Not much will change in terms of fly selection but obviously the big difference maker will be getting the correct amount of weight so the flies get to the bottom. Guides suggest using various baetis and egg patterns. The warm weather days in the forecast should improve the fishing and could even lend well to some late season dry fly fishing. Flows: 56 CFS (12/14/2018) 
Deckers and Cheeseman Canyon

Clear Creek

As of 12/12/2018, flows have recently been bumped up almost to the historical averages but are also trending downward. The ice is beginning to accumulate on the banks however there is still water that can be fished. Since a lot of the stream does not get much day light, guides suggest waiting until the afternoon when things warm up a bit. Fish will be feeding in the deeper runs and pools. Fly patterns are going to remain about the same so tie on your Hare's Ears, Copper Johns, midges in the black and brown patterns and even some smaller emergers. Flows: 34.1 CFS (12/14/2018) 
Clear Creek

Antero Reservoir

As of 12/10/2018, ice at the reservoir has been reported between 14 and 18 inches thick. Although that is sufficient for walking on, caution is advised when heading out there. The fishing reports have slowed down since the beginning of the season. The key seems to be finding the edges of the weeds where they meet a sandy bottom, the fish will cruise the edges of weeds looking for an easy meal. 
Antero Reservoir 

North Sterling State Park

As of 12/10/2018, there is no safe ice yet and water temperatures have been close to 40 degrees with the mild weather we have been having. The lake is about 15 feet down but slowly rising. The fishing is tough right now as a majority of the lake has capped with extremely thin ice. The reservoir is closed to boating. The inlet is on and outlet is off. 
North Sterling State Park 

Boyd Lake 

As of 12/11/2018, some areas of the lake such as the cove near the marina are starting to form skim ice, with the warm weather it is unlikely the ice will last long and surely will be a while before the ice is ready to be fished. Reports of trout and walleye being caught near the pump-house at the south end of the lake. Keep an eye out for a decent panfish bite this winter through the ice. Note: Boyd Lake closed to boating November 30th 2018 for the season.
Boyd Lake

Conditions Report - Southeast Colorado

Arkansas River-Lake Pueblo

As of 12/14/2018, the fishing remains decent but somewhat crowded as the real estate for the trout is decreasing as they begin to stack in their winter positions. Blue winged olive, midge and trico activity have all been strong lately. The trico spinner fall has been observed in the late mornings and evenings while the midges are active during the afternoon hours. Pheasant tails, blue winged olives, trico emergers and some baetis nymphs are all good options. Streamers and egg patterns might also be a good idea to tie on your rigs. With the decreasing flows the trout are expected to continue to congregate in the deeper pools and cut banks. Flows: 30.4 CFS (11/30/2018) 
Arkansas River at Pueblo Reservoir 

Lake Pueblo

As of 12/13/2018, the walleye are still biting in particularly at night. During the day anglers are getting good catches around 25-30 feet of water when vertical jigging slap Rapalas and jigging Rapalas. At night the walleye are moving to the shallows chasing bait fish so shad imitations are working well. Crappie are also a hot item on the reservoir right now and hitting live baits especially minnows. Look to the slightly deeper water for crappie as they slide onto deeper structure for the winter months. Pro Rogue in the clown colorations are doing very well for both the walleye and the crappie at the moment. The bass fishing has been very slow but some reports of catches are still coming in. Right now is a good opportunity to take advantage of the remaining open water fishing before the bite really slows down for the winter. 
Lake Pueblo

Upper Arkansas 

As of 12/9/2018, recent reports show that ice is beginning to overtake the upper stretches of the Arkansas River, with the warmer days ahead there is likely to still be fishable water. Most of the fish will be concentrating on the deeper water where temperatures are a bit warmer and oxygen levels remain a bit more consistent throughout the winter. With fish in deeper pools it could be a great time to try a small streamer and cause reaction bites. 
Upper Arkansas - Near Salida 

Trinidad Lake State Park

As of 12/13/2018, The lake is at 720 surface acres with a surface elevation of 6183.63. Surface water temperatures are around 35 degrees. South Shore fishermen are catching trout on homemade dough bait, PowerBait (green color) and worms all along the shoreline which has been decent with all species of fish. The river at Reilly Canyon has slowed down to a trickle and heavy willows/vegetation has emerged around the lake. The most action for fish is occurring in the early mornings and late evenings. Ice has been forming in the protected coves, but is still extremely thin. Boating is closed for the season. 
Trinidad Lake

Conditions Report - Metro Denver Area

Aurora Reservoir

This 762-acre impoundment is located off of E. Quincy Avenue, two miles east of E-470. As of 12/11/2018, the reservoir is closed to boating which includes all hand launched watercraft such as canoes, kayaks, float tubes etc. Trout fishing from shore has been really good lately! Best areas have been from the dam using PowerBait from a slip rig and bright colored spoons and spinners. Most of the fish being caught are in the 12-14 inch range. Some nice size rainbows from 16-20 inch ranges have been caught recently. There have been few reports of walleye caught. For more information call 303-326-8425. Park hours December 7:00am-5:30pm. Closed December 25th.
Aurora Reservoir

Cherry Creek

This 881-acre impoundment is located in Cherry Creek State Park, in Aurora. There are two entrances to the park, the east entrance off S. Dayton St. and the west entrance off S. Parker Rd. As of 12/11/2018, the lake has begun to cap with skim ice, especially in the shallower portions. Please note the warm weather in the upcoming forecast as the ice will likely dwindle and open water opportunities may be found. Note: Cherry Creek Reservoir closed to boating November 30th 2018 for the season.
Cherry Creek Reservoir

Chatfield Reservoir

This 1,356 impoundment is located in Chatfield State Park. As of 12/6/2018, the lake has been off and on with skim ice in the mornings on the south end however the ice will likely not be fishable for a while to come. Smallmouth have still been caught in the open water along the rip-rap shorelines. The bite has slowed as the water cools. Trout fishing has been reported as good for some anglers. Note: Chatfield Reservoir closed to boating November 30th 2018 for the season.
Chatfield Reservoir

Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado

Blue River

As of 12/14/2018, fishing has been decent lately with the warmer temperatures. Ice has not built up much yet in the lower sections of the river so take advantage of the good wading opportunities. No changes in flows over the last couple of weeks so fly patterns and techniques will be essentially the same for the Silverthorne section. Below Silverthorne, the egg patterns have been really popular with the trout. Dredging a midge along the bottom will get to the most fish however so take advantage of the sight fishing opportunities and cast the rig up stream enough so the terminal fly gets to the bottom before reaching the trout. Streamer fishing is still in the game and guides are suggesting Li'l Kims and Tan Peanut Envys to get the bigger fish. Flows: 56.9 CFS (12/14/2018) 
Blue River - Silverthorne 

Frying Pan River

As of 12/14/2018, flows haven't really budged on the Frying Pan so expect this to be the norm for another month or so. The hatches are down to just midges and baetis basically and the strongest hatches occurring around 11am to 3pm. Brown trout are still spawning so REDDS are apparent and need to be avoided and left alone. Look for the flows to be increased in early January and be prepared with some mysis shrimp patterns closer to the tailwater section when this occurs. Some of the current, hot patterns to try out include split case blue winged olives, Cane midge, and Tim's mysis in the #20-22 sizes. Streamers are still an effective technique so consider some slump busters and autumn splendors for a chance at some bigger fish. Flows: CFS 41.2 (12/14/2018) 
Frying Pan - Ruedi 

Colorado River

As of 12/14/2018, winter fishing is the name of the game now on the Colorado. Take your time in the mornings and enjoy a hearty breakfast and a hot coffee as the fishing will be slow early in the day until temperatures pick up a bit. Ice is staring to affect the well shaded areas of the river so look for runs that receive more sunlight throughout the day. Heavier nymph rigs with Tungsten bead heads are going to get the flies to the fish. Point flies include stoneflies, worms, and egg patterns. Tailing patterns should include your midge and emergers such as Zebra midges and Flashback emergers. Streamer fishing is still an option and could be a great technique this weekend with the cloud coverage we are supposed to get in this section of the state. Flows: 444 CFS (12/14/2018) 
Colorado River - Near Kremmling 

Lake John

As of 12/3/2018, 8 inches of ice with 3 inches of snow cover with drifting near the edges, fishing very active with a wide range of size 12-19 inches. The following items have been doing well on Lake John this past weekend: wax & meal worms, white atomic teasers, jigs in the white, green & brown color, and bait shrimp is also doing well right now.
Lake John

Conditions Report - Southwest Colorado

Gunnison River

As of 12/13/2018, with some frigid temperatures both overnight and throughout the day lately the river is starting to really be affected by ice. The sections that Flows near Gunnison tunnel: CFS 324 (11/30/2018) 
Gunnison River 

Taylor River

As of 12/14/2018, reports are coming in that the catch and release section of the river is fishing really well as of late. As one of the best tailwaters in the state the fish are weary and it may take a lot of work to get a strike. The best time of day has been between 11am and 4pm when using midges and blue winged olives. Fish have really started to stack up in their winter positions in preparation of the upcoming season. Flows have remained pretty low and clarity clear so lighter rigs and tippet will be a good idea. Brown trout will also be looking for high calorie meals once the spawn wraps up so a few streamers in your arsenal will be a good idea to have on you for the next few weeks. Flows: CFS 53.6 (11/30/2018) 
Taylor River 

Blue Mesa Reservoir 

As of 12/13/2018, ice has been making its way from the Iola basin west to about Elk Creek Marina. The ice does taper off quickly the further west. Really good reports of trout are coming in and a few lake trout have been caught through the ice in Iola Basin. Anglers are catching trout off of chartreuse colored jigs tipped with mealworms and gold minnow baits at about 10-15 feet of water. When the ice caps over sufficiently in the deeper areas of the lake, look to start using tube jigs in the white, pumpkin seed or even green colors to fish for the lake trout. It is still early ice season so extra caution is needed and the buddy system is vital while out there. Check in with a local tackle shop to get the latest ice conditions as they will change daily. 
Blue Mesa Reservoir

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