Conditions Report - Statewide
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 12/22/2018, reports are coming in that the ice around Cross Creek is around 10 inches thick. The ice on the north shore has been reported about the same. There have been a lot of anglers fishing out of Cross Creek and Sucker's Cove. Fishing has been good for trout and small pike. Most trout are in the 16 to 19 inch range with a few larger ones being caught. Tube jigs, spoons and small jig heads tipped with wax worms or meal worms have been working. Keep an eye on reports or contact a local bait and tackle shop to get the most current ice conditions before heading out there. 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 12/28/2018, the flows have. 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: 104 CFS (12/28/2018)
Deckers and Cheeseman Canyon
As of 12/23/2018, 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. It seems you may only get a bite or two throughout the day but quality fish are still being caught.
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
As of 12/28/2018, some areas of the lake are starting to form ice in the range of 3 to 4 inches, be advised that extreme caution is needed when venturing out onto early ice. The inlets and shallower areas of the lake are where ice is present with the main lake still being ice free. Shore anglers have reported success for rainbow trout to the east of the boat ramp. No reports of any fish being caught through the ice as of yet. 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.
Conditions Report - Southeast Colorado
Arkansas River-Lake Pueblo
As of 12/28/2018, 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: 56.5 CFS (12/28/2018)
Arkansas River at Pueblo Reservoir
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.
As of 12/27/2018, the river is starting to have some ice flow and slush present in the early mornings after cooler nights with lows in the single digits. With a lot of this stretch in the shade throughout the day anglers are encouraged to seek out more open sections that are likely to receive more sunlight than others. This will help the trout be more active and feeding patterns as well as clearing the river of slush by the mid to late morning hours. Best hours currently are between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. Fish have stacked up into the deeper slow runs with consistent flow. Flows: about 220 CFS (12/27/2018)
Upper Arkansas - Near Salida
Trinidad Lake State Park
As of 12/22/2018, The lake is at 724 surface acres with a surface elevation of 6183.96. 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. Ice has taken ahold of the inlet but is still extremely thin. Ice has also been forming in the protected coves around the boat ramp and shallow areas, but is still extremely thin. A reminder that there is NO such thing as safe ice and caution should always be taken. Boating is closed for the season.
Conditions Report - Metro Denver Area
This 762-acre impoundment is located off of E. Quincy Avenue, two miles east of E-470. As of 12/17/2018, the reservoir is closed to boating which includes all hand launched watercraft such as canoes, kayaks, float tubes etc. Trout fishing from shore is fair to good. Best areas have been from the dam and marina cove using PowerBait and crawlers. Continue to see nice size rainbows from 16 to 20 inches. Currently there is no fishable ice! For more information call 303-326-8425. Park hours December 7:00am-5:30pm. Closed January 1st.
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 12/28/2018, the ice has started to form in the shallow and protected areas of the lake. Denver metro ice has been very unstable with recent cooling and warming trends, please use extreme caution when accessing any metro lakes for ice fishing. Fishing should be fair for walleye and trout when the lake can be accessed. Minnows or wax worms under the ice with a small jig should be effective. Note: Cherry Creek Reservoir closed to boating November 30th 2018 for the season.
Cherry Creek Reservoir
This 1,356 impoundment is located in Chatfield State Park. As of 12/25/2018, the south end of the reservoir has begun to freeze, with ice on the west shoreline from Kingfisher to Massey Draw, most of the ice looks unstable and should be treated with caution. Keep in mind with the Chatfield Reallocation Project many of the east side and west side access points are closed for the winter. The road leading back to as well as the gravel pond area itself is closed for the winter due to construction. In the open water that remains some trout have been caught using PowerBait or Nightcrawlers on the bottom.. Note: Chatfield Reservoir closed to boating November 30th 2018 for the season.
Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado
As of 12/28/2018, fishing has been decent lately, ice is starting to build up on the lower sections of the river, expect this to continue with forecasted cold temperatures. 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 Lil' Kims and Tan Peanut Envys to get the bigger fish. Flows: 56.9 CFS (12/28/2018)
Blue River - Silverthorne
Frying Pan River
As of 12/28/2018, flows have recently bumped up on the Frying Pan near Ruedi Reservoir. Expect the tailwater section to be the most productive heading into the winter months. The hatches are down to just midges and baetis basically and the strongest hatches occurring around 11am to 3pm. 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 64.1 (12/28/2018)
Frying Pan - Ruedi
As of 12/28/2018, 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: 453 CFS (12/28/2018)
Colorado River - Near Kremmling
As of 12/20/2018, 12 inches of ice with 3 inches of snow cover with drifting near the edges. The water clarity is great, and you can see all the way to the bottom! This past week we are receiving mixed feedback on the fishing here. Some reporting it very active and others reporting it's slowing down. We are consistently hearing that the fishing is great 7am-11am then it dies off mid-day but picking back up around 2:30pm into the evening after dark. We are still seeing a wide range of size, fish being caught are between 12 inches and 19 inches. The following items have been doing well on Lake John these past two weeks: wax & meal worms, glow in the dark jigs, Atomic Teasers, Kastmasters tipped with meal worms, tubes in the brown or green color and crayfish imitations.
As of 12/20/2018, North Delaney: 14 inches of ice with 2-3 inches snow cover with drifting near the edges. Fishing feedback seems to be getting better at the lake with sizable fish coming out between 19 and 20 inches. We have heard that the HD Ice lures are doing great here along with green tubes. South Delaney: 13 inches ice with 2-3 inches snow cover with drifting near the edges. Feedback on fishing is that south is active for 14 to 17 inch fish. We know the HD Ice lure in the ghost color is working well here.
Pearl Lake State Park
As of 12/28/2018, Pearl Lake is covered in ice about 4-6 inches thick. No one has been out on the ice yet. Ice conditions can vary, so please use caution. Before going out onto a frozen lake, pond or river, it's important to take safety precautions to reduce the risk of falling through the ice. Knowing how to judge ice conditions will also help you make more informed decisions while enjoying winter activities. There have not been any reports of fish activity.
As of 12/16/2018, Ice fishing is on! Many anglers are having luck (or limiting out on rainbows) at the Inlet/Lot14/Lot16 area, Keystone Cove, and Morrison Cove. Successful anglers are primarily reporting luck with PowerBait, PowerGrubs, nightcrawlers, mealworms, spoons, & jigs. Keep in mind ice is in early season conditions and may be unstable.
Stagecoach State Park
As of 12/18/2018, at this time the entire lake is covered with ice. Ice depths vary across the lake, always use caution when accessing it for ice fishing. The area near the dam, Fisherman's flats and the north shore were the last sections to freeze and currently there are 6 to 8 inches of ice in these areas. There are about 7 to 10 inches of ice between the two boat ramps on the Island and Oak Point campground. At this time anglers are reporting catching rainbows in the 16 - 18 inch range. The south road is closed for the season. We have 12 to 15 inches of snow on the ground. The Visitor Center is open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Vega State Park
Conditions Report - Southwest Colorado
As of 12/28/2018, 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 3pm. Fish have really started to stack up in their winter positions in preparation of the upcoming season. Mysis Shrimp patterns should be an effective fly for the winter months. Flows have remained pretty low and 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 54.5 (12/28/2018)
Blue Mesa Reservoir
As of 12/27/2018, ice has been making its way from the Iola basin west to about Elk Creek Marina, recent reports are that the Elk Creek Marina area now has fishable ice.. With frigid temperatures recently and expected to continue look for the ice to continue west. Really good reports of trout are coming in and a few lake trout have been caught through the ice in Iola Basin as well as Elk Creek. 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. Check in with a local tackle shop to get the latest ice conditions as they will change daily.
Blue Mesa Reservoir
As of 12/18/2018, ice is about 5-6 inches thick, but as water is rising in the reservoir, it is breaking away from the edges and it can sometimes be 5 feet from shore. Early morning is not usually a problem, but getting off the ice later in the day can be tricky. Please use the buddy system, wear a life jacket and drill test holes along the way. Even though the water is rising the lake is still far below full pool. Fishing has been reported as fair for panfish using a small tungsten jig tipped with wax worms or mealworms.
Crawford State Park
Taylor Park Reservoir
As of 12/28/2018, the lake is capped, no reports on specific ice thickness but with the cold temperatures it is expected fishing is possible. Look to the main channels to target lake trout and the shallow sections to the east to target pike.
Taylor Park Reservoir